National Strategies for Reducing the Education Gap in Foster Youth
Meese, Brian C.
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Within the United States, at any given time, there are approximately 600,000 children in the foster care system. Based on standardize test scores and graduation rates, there is a significant education gap between foster children and their peers. The education gap that exists has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and limits the likelyhood of positive outcomes at adulthood for the foster population. This capstone presents a potential strategy for reform of the foster care system within the United States, specifically with regards to education of the children. This proposal augments existing solutions and create a compounding effect with current legislation and strategies. This policy proposal will specifically address the following problem: How can the education gap that exists for the foster child population be reduced? This proposal recommends a two-part solution, the first part focused on staffing to child welfare agencies, the second with regards to applicability of foster student transportation funding. This proposal recommends creating an “Education Growth Coordinator” role within child welfare agencies, as well as hiring professional educators in the welfare agencies to serve as tutors for foster children. The second facet of this proposal involves modifying legislation so that funding for transportation and school stability can be utilized for resourcing virtual schooling in the event of school shutdowns, as seen in the COVID-19 pandemic. This proposal lays out the action forcing event, relevant policy history, outlines the proposal, policy and political analysis, and finally presents recommendations. In summary, the recommendation is to implement the policy proposal in full to have the greatest impact in reducing the education gap.