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Geographic Variation in the Cumulative Risk of Maltreatment and Foster Care Placement

Using synthetic cohort life tables and administrative data on all US children who come into contact with Child Protective Services and are placed in foster care in the United States, I make three arguments in this talk. First, that few enough children experience maltreatment within foster care placement annually that inattention to this social phenomenon, while still possibly not advisable, is at least comprehensible. Second, that the share of children who ever experience these events--and racial inequality in the share of children who experience these events--is so large that they could shape not only population-health, but also racial inequality in population health. Third, that there is marked geographic variation both in the risk of ever experiencing these events and in racial inequality in the risk of ever experiencing these events.