Trend Effects of Being in Care, from Early to Late Adulthood: A Comparative Look at Adults Who Were in Residential or Foster Care As Children and Those Who Did Not Experience Out-Of-Home Care

Markus N. Sauerwein, Gunther Graßhoff

While there is a growing body of research suggesting that care leavers experience disadvantages in early adulthood, there is only one study at hand that uses panel data to analyze long term effects. Based on this idea, the authors examine data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), covering a 50-year period, and use matching methods to compare care leavers who have been in residential care or lived with foster parents to a control group. The results indicate that being placed in out-of-home care is associated with disadvantages in terms of unemployment, life satisfaction and health. The results regarding satisfaction with leisure vary, and no clear picture emerges here.

Differences in health are more relevant in late adulthood. Differences between residential care leavers and their peers are more stable over time than differences between former foster children and their peers.