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Promoting school connections for youth in child welfare Ensuring Educational Stability, Continuity, & Success of Children in Foster Care A COLLABORATIVE.

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Presentation on theme: "Promoting school connections for youth in child welfare Ensuring Educational Stability, Continuity, & Success of Children in Foster Care A COLLABORATIVE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Promoting school connections for youth in child welfare Ensuring Educational Stability, Continuity, & Success of Children in Foster Care A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH

2 Background of Educational Stability in Vermont Casey Breakthrough Series Collaborative Court Improvement Project (CIP) Justice for Children’s Task Force VT-FUTRES Federal Children’s Bureau Grant

3 Educational Stability: Why? Every time a student changes schools they lose approximately six months of educational progress, resulting in a lack of basic academic skills and major disadvantages when transitioning to adulthood.

4 Academic Challenges 70% of former foster youth express a desire to attend college Students in foster care General student population ^ Casey Northwest Alumni Study Foster Care Alumni Studies: Education Outcomes Workshop P_Education Advocacy.ppt

5 Educational Stability: Why? It’s the law. The Fostering Connections Acts informs us: that Family Services must assess each child’s educational best interest. and that a child’s will remain in their current school unless it is not in their best interest.

6 Promising News With even one fewer educational placement change per year, youth are almost twice as likely to graduate from high school. With even one fewer educational placement change per year, youth are almost twice as likely to graduate from high school. For example, youth with 2 placement changes are twice as likely to graduate than youth with 3 changes. For example, youth with 2 placement changes are twice as likely to graduate than youth with 3 changes.

7 Educational Stability: Strategy National experts encourage integrating efforts and utilizing cross agency collaboration to improve the educational outcomes of youth in foster care. In Vermont we are: encouraging collaboration on a local level implementing common sense approaches making recommendations for policy changes.

8 Rock the GRADES: Generate multi-disciplinary networks G Recruitment and retention R Access transportation when necessary A Data for decision making D Educate local communities E Screening for success S VT’s strategies for improving educational stability and success for youth in foster care

9 G Supporting VT DCF districts to create community stakeholder teams that focus on local procedures. The current emphasis is on developing protocol for educational stability and success. Generate multi- disciplinary networks

10 R Everyone can recruit foster families. Statewide and local planning is important. VT-FUTRES is supporting districts with planning and partner development. Recruitment & Retention

11 Retention Retain Experienced Resource Families Kin/Foster parents deserve respect and support. Supporting families increases permanency. Kin/Foster families are powerful recruiters.

12 A Transportation is a significant issues for educational stability. How will a child get to their designated school? Ask: Primary family as appropriate Foster Families/extended family School teachers/staff Neighbors/friends Respite providers Access transportation

13 Access Transportation Tool A1: Travel Considerations The distance a child would be traveling The developmental age of the child Health issues Safety issues, both personal & with peers Availability of foster parents to transport

14 D What get’s measured get’s done. Critical to collect, review, & share data on: Educational stability Educational success Data for decision making

15 E Utilize conferences, bench bars, and existing trainings to educate: Legal professionals DCF Staff Foster Parents Regional school staff and educational professionals Community partners Support districts to sustain training at a local level. Educate local communities

16 Educate Local Communities Tool E1: Memorandum of Understanding b/t DCF and AOE An MOU allows children to remain in their home school district regardless of their town of residence. Updated MOU Guidance out for review.

17 Educate Local Communities Tool E2: Endless Dreams Curriculum Trauma informed curriculum for educators to support youth in foster care. VT-FUTRES providing trainings in 2013 and 2014.

18 Educate Local Communities Tool E2: Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA) amends Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to allow child welfare agencies access to foster student records.Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

19 S Assess student for school placement and educational well-being. Ask relevant questions of the youth and others that are familiar with the youth. Develop a protocol for regular assessments of youths’ educational strengths and needs. Screening for success

20 Screening for Success Tool S1: Education Best Interest Determination A document that guides DCF social workers in assessing where a student should attend school. Placement changes require updated B.I.D. assessment.

21 Barriers to educational stability Staff turnover High caseloads Crises HIPPA and FERPA Placement instability Funding Conditional Custody Orders

22 VT-FUTRES Activities Implement Toolkit in remaining 5 DCF districts. Present to LIT teams, SPED meetings, and schools. Schedule individual consultation to the RCs as they develop their local plan Expand training of Endless Dreams curriculum Finish presentations to the legal community Provide existing tools electronically to each district

23 Brainstorming Solutions What can YOU do today with the next child you work with to promote and sustain educational continuity for that child? How can we work together to incorporate these strategies into district plans and include the right people in the process? Now that you’ve seen the data, what do you think would be an appropriate goal to set for your district?

24 IN SUMMARY This work is most effective if done collaboratively with all members of the child’s team involved. We need available resources (people, systems, money) that can meet the whole child’s needs. We need to inform all of our community partners of the need to focus on this issue. We will collect data to analyze how we are doing and where we need to make more changes.

25 Community Readiness Survey Joan Rock Resource Coordinator, Morrisville VT Futres Implementation Coordinator See us online at:


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