May 15, 2012 -- The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) has announced the creation of FosterEd: Indiana, a statewide program to improve the educational success of children in foster care. The DCS program will employ 16 education specialists and a statewide manager to ensure foster children receive the educational opportunities they need to succeed in school, and in life. The program is modeled on the privately funded FosterEd: Marion County pilot project.
"It is important for us to support these children who, through no fault of their own, have found themselves removed from everything they know," said James W. Payne, DCS Director. "By making education a priority for these children, and providing access to the educational opportunities they need, they will have a better chance to achieve their goals and dreams."
Foster children experience trauma as a consequence of having been abused or neglected and removed from their family, are frequently bounced from school to school, and often lack an adult supporting their educational success. Not surprisingly, national statistics paint a bleak picture of their academic success:
- 75 percent of foster children are behind at least one grade level.
- Foster children are twice as likely to drop out of school as their peers.
- Only 1.8 percent of former foster children get a college degree, compared to 24 percent of the general population.
Studies have shown that without educational success, foster youth are ill-equipped to support themselves as adults: more than 22 percent of former foster children experience homelessness, and almost 25 percent will be incarcerated within two years of leaving the child welfare system.