Students in Foster Care
In the U.S. today, approximately 400,000 children and youth are in foster care at any given time and each year about 20,000 of these students emancipate (i.e., age out) of foster care. A positive PK-12 education experience has the potential to be a powerful counterweight to the abuse, neglect, separation, impermanence and other barriers these vulnerable students experience. Additionally, participation in and persistence to a postsecondary credential can enhance their well-being, help them make more successful transitions to adulthood, and increase their chances for personal fulfillment and economic self-sufficiency (U.S. Department of Education).
National research shows that children in foster care are at high-risk of dropping out of school and are unlikely to attend or graduate from college. A coordinated effort by education agencies and child welfare agencies is necessary to improve the educational outcomes for students in foster care. Fortunately, the last few years have seen important policy, practice, and advocacy advances that address the education barriers and supports needed for these vulnerable students.