A silent and significant subgroup: closing the achievement gap for students in foster care

Children and youth in foster care comprise a significant subgroup of low performing students in public schools today. The current climate of accountability has created the need for education and child welfare professionals to address the unique needs of students in foster care to increase academic achievement. Additionally, recent legislation in California, such as AB490 and AB 1808 modified the Education Code and Welfare and Institutions Code. These mandates include a requirement that the unique educational circumstances of foster children are addressed by child welfare, public education and the judiciary. This study explores strategies and interventions that may increase the academic achievement of students in foster care. The study compares academic outcomes for foster youth receiving tutoring services from three different programs. These findings speak to the impact of supplemental academic support services and the practical application of these services for this vulnerable population. The findings serve to inform public education, child welfare and Foster Youth Services programs throughout the State of California and across the United States.