May 23, 2013
All children deserve to grow up in a safe place with people who care for and love them, and who guide and support them as they grow. Having that safe, stable, and nurturing place to live provides a foundation to learn, dream, and set and meet goals for the future.
Federal and state laws establish policies for foster care, which is meant to be temporary. Goals are to return children to their parents, or place them with family members, or find a home for foster youth with individuals who are committed to making a family with them. While states have made progress in reducing the number of youth in foster care, many youth—especially older youth—remain in the system. Sometimes they stay in care for many years. Far too many of these youth are not placed, as the law requires, in the least restrictive, most family-like setting; they are instead placed in group homes and institutions.
May 21, 2013
Youth are in foster care often talk about feeling different from their peers. They feel they do not get to take part in the activities and opportunities that most teenagers take for granted. Things like going to a friend's house, a school trip, taking an after-school job, or participating in an extracurricular activity can be beyond a youth's reach. This is because of rules that exist in the foster care system, or, more commonly, misunderstandings about what is legally prohibited and what is not. The result is that many youth in care not only feel different and separate from their peers—they also miss out on crucial opportunities to enjoy activities and to build skills and relationships.
May 16, 2013
Nationally, nearly half of youth in foster care do not complete high school by age 18 (according to this data sheet). Although many youth in foster care long to go to college, they have lower college enrollment and completion rates than their peers who are not in care.
Frequent school moves are a big part of the problem. Children in foster care are often bounced from living placement to living placement, typically changing schools each time—sometimes in the middle of a semester. These school moves disrupt students' academic progress and often lead to delayed re-enrollment, missing records, lost credits, and difficulties maintaining relationships with peers and supportive school staff.