At Greater Risk, California Foster Youth and the Path from High School to College

At Greater Risk, California Foster Youth and the Path from High School to College
May 22, 2013 Stuart Foundation

At Greater Risk, California Foster Youth and the Path from High School to College reveals heartbreaking statistics about the educational outcomes of the California foster youth:

  • 45% of foster youth completed high school, compared with 53% of similarly disadvantaged youth and 79% of the general student population;
  • 43% of foster youth enrolled in community college, compared with 46% of similarly disadvantaged youth and 59% of the general student population;
  • 41% of the foster youth who enrolled in college remained enrolled in community college for a second year, compared with 48% of similarly disadvantaged youth and 62% of the general student population.

We need to do more to help foster youth in California succeed academically. California’s current Foster Youth Services (FYS) program has improved the educational outcomes of foster children and the program serves as a model for other states. Yet more is needed if children and youth in foster care are to achieve in school at the same level as their disadvantaged peers, much less the general population. Specifically, California needs to:

  • Improve data collection and data sharing so that school districts know which students are in foster care.
  • Ensure county offices of education continue supporting the educational success of students in foster care through oversight activities that parents would normally provide.
  • Ensure school districts provide students in foster care appropriate, specialized and targeted educational services and are held accountable for their educational outcomes.