Education access and quality is a social determinant of health, or a nonmedical factor that affects the health and well-being of children, youth, and families. High-quality education and early education programs can break intergenerational cycles of poverty and disadvantage by equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge to promote economic success and social mobility.

However, access to high-quality education is not equal in our country. Many children face barriers to receiving a good education due to systemic inequalities and historical discrimination, including redlining. This problem is often made worse by the "school-to-prison pipeline." Children in foster care often face additional educational challenges, like educational instability and high rates of absenteeism, which can lead to lower graduation rates and academic performance. These educational disparities can persist into adulthood, affecting their career prospects and overall quality of life.

Schools can serve as community connectors for children in foster care by fostering collaborative relationships with community providers, creating a supportive environment, engaging families, and conducting community outreach. Helping educators, who are frequently mandated reporters, better understand implicit bias and the difference between poverty and neglect can set the stage for a successful partnership.

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