A New Guide to Student Success Focused on Supporting Youth in Foster Care

It’s back-to-school season! This can be an exciting time for young people, but for students who are navigating the foster care system, starting a new school year can also be stressful and scary. It’s a perfect time for advocates to start doing educational advocacy!

While any student can face challenges in the classroom, the 2018 Foster Care & Student Success Texas Data and Trends report shows that being in foster care often has a huge impact on young people’s educational success. Too often, these students experience multiple placement and school changes. They can feel singled out in front of their peers, especially when they have to miss class for court dates, therapy sessions and family visits. All of these challenges are compounded by the fact that all students in foster care are also grappling with some form of trauma, which has lasting effects on their physical, emotional and mental health.

This combination of factors results in a graduation rate that needs a concerted effort to change: only 63% of students in foster care graduate from high school in Texas. Only 1.5% go on to obtain a college degree.

It’s critical that CASA volunteers, educators and campus leaders have the necessary resources to understand, and respond to, the unique challenges and needs of students in foster care. That’s why we’re spotlighting the Foster Care & Student Success Resource Guide (2022).

learn more & download the guide

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Supreme Court of Texas and the Texas Children’s Commission, developed this guide to help Texas schools address the education of students in foster care. The 2022 version builds upon the foundation of the original Foster Care and Student Success Guide (2013) and includes updates from three Texas Legislative Sessions and two new chapters.

Key topics covered in the 13-chapter guide include a general overview of child welfare; enrollment, withdrawal and other transition considerations for students in foster care; confidentiality; special education; a guide to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); trauma-informed school supports and much more.

We encourage all those who support children in foster care to use and share this valuable resource! You can also explore more foster care and education resources at the Texas Education Agency website. And if you’re a CASA volunteer and want a handy guide to the practice of educational advocacy, check out our Educational Advocacy Guidebook for actionable ideas.