A. Education Data

National studies show that youth in foster care have poor educational outcomes when compared to their peers in the general population. Youth in foster care are more likely to be suspended or expelled, score lower on statewide standardized tests, repeat a grade, and to drop out, and are less likely to graduate. For more information on these studies, please see: National Working Group on Foster Care and Education (2018, April), “Fostering Success in Education: National Factsheet on the Educational Outcomes of Children in Foster Care”.[82]

According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) 2017-2018 Federal Report Card for Texas Public Schools, students in foster care had a graduation rate of 58.2%, compared to 89.7% of all students in Texas and performed at lower levels on statewide assessments.[83]

Although many children experience educational challenges, students in foster care face additional hurdles, including multiple residential and school changes, missed school days for visits with parents and siblings, court appearances, or therapeutic or other case-related appointments that are only available during school hours, as well as an often chaotic educational, social, emotional, and family history prior to entering foster care.

Children and youth who are of school-age and in foster care may also find themselves lost in-between child welfare and education – two systems with overlap, but often inadequate ongoing and effective communication. If Texas judicial, child welfare, and education stakeholders coordinate efforts, especially during school transitions, students in foster care are less likely to experience a damaging loss of records, credits, services, and support systems, which can hinder academic success.