Are Orphans and Fostered Children Less Likely to Be in School? Evidence from South Africa

Kermyt G. Anderson, University of Oklahoma
Ann M. Beutel, University of Oklahoma

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has resulted in a dramatic increase in orphans in South Africa, and there is growing concern that traditional foster care networks will be strained to the breaking point. Both orphaned children and fostered children (e.g., children living with extended kin) are predicted to have fewer resources invested in their education. However, families self-select into fostering, and children may be sent to foster homes because of perceived benefits from fostering (such as more available resources or access to better schools). We examine the relationship between orphan status, foster status and enrollment in school using a longitudinal sample of children ages 5 through 18 in Cape Town, South Africa. We find no difference in school enrollment between nonorphans, single parent orphans, and fostered children (orphans and nonorphans alike). Only double orphans, who are both orphaned and fostered, are consistently less likely to be enrolled in school.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 6