Parental Methamphetamine Use and Foster Care: Is the Growth in Foster Care Admissions Explained by the Growth in Meth Use?
43 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2008
Date Written: November 10, 2008
Although foster care caseloads have almost doubled over the last two decades, little is known regarding the factors that contributed to this significant growth. This article focuses on one factor, parental illicit drug use, and examines the relationship between parental drug use and foster care admissions. To mitigate the impact of omitted variable and simultaneity bias, we take advantage of two significant, exogenous supply-side interventions in the methamphetamine market, and find robust evidence that methamphetamine use has led in part to the growth in foster care caseloads. Further, in identifying the precise mechanisms that translated growth in methamphetamine use to the observed increase in foster care caseloads, we find that parental incarceration and child neglect have played significant roles in bringing children into the U.S. foster care system. These results suggest that child welfare policies should be designed specifically for the children of methamphetamine-using parents.
Keywords: Methamphetamine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, foster care, two stage least squares, three stage least squares
JEL Classification: I12, J13, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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