21 December 2007
Foster care raises I.Q.
NY Times: A newly-released study compares cognitive development of children raised in orphanages with those raised entirely by foster families, and those moved from institutional to foster care. Key findings: foster care is associated with better cognitive development (measured for the study in terms of I.Q.), and the negative effect of institutional care is offset by the transition to foster care, with more benefit at younger ages. For the full details, see the original paper on Science's website [subscription required]. Yes, this is one of those studies that seems intuitively obvious, but it's always useful to test intuition, especially in matters of government policy. As a bonus, this is also strong evidence in support of a large effect of early environment on I.Q. scores.