School support vital for foster care youths

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Children and youths in foster care often struggle in school because of the challenges they face in their home lives, and are deprived of academic opportunity by virtue of their state involvement. Two bills currently being considered by the General Assembly could help to improve the academic experience of children in foster care.

Between traumatic removal from birth parents and the shuffle between different foster homes, a foster child has little chance to escape chaos and experience normalcy. For these youths, school is often the only environment that offers them stability, support and skills that will allow them to succeed once they leave foster care. Unfortunately, recent studies performed in Connecticut have shown that there is an academic performance gap between foster youths and their peers who are not in state care.

As a foster youth, I witnessed this lack of educational opportunity caused by instability in my personal life. In high school, I bounced from group homes to foster homes to shelters, the result of the nearly 20 placement changes. I often questioned whether I could handle both the stress of my private life and the rigor of my academic courses, but I knew that a high school diploma was my only lifeline.

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