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Foster Care Education: Improving Educational Outcomes for Children and Youth

This new program is dedicated to ensuring that students in foster care are achieving academically through course completion, advancing to the next grade, accruing credits toward graduation, and on a path to post-secondary success. These efforts are being organized by the new State Coordinator for Foster Care Education, who will be leading this work. This position was created in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services, Morgridge Family Foundation, and Mile High United Way.

Program Documents

The following documents provide an overview of the program:

Sense of Urgency

National research shows that children in foster care are at high-risk of dropping out of school and are unlikely to attend and graduate from college. The rates of suicide, homelessness, unemployment and teen pregnancy are above average for foster care youth and young adults. There is an urgent need for schools, child welfare agencies, communities and families to pull together to provide the opportunities, specialized services and supports that students in foster care need to be successful in school and in life.

Purpose

The purpose of the Foster Care Education Program is to ensure that students in foster care are successful in school and life. The focus is on course completion, advancing to the next grade, accruing credits toward graduation, and on a path to postsecondary success.

Action

This program is designed to work with schools and districts to increase learning supports, implement effective strategies, and strengthen partnerships with child welfare and community agencies and coordinate educational transition services. It includes collaboration with the courts, state agencies and child advocacy groups. It will take commitment, leadership and coordinated efforts for each student in foster care to have an academic home and be successful in school.

Our Framework for Success:

Laws and Legislation
Guidance on federal and state legislation that defines the rights of students in foster care

  • Dedicated Resources
    • A State Coordinator for Foster Care Education
    • Training and ongoing professional development for Child Welfare Education Liaisons in local education agencies, county caseworkers, (GAL) Guardian ad Litems, court personnel, and judges
  • Coordinated Response
    • Outreach and public awareness
    • School District Pilot Programs to increase supports and coordination of services with county child welfare agencies
    • Sharing and tracking data on outcomes
  • Addressing the Top Educational Barriers
    • Transportation to school and academic enrichment activities
    • Transitions due to changes in schools and homes
      Transfer of transcripts and student records with each move
    • Program Contact

 

What's New?

In conjunction with the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Colorado Department of Education is working on the following grant collaboration. 

Colorado’s Education in Foster Care Demonstration Project has been established to build state and local infrastructure to ensure that youth in foster care, ages 10-17, are afforded educational stability and greater opportunity for permanency. Project efforts, occurring between October 2012 and September 2014, will be implemented in Adams and Denver Counties in year one and expanded to up to two additional communities in year two. The overarching goal of the demonstration project is to increase school success and permanency through responsive service delivery and improved, cross-system collaborative infrastructure.

The project recognizes that older youth in foster care are at heightened risk for school failure and for experiencing placement issues. The specific needs to be addressed through the project include:

  • School stability issues including: delays in enrollment and loss of educational time due to placement changes; school behavior problems, including untreated behavioral health needs, that result in disciplinary actions; school dropout and failure to pursue post-secondary education or vocational training due to fewer consistent educational supports.
  • Risks to permanency in placement due to behavioral health and school related issues
  • Past unidentified or untreated trauma that can affect school participation and permanency
  • Poor coordination of service efforts due to a lack of collaboration and information sharing among key agency stakeholders

To learn more, visit the Colorado Education in Foster Care Demonstration Project homepage.

 

Sheree Conyers
Phone: (303) 866-6007
Mobile: (303) 501-4031
E-mail: Conyers_S@cde.state.co.us

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