Children and youth in foster care are more likely to have difficulty in school because of the complex challenges they face outside of the school environment, including decreased placement stability and subsequent school changes, exposure to traumatic experiences, and mental health challenges. They also often do not receive the comprehensive assessments needed to accurately identify and meet their educational needs. As a result, it is important to prioritize policies and practices that are specifically designed to identify and meet the educational needs of children and youth in out-of-home care. Below, find resources to help meet the educational needs of children and youth in out-of-home care, including State and local examples.
Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Children in Foster Care
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Legal Center for Foster Care
Provides eight goals and 56 benchmarks for developing and implementing supportive policies to help youth in foster care succeed in school.
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 that they need to thrive.
Educational Stability for Foster Students During COVID-19
Child Welfare League of America
Provides resources for education and child welfare systems to better address challenges that youth in foster care may face during e-learning, including access to food, access to the internet, mental health issues, maltreatment within the home, and active engagement in the (virtual) classroom.
Foster Care, Special Education, and Learning and Thinking Differences: What You Need to Know
Supports foster parents in identifying ways that they can engage with and support their foster children in the 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 particular emphasis on preparing for next steps after graduation and transitioning out of the child welfare system.
How Attorneys Can Support Postsecondary Success
American Bar Association
Provides an overview of Federal laws related to youth engagement and planning for postsecondary education.
How Victims of Child Maltreatment Fare in School
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Examines how homelessness, domestic violence, neglect, and abuse affect students across demographic and regional groups.
Improving Education for Youth in Foster Care
American Bar Association
Describes key policies that can improve educational attainment and well-being among youth in foster care, including remaining at the same school, prompt enrollment, access to early childhood interventions, preventing school discipline, including youth in educational decision, and supporting postsecondary education.
Special Education Toolkit
Provides age-specific information about connecting newly diagnosed children and youth with special education services and resources.
Students in Foster Care
U.S. Department of Education
Outlines some available opportunities to create educational experiences that counteract child maltreatment. This webpage also provides information for youth in child welfare and guidance for educators.
Foster Care and Education: How Foster Care Involvement Affects Educational Outcomes
Partners For Our Children (2020)
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 local child welfare agencies partnered with other community resources in order 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.