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Collective’s Report Examines Foster Youth Educational Outcomes

Less than half of California’s students in foster care who complete high school enter postsecondary education within a year of graduation, according to a new report from The Foster Youth Pre-College Collective.

Matt Strieker is CEO of United Friends of the Children, a member of The Foster Youth Pre-College Collective.Matt Strieker is CEO of United Friends of the Children, a member of The Foster Youth Pre-College Collective.The collective serves over 3,000 students annually among six leading California-based foster youth direct service provider organizations that, joined together, seek to enhance educational supports for foster youth throughout the state.

Its ‚ÄúDestination Graduation: Investing in the Educational Attainment of California‚Äôs Youth in Foster Care‚ÄĚ highlights the life challenges youth in foster care face because of trauma from family separation and chronic instability.

The report lists several contributing factors that hinder educational attainment for foster youth including, but not limited to, sparse coordination between child welfare and education systems, systemic racism and implicit bias within the child welfare and education systems that adversely affect minorities, and barriers to receiving needed academic supports and resources.

The report examines why public systems have struggled to respond to such barriers despite reform efforts and describes promising practices, including intensive one-on-one interventions to help youth complete high school and pursue post-secondary education.

‚ÄúDestination Graduation‚ÄĚ concludes by noting, ‚Äúthe compounding reality of disproportional placement of African American and other youth of color into the child welfare system also perpetuates long-established racial injustice and inequity patterns.‚ÄĚ

It asserts that investment in educational attainment can effectively stop the domino effect in which youth experience continued adverse outcomes when they leave foster care.

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