Report sheds light on education challenges for NYC students in foster care
A new report from the Advocates for Children of New York and the Legal Aid Society found concerning numbers on the education of the 6,000 New York City students who live in foster care, but the report also outlined a possible solution.
The advocates say the report confirms their worst fears.
It found that only 42% of city students in foster care graduated on time last year - the lowest of any student group. One in five of them repeated a grade - nearly four times all others. And one in 10 of these students had an attendance rate of less than 50%.
Experts say there are several reasons, including trauma that the students experienced that caused them to enter care, compounded with the trauma of being separated from their families and their communities when they're placed into a foster home.
To address the issues, both the AFC and Legal Aid Society are recommending the launch of a small Department of Education office with two central staff, plus experts in each borough completely dedicated to students in foster care - a group the DOE currently does not currently have a staff member focused on.
News 12 reached out to the DOE for comment. It said that while it recognizes the issues that students in foster care face, and will take the proposal into consideration, it also has "designated school-based staff at every level of the DOE focused on providing them with stability and continuity in their home school communities."
However, advocates say those workers also handle kids in shelters and families in temporary housing - so they're not able to be experts on the specific needs of children in foster care, like the proposed office would provide.
The report says launching the office would cost about $1.5 million, and advocates believe that money is available thanks to the pandemic recovery funds.