Laura Thorsett

Laura Thorsett

2017 Undergraduate Fellow
Social Studies

Thesis title and description:

"Manifestations of Inequality in the American Child Welfare System"

Aging out of foster of foster care at age 18, or in some cases at 21, is correlated with future homelessness, substance abuse, and involvement with the criminal justice system. For my thesis, I will use data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), which includes data on all children in foster care nationwide between 2010 and 2016, including demographic information, health status, reason for removal from biological parents, and case outcomes. I will perform a quantitative analysis to investigate the factors that lead to permanency (outcomes including reunification with biological parent(s) or other relatives, adoption, and legal guardianship) and those that lead to aging out or long-term institutionalization. The thesis will especially focus on the racial, age, and gender disparities present in case outcomes and children’s time in temporary foster care placements in order to better understand the manifestations of inequality in child welfare policies and their implementation.