Imagine trying to complete credits, earn good grades, participate in extra-curricular activities, and graduate with a high school diploma while moving from family to family and school to school throughout your life. This often characterizes the life of foster care children.
Most foster care children are placed in temporary homes due to abuse and neglect at home. In 2005, there were 513,000 children in the foster care system. Of this 513,000, only half were reunited with their parents. Twenty-one percent of foster care children remain in the foster care system for 1-5 months.; 10% remain in the system five years or more.
According to a recent news article in the Huffington Post, “Congress Passes Key Foster Care Education Bill,” the graduation rate for foster care children is approximately 50%. It has also been found that foster care youth have lower grades and lower scores on standardized tests compared to a control group of youth.
This is unfortunate to learn. Here youth are placed into foster care to live a better life, but they are not given the proper attention and help to achieve in their education. What is currently being done in schools to help those children in the foster care system? Are schools taking into consideration the possible barriers that foster care can have on a child’s education?
Federal officials have recognized this issue. On January 1st, both houses of congress passed the Uninterrupted Scholars Act to help improve foster care children’s educational outcomes. This is excellent news. The act will help keep a promise that has been made to foster youth: to be safe and to succeed.
Should the act be passed by the President, child welfare agencies will have access to foster care children’s academic records, allowing them to make sure these children’s educational needs are met. The passing of this act will also mean smoother transitions to new schools for foster youth. Now, as these children move from school to school, their academic records will follow them.
The Uninterrupted Scholars Act will help increase foster care children’s graduation rate from high school, giving them the opportunity to succeed in life.
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