Child Fostering under Six in Senegal in 1992-1993

By Céline Vandermeersch, O. Chimere-Dan


Using data from the 1992-1993 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted in Senegal in 1992-1993, this study identifies the principal determinants of the practice of child fostering, focusing on children aged 0-5. The determinants of both out-fostering and in-fostering of these children are examined in turn.
Fosterage appears to be primarily a way of adjusting to demographic imbalances between households with too few children and those with too many. The higher the number of surviving children aged 0-5 a mother has, the more likely she is to foster one of them out. Households with sterile or sub-fecund women or women at the beginning or end of their reproductive lives foster significantly more young children than other households.
Out-fostering a young child also appears to be a mechanism for responding to short-term economic problems. The poorest households and women can thereby reduce the costs associated with raising young children. On the other hand, fostering a young child does not appear to be a long-term investment strategy, especially for the purpose of education.

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