Children and youth in foster care are more likely to have difficulty in school than those not in foster care because of the complex challenges they may face outside of the school environment, including exposure to traumatic experiences and mental health issues. They also often do not receive the comprehensive assessments required to accurately identify and meet their educational needs. As a result, it is important to prioritize policies and practices to identify and meet the educational needs of children and youth in out-of-home care. Find resources below to help meet the educational needs of children and youth in out-of-home care, including State and local examples.
Blueprint for Change
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Legal Center for Foster Care and Education
Provides a series of tools and frameworks to help work toward goals and benchmarks to achieve education success for children in out-of-home care.
Educational Needs of Children in Foster Care and Adoption
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Describes policy and practice recommendations to help children and youth in foster care access the special and general educational resources they need to thrive.
Foster Care: Education Could Help States Improve Educational Stability for Youth in Foster Care
U.S. Government Accountability Office (2019)
Details findings of a survey related to educational stability for youth in foster care, including challenges that affected educational success.
Foster Care, Special Education, and Learning and Thinking Differences: What You Need to Know
Supports foster parents in identifying ways they can engage with and support their foster children in school settings, including a particular focus on legal rights in the special education process.
Helping Foster Parents and Kinship Caregivers Support High School Graduation for Children in Their Care: A Self-Instructional Workbook
NFPA Training Institute
Helps parents and caregivers partner with youth as they progress through high school, with a particular emphasis on preparing for next steps after graduation and transitioning out of the child welfare system.
Roadmap for Foster Care and K–12 Data Linkages: Key Focus Areas to Ensure Quality Implementation (PDF – 999 KB)
Data Quality Campaign & Legal Center for Foster Care and Education (2017)
Discusses the importance and impact that data sharing between child welfare and K–12 agencies can have on the educational outcomes of children and youth in foster care.
Special Education Toolkit
Provides age-specific information about connecting children and youth newly diagnosed with special needs with special education services and resources.
State and local examples
Foster Care and Education: How Foster Care Involvement Affects Educational Outcomes
Partners for Our Children
Summarizes a report detailing the educational needs and challenges that affect the educational outcomes of children and youth in out-of-home care in Washington State.
Illinois Youth in Foster Care Face Significant Barriers to Education During COVID-19
Northern Public Radio
Describes how child welfare agencies in Illinois partnered with other community resources to mitigate the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic had on the educational outcomes of youth in foster care.
What You Need to Know About School Stability for Students in Foster Care
The Legal Aid Society
Answers commonly asked questions about foster care and education, including how best interest decisions are made and the consequences of these decisions, in the State of New York.