CONTACT: Jon-Michael Basile: firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-360-2770
WASHINGTON (May 1, 2015)—A new report by the Data Quality Campaign and the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education details which states are sharing data among child welfare and education agencies to provide foster care students with crucial supports like assisting with timely enrollment and simply helping a school identify a child’s education decisionmaker.
Studies show students in foster care experience high rates of school mobility; delayed enrollment when school changes occur; high suspension, expulsion, and dropout rates; and low college graduation rates. Despite their need for special help, these students are often unidentified and underserved. With the collaboration of states, schools, and child welfare agencies, there is a chance to lessen some of the barriers foster care students face and therefore improve student success.
By securely sharing limited, critical information, child welfare staff can:
- Help with timely enrollment and transfer of credits if a school change is needed;
- Identify the need for educational supports;
- Work with school staff to address attendance and discipline issues;
- Assist with transition planning to post-graduation activities such as higher education.
Furthermore, sharing aggregate-level data (e.g., school mobility rates for all children in foster care in a county) among child welfare and education agencies can improve the work of these agencies through identifying systemic problems, increasing accountability, and helping advocates push for needed policies and interventions.
In California, for example, a recent study linking child welfare and education data found a previously “invisible achievement gap” between children in foster care and other students, including students with low socioeconomic status, English language learners, and students with disabilities. The findings spurred widespread state attention and reform.