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April 2010Vol. 11, No. 3Improving Educational Outcomes for Children in Out-of-Home Care

When a child is removed from home and placed in out-of-home care, a change in school placement is often necessary. For many children in foster care, such interruptions to their education result in their falling behind both academically and socially. Thus, children in foster care have higher dropout rates, are less likely to complete high school, and are less likely to complete postsecondary education. Several new resources present guidelines to help both the child welfare and education systems collaborate to provide educational stability for these children.

  • A new report from the Casey Family Programs Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC), Improving Educational Continuity and School Stability for Children in Out-of-Home Care, presents the lessons learned from a project that brought together nine public child welfare agencies and their associated school systems to test practice changes that would ultimately improve educational continuity and school stability for children in out-of home care. The nine participating jurisdictions tested practice strategies and tools on a small scale, shared lessons learned, and implemented the most successful of those strategies throughout their systems. Strategies fell into three categories:
    • Cross-systems strategies, such as co-locating agency personnel in the school system and including education information in court reports
    • School stability and mobility-focused strategies, such as increasing transportation options to allow children to stay in their home schools
    • Advocacy strategies, such as using data collection to improve education outcomes
    Read the full report on the Casey website:

  • A new factsheet, How Fostering Connections and McKinney-Vento Can Support School Success for All Children in Out-of-Home Care, looks at how Federal education and child welfare law can provide educational stability for children in out-of-home care. Each law provides a different set of rights and protections for eligible children, based on their circumstances and needs. This factsheet summarizes the education rights available under each law, who is eligible, and the overlap between the two laws. The factsheet was produced by the Legal Center for Foster Care & Education, a project of the American Bar Association and Casey Family Programs. (67 KB)
  • The impact of Federal law on State education policy in Pennsylvania is the focus of Keeping a Child in Foster Care in the Same School in Pennsylvania: A Guide for Caseworkers, Advocates & Others, a factsheet from the Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services. The factsheet provides step-by-step guidance on how to keep a child in the same school after an out-of-home placement.'s_Policy_Days(12'2009)/PA_Caseworker_SchoolStabilityTool2009.pdf (45 KB)