Anticipatory Child Fostering and Household socioeconomic Security in Malawi

Open Access
Bachan, Lauren Kate
Graduate Program:
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
June 12, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Jenny Trinitapoli, Thesis Advisor
  • Child fostering
  • Households
  • Africa
  • Wealth
Child fostering is practiced throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and is often used by families to o set economic risk and insecurities. While there is a rich literature on the practice of child fostering, we have a limited understanding of how absorbing a foster child impacts a household. The AIDS epidemic in the region has added new complexities to the practice of child fostering, making it more imperative to understand the relationship between fostering and household outcomes. Using data from 1,959 respondents enrolled in a longitudinal survey in Balaka, Malawi, this paper empirically explores the relationship between receiving a foster child and changes in household socioeconomic status (SES) over a two-year period of time. Placing particular emphasis on the role of anticipation, the results show that those who correctly anticipate their care giving responsibilities experience a greater increase in household SES than those who do not.