• September 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 8

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Federal Collaboration to Support Educational Stability

By Johan Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), U.S. Department of Education

For many students, the beginning of a new school year is a time of anticipation and excitement for the year that lies ahead. Unfortunately, for too many of the nearly one-quarter of a million  students experiencing foster care, this is may not be the case. For many children in care, a new school year can represent a time of great uncertainty and anxiety. Research clearly shows students in foster care face enormous barriers to academic success, including frequent placement and school changes, delayed enrollment, and credits that don't transfer from school to school. Fortunately, many of the barriers these vulnerable students face can be eliminated through coordinated and collaborative efforts by State and local child welfare and education agencies as they implement the provisions of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.

To assist States and localities in their efforts, the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have partnered to develop resources and guidance to support educators, child welfare professionals, and others in their work to improve the education and well-being outcomes for students in foster care. A dedicated webpage, Students in Foster Care, has been launched on the Department of Education's website. This new webpage provides information on relevant laws, guidance, and technical assistance materials on topics ranging from the roles and responsibilities of child welfare and education agencies in ensuring the school stability of students in foster care to postsecondary education supports.

Through developing school stability policies and procedures, sharing outcomes and other relevant data between agencies, and coordinating planning, States and localities can develop a more collaborative approach to providing education services and supports to students in child welfare. The educational success or failure of students experiencing foster care is largely dependent on the collaborative efforts we undertake across our child welfare and education systems. Together, we can ensure our most vulnerable students have the opportunity to experience academic success and realize their full potential.

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