Foster Success is making key recommendations to help Indiana’s students in foster care better succeed. The recommendations are contained in a policy brief called “Supporting the Potential of Indiana Foster Youth.”
Alarming statistics released by the State of Indiana this year show that:·
- Only 64.6 percent of foster students graduate high school, compared with 88.1 percent of their peers
- Nearly 21 percent of foster youth receive a graduation waiver, compared to 8.3 percent of their peers
- 21 percent of foster youth are suspended each year, compared to 8.9 percent of their peers
- Foster students are expelled at nearly two times the rate of their peers
- Black foster students are expelled at four times the rate of their peers
- Foster students are held back at two times the rate of their peers
Foster Success advocates for and supports Indiana foster youth who age out of foster care without permanent families. The group says changes need to be made to help those young adults. Among them:
More help navigating multiple school placements. A Colorado analysis of foster students in high school found they changed public schools an average of 3.46 times. The same analysis found that as the average number of school changes increased, the odds of earning a high school diploma decreased.
Target recruitment, enrollment and support of foster youth in afterschool and out-of-school activities to reduce isolation and unstructured time.
Give foster students the best odds of success by ensuring access to high-performing schools. According to an Indiana State Board of Education report, 40.2 percent of foster students examined were being educated in C, D or F schools compared to 29.8 percent of their non-foster peers. Only 18.5 percent went to A-rated schools compared to 30.8 percent among non-foster peers.
Expand in-school tutoring and supplemental educational services targeted to foster students.
Provide schools with additional resources to meet the unique educational needs of foster children. State lawmakers could consider an increase in per pupil funding for students in foster care to support schools in meeting the exceptional challenges of foster care involvement.
Aid the early success of foster students by prioritizing foster child enrollment in pre-K programs.
Support targeted dropout recovery programs for foster youth. Dedicated efforts must be made to enroll the countless foster students who already have dropped out of school into drop-out recovery high schools.
“Foster youth can excel, and be productive, successful members of society,” said Incoming Foster Success CEO Maggie Stevens. “However, because they have not had stable families or consistent adults providing guidance and advocating for them and their educational needs they need additional support. We must do more as a state to help these kids. It’s that simple.”
The brief was released in partnership with the Indiana Youth Institute and can be read in full here.