What Keeps Children in Foster Care from Succeeding in Schools? Views of Early Adolescents and the Adults in their Lives


As a group, children in foster care struggle academically. Researchers interviewed 25 foster children and 54 of the adults in their lives to better understand how being in foster care affects a child's education, and how adults can help them succeed in school. Foster children faced unique roadblocks, among them concerns about their biological parents and siblings that distract from school, and court appearances and doctors' appointments that cause frequent absences. Behavior issues took attention off academics, and many foster children avoided friendships, fearing that their foster status would be discovered. Foster parents, caseworkers, and school staff each lacked a full picture of the children's needs. Making one adult responsible for children's educational progress would be useful. Giving caseworkers access to children's academic records and giving school staff information about a child's foster situation could also help. Finally, school staff could be trained on the demands the foster care system makes on children.