Adolescents Assuming Adult Roles: Factors Associated with Teens Providing Child Care for Siblings in Low-Income Families

Jeffrey Capizzano, Urban Institute

While research has found that work-promoting policies appear to have little negative effect on preschool or elementary school children, experimental studies find that when parents on welfare are subject to work-promoting policies, adolescents with younger siblings suffer negative outcomes. One potential explanation for these findings is that when parents must work, adolescents are required to provide child care for younger siblings, occupying time that could be spent on homework or enrichment activities. Little is known about the extent to which adolescents care for younger siblings. Using Survey of Income and Program Participation data, the paper will use descriptive statistics, and logistic and OLS regression models, to create a profile of families that rely on adolescent care-giving. The multivariate models will be estimated to understand how various characteristics are associated with the likelihood that a family will use teens to provide care and the time that they care for their siblings.

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Presented in Session 40: Welfare, Maternal Employment, and Adolescents