New Ohio partnership to improve educational stability for foster kids

(Photo Supplied/Ohio News Service)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ohio News Service): Research shows Ohio’s 14,000 foster kids are likely to experience poor educational outcomes, and for the first time, school districts and child-protection agencies are collaborating to improve their educational stability.

The federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” includes provisions to ensure all children have equal opportunities for success in school. Roger Loy, manager of resources to children and families for the Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services, said children in foster care often have challenging circumstances that can’t help but affect their school performance.

“These are children who have been removed from their home,” he said. “They may have already been behind in school. Now they’re going to be more than likely put in a new school system. They’re adjusting to life in a home that they feel like they’re a visitor at. It’s just very hard for them to succeed.”

He said schools and agencies will be working together to track educational outcomes of foster children. They’ll ensure that a child remains in the same district if it’s in their best interest, and also can appoint an educational liaison for the child to help make decisions and resolve issues.

Loy said transportation is a barrier when a child goes into foster care but wants to remain at his or her current or home school. The new law requires that school districts provide a way to get to class for foster youth.

“That may not always be feasible if we have a child placed 200 miles away from the home school,” he said, “but for those kids who are in neighboring school districts, it would help them maintain some sense of stability because they’d at least be in the same school system.”

Loy said he believes the new collaboration will mean more stability for foster youth. He said his agency’s educational unit has had great success working closely with children in foster care.

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