Foster Children in CPS

The variable relate identifies foster children in CPS. However only for 1988+. Is it because CPS did not identify foster children before 1988 or because Ipums has not harmonized this category. Is it possible to identify foster children somewhere else for the period before 1988?

Prior to 1988, the CPS did not identify foster children. Starting in 1988, more detailed relationship categories were added to RELATE (including “foster child”) in order to identify more of the respondents previously grouped into the “other relative” and “other non-relative” categories. The following documentation from the comparability tab for RELATE describes this change well:

In the ASEC samples from1988-1994, more detailed relationship categories were used for both relatives and non-relatives of the household head. The added categories “sibling,” “parent,” and “grandchild” considerably narrowed the scope of the residual “other relative” group, and “partner/roommate” and “foster child” similarly narrowed the meaning of “other non-relative.” “Natural/adopted” children were distinguished from stepchildren for 1988-93 ASEC samples. For ASEC samples in the period 1995 forward, the “partner/roommate” category gave way to more precise relationship codes: “unmarried partner,” “housemate,” and “roomer/boarder.”

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Thank you!