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ERIC Number: ED559578
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Shared Data Reveal the Invisible Achievement Gap of Students in Foster Care
At any given time, tens of thousands of children and youth in the U.S. are in the foster care system. Many have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, and they face a challenging journey of uncertainty, often not knowing where they will live next, where they will go to school, or whether they will have contact with friends and relatives. Child welfare professionals work diligently to support children in foster care but typically have no access to information about what happens during a large part of these children's lives--school. Similarly, educators often have no information about a student's foster care status. The lack of data makes it difficult, if not impossible, for adults to fully understand and support the academic needs of students in foster care. For the last few years, The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd has been working toward bridging this data divide in California, the state with the largest number of children and youth in foster care. Through funding from the Stuart Foundation, WestEd staff and a number of partners brokered a first-ever data-sharing agreement between the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the California Department of Education (CDE) as a critical step toward better understanding and serving the academic needs of youth in foster care. The initiative resulted in the report, "The Invisible Achievement Gap: Education Outcomes of Students in Foster Care in California's Public Schools"--a first-of-its-kind analysis linking statewide data from the child welfare and education systems, giving a fuller picture than ever before available of all K-12 students in the state's foster care system. This article discusses the data revealed in the initiative's report, which showed that students in foster care are a unique, at-risk group in desperate need of the kind of targeted support often provided to other at-risk subgroups. Findings also revealed a more detailed picture of how and why this population is struggling academically. [This article was first published in WestEd's R&D Alert, Vol. 15, No.1, 2014.]
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Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: WestEd
Identifiers - Location: California