Child Welfare and Education

Promoting educational stability and success for children in foster care

Students in foster care face tremendous barriers to academic success and often lag far behind their peers in educational outcomes and success. Although important progress has been made in removing educational barriers for youth in foster care, there is much more to do. We are working to expand understanding about the educational needs of students in foster care and how best to support them throughout the education continuum, from early childhood through higher education.

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act and reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESSA creates for the first time in federal education law key protections for students in foster care that promote school stability and success, and required collaboration with child welfare partners. These protections will help prevent students in foster care from needlessly changing schools, requires the immediate enrollment in school and transfer of records if a child does change schools, and creates a point person in charge of ensuring effective implementation of the new provisions. Click here for more information on the important new provisions for students in foster care, public comments from CDF on the new Title I assurances and protections for students in foster care, and read Marian Wright Edelman's Child Watch® Column The Education Inequality Struggle for more information on the Every Student Succeeds Act.