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Improving the Educational Well-being for Older Adopted and Guardianship-placed Youth

March 24, 2014 Comments off

Improving the Educational Well-being for Older Adopted and Guardianship-placed Youth (PDF)
Source: National Resource Center for Adoption

It has been five years since the former President, George W. Bush, signed into law the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (P.L. 110-351) on October 7, 2008. The law was enacted, in part, as a response to the number of children across the country, whom have lacked permanent homes and are over-represented in school dropout statistics/issues that harm their prospects to transition successfully into adulthood.

Permanency and education well-being are intrinsically connected. Youth placed in homes without the permanency afforded by adoption and guardianships, on average, moved to new foster care placements up to three times per year, with each move resulting in a change of school (Julianelle, 2008).

It is not unusual for high school youth residing in foster care to have changed schools 10 or more times. Since it takes time to recover academically after each school change, many children in foster care not only fail to recover, they actually lose ground (Yu et al., 2002). This largely explains the negative relationship found between placement instability and high school completion (Pecora, et al., 2005).

One study found that youth who had had one fewer placement change per year were almost twice as likely to graduate from high school (Pecora et al., 2003). Only between 54 (Benedetto, 2005) and 58 percent of former foster youth graduate from high school by age 19, compared to 87 percent of students in the general population (Courtney, 2009).

Those that do graduate from high school are less likely to attend college (Courtney, 2009), and those that do enroll in a post-secondary institution are less likely to graduate (Day et al., 2011). By age 19, only 18 percent of foster youth are pursuing a four year degree, compared to 62 percent of their peers (Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2009). By age 25, less than 3 percent of former foster youth had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 24 percent of the general population (Center for the Study of Social Policy, 2009).

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Strategies For Recruiting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families

May 2, 2012 Comments off

Strategies For Recruiting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (PDF)
Source: National Resource Center for Adoption, the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, and the National Resource Center for Recruitment and Retention of Foster and Adoptive Parents at AdoptUSKids

Recruiting and retaining enough qualified foster, adoptive, and kinship parents is a challenge facing nearly every jurisdiction in the United States. States, Tribes, and Territories constantly seek resources and creative strategies for recruiting prospective parents who can meet the needs of children and youth in foster care. They continually look for ways to improve the placement stability for children who need foster care placements and to achieve permanence for children who cannot return to their birth families.

Approximately 408,000 children are currently in foster care in the United States. These children have diverse needs; therefore, child welfare agencies need to have a diverse pool of foster parents who can provide temporary, loving care for the children as they await permanency. Of those 408,000 children in foster care, 107,000 are waiting to be adopted. These children have been in foster care for an average of 37 months. In addition to the children still waiting for a permanent family, nearly 28,000 youth aged out of foster care in 2010 without a permanent family connection. All of these children—and the children who will enter foster care in the years to come—deserve our best efforts to recruit and retain prospective foster and adoptive parents who will provide them with the love, stability, and safety that they need.

For jurisdictions that continue to face challenges in recruiting and retaining enough qualified foster and adoptive parents, looking to previously untapped or underutilized groups of prospective parents—including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adults—may be a key step in providing placement stability and permanency to children in foster care.

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