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Every Child in Focus—Foster Child

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In March, National PTA’s Every Child in Focus campaign centers on the Foster Child. Using the PTA National Standard for Family-School Partnerships, we will explore ways PTAs can welcome and support the families of foster children in the school community.

We have created information and resources on the unique challenges foster children face and ways PTAs can better support foster families in achieving student success.

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How Your PTA Can Better Support Foster Children

  • Read our PTA One Voice Blog for PTA success stories and additional resources. You can also share your blog! We want to hear local and state PTA success stories on supporting children with special needs and how you promote an environment that is welcoming to all children and parents. Use our blog share tool to tell us your story.
  • Share the Parents' Guides to Student Success. These standards provide clear, consistent expectations for what students should be learning at each grade level in order to be prepared for college and career.

About Foster Children and Families

  • Nearly 400,000 youth were in foster care in September 2012 and approximately 250,000 of those youth were school-aged.
  • 52% were male and 48% were female.
  • During their first foster care stay, a youth experiences an average of 2.8 living arrangements.
  • Students in foster care are twice as likely to be absent from school than other students.
  • More than half of students who enter the foster care system must change schools and more than a third of 17-18 year olds in foster care have experienced 5+ school changes.
  • 17-18 year olds in foster care are twice as likely to have an out-of-school suspension and three times more likely to be expelled than other students.
  • The average reading level of a 17-18 year old in foster care is 7th grade.
  • Students in foster care are 2.5-3.5 times more likely to receive special education services.
  • Only half of students in foster care complete high school by age 18.
  • While 84% of 17-18 year olds in foster care want to go to college; only 20% of students in foster care that graduate from high school attend college.
  • Only 2% to 9% of youth in foster care attain a bachelor’s degree.

(Source: Fostering Success in Education: National Factsheet on the Educational Outcomes of Children in Foster Care, 2014)

Ways to Engage Foster Families

About Every Child in Focus

National PTA’s Every Child in Focus is a campaign centered on strengthening family engagement in schools by celebrating important cultural distinctions and achievements, while highlighting solutions to potential educational issues. 

Each month, National PTA will spotlight the educational issues surrounding a particular group, highlight their accomplishments and focus on ways to foster Family-School Partnerships. Follow our Every Child in Focus Calendar for materials to help families and PTAs learn more about each group.