Assessing the Census Bureau's Data on Children in Foster Care

Bill O'Hare, Annie E. Casey Foundation

This paper assesses the data collected on foster children in the 2000 Decennial Census and the American Community Survey (ACS. Looking at the placement categories of foster children in the AFCARS data system helps identify which foster children are likely to be included in the Census Bureau figures. I argue that the Census Bureau’s data on foster children mainly reflects those who are in non-kinship family foster care (i.e. not in group homes/institutions or kinship care). The Census Bureau’s data can be used to examine a host of socio-economic characteristics for a large segment of households with foster children. There is no other national data source that can supply this kind of socioeconomic information on a regular basis. Tables are presented showing how households with foster children compare to all households with children on family structure and living arrangements, parental education and employment, and household economic measures

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Presented in Session 150: Methods for Locating Hard to Find Populations