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Youth Perspective

Excerpts from articles written by CYC and Fostering Media Connection's Guardians of Social Change interns:

(To read the full articles, please click here)

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Foster Parents Have Influence on Foster Youth’s Education

By: Tony Contreras

Foster parents have the biggest influence on foster youth’s education, and several responsibilities.

Only 45 percent of foster youth in California graduate high school, according to the Stuart Foundation.  As a result, the number of youth perusing higher education is low.

Christina K., a six-year foster mother says, “several foster youth come from homes with no discipline and structure being enforced by their parents. When it comes to their education they don’t really know how to succeed.”

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Unstable Placements Lead to Unstable Schooling for Foster Youth

By: Bonita Tindle

Juliet Velarde has been in foster care for 18 years. She has experienced struggles with multiple placements, moving homes a total of 15 times.

“Being in multiple placements has affected my achievement in school,” said Velarde, a senior at Thurgood Marshall High School in San Francisco. “It made me sad about education. I thought I was going to fail. I almost dropped out.”

Juliet Velarde is among thousands of foster youth that experience difficulties in school because of unstable placements.

According to the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education, multiple placements during the life of a foster youth can impact overall school proficiency. Multiple placements can effect the number of days a foster child attends school. Change in homes usually means a change in school. More than half of foster children experience a change in schools when entering foster care.

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Education Requirements in Group Homes

By: Alea Franklin

Education is very important amongst all foster children whether they are in foster homes, probation homes, group homes, or adoption homes. In foster homes, foster parents are expected to encourage and promote education throughout the home.  However, some may question if group homes have the same expectations. Something else that comes up often in foster care is whether or not foster parents or group home care providers have to be educated. As of today, there are no education requirements above a high school diploma for group home staff.

Justin Harris lived in a group home for four months. Harris thinks group home staff should be educated because if they aren’t educated themselves then they will not be able to instill education within the youth they serve.

Before Harris was placed in the group home, he lived in an emergency foster home. Surprisingly, based on Harris’s experience, he felt more educationally supported during his temporary stay at the emergency placement.

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Placement Can Effect The Educational Achievement of Foster Youth

By: Juliet Velarde

The quality of foster youth’s placement affects how well they do academically. Majority of youth in bad housing situations don’t really care about education because they feel like there is no support at home and no one who cares.

“A foster home affects a foster youth’s education because if you’re in a bad home you won’t have that support and help that you need to be on track to graduate,” said Ruth Joseph, a foster mom of over 20 years from San Francisco, Calif.

Those youth who are in good housing situations are more likely to graduate and do well in school because they know that they have someone who cares about their success and about there future. They have someone who is willing to push them to strive.

A lot of Joseph’s youth came from bad housing and she says were on the verge of dropping out of school. But when she took them in the youth start paying attention in school and start going to school because they felt like they had support. All but one or two graduated from high school.

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