Beating the Odds: Boosting School Success Rates for Students in Foster Care

Kathy Rando once worried she wouldn't graduate high school. But her foster mother (who later adopted her) reinforced the importance of an education and helped her study for her GED, and she has earned her associate's degree.

Kathy Rando once worried she wouldn’t graduate high school. But her foster mother (who later adopted her) reinforced the importance of an education and helped her study for her GED, and she has earned her associate’s degree.

NEW YORK — Before moving from her biological mother’s home and into foster care at age 10, Kathy Rando was in the gifted program at her elementary school. But by the time she was 17, Rando had lived in upwards of 10 foster homes and spent four years in a residential treatment center (RTC), before finally dropping out of high school.

“School was not really my main priority,” said Rando, now 25. “It was just making sure I was OK during the day.”

For youth in foster care, ensuring that basic needs like shelter, food and safety are met takes priority, often leaving education as an afterthought. Many foster youth have experienced trauma, which has an adverse affect on a child’s ability to learn, and children often change schools when they move into a new home. In New York City, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) estimates this happens between 15 and 20 percent of the time, causing students to fall behind in school.

Foster care system grows at rapid rate

foster-care-system-grows-at-rapid-rateThe number of children in the Arkansas foster care system continues to grow at a rapid rate. One organization is raising awareness for the growing need for people to get involved.

“The Call”– a faith-based nonprofit — took to the steps of the capitol in hopes of encouraging others to join them and open their homes to kids that desperately need one.

“We felt the call God pulled us into foster care we didn’t really feel like we had a choice we have room to spare we have spare time to give,” said foster parent Josh Brackett.

AGAPE foster care director takes in kids and helps reunify

Birth parents Tosha and Rob Skor with Eban in September 2014.

Birth parents Tosha and Rob Skor with Eban in September 2014.

Chandler Means had a sick feeling when he pulled up to the trailer park.

Means, a foster dad, had been caring for a sweet 18-month-old named Eban. After only a week, authorities told Means to return the boy to his birth parents.

“You knock on the door and you have a little boy in your arms, and you don’t wanna give him up,” Means said. “It doesn’t take but a few moments to fall in love with a kid.”

The sick feeling turned to dread when the door opened.

Drug epidemic overwhelms West Virginia foster care system with children

foster+care+drug+problemWith three adult kids of her own, Huntington resident Renee Law says she had no idea a toddler and a teenager would join the family. She never planned on being a foster mom, but it was a decision she does not regret.

Law and her husband were involved in a ministry in downtown Huntington in the summer of 2015 that aimed to help prostitutes turn their lives around.

“Through that we met a lady on jail visits and when she got out of jail, we tried to help her get on her feet,” Law said. “She ended up back in jail”

While the mother was behind bars, she had two young girls who needed a stable home.

“Her children went into the state’s custody,” Law said. “It was really like God said, ‘You don’t need to just use your mouth, you need to use your home too.’ ”

The 2-year-old and 14-year-old have been with the Laws for almost a year now. Law says becoming a foster parent opened her eyes to the issues facing the foster care system.

Foster care prayer vigil on Wednesday

May is National Foster Care Month and in honor of that, Lighthouse Christian Fellowship of Westfield will be hosting a Foster Care Prayer Vigil. The day is set for Wednesday, May 18 at 6:30 p.m. The church is located at 20 Washington St., Westfield. All are invited to attend. The purpose of the prayer vigil is to pray for the foster care workers, foster children, foster parents, and birth families of Chautauqua County.

Currently there is a large need for foster families in the county. Believing foster parenting to be a calling, prayers will be lifted up for people to accept that calling in order to meet the needs of the many children and families in Chautauqua County.

Foster parents push for new laws

Dan Bracken, a foster care advocate, with his two daughters. (FOX Carolina/ May 13, 2016)

Dan Bracken, a foster care advocate, with his two daughters. (FOX Carolina/ May 13, 2016)

Dan Bracken is teaching his children a lesson on history and the solar system.

“For our children they’ve seen a world they don’t necessarily get to see every day,” Bracken said.

His children are home-schooled and he’s a foster parent. “We have four children that are ours- and we’re fostering a 5th right now,” he said.

It’s a calling that has also turned him into an advocate. Right now, state laws won’t allow him to go on vacation with his foster child without a long approval process.

“This past fall we wanted to go apple picking as a family- just across the state line – we couldn’t,” Bracken said.

Utah is in desperate need of foster parents

Dan Webster, the Salt Lake valley representative for Utah Foster Care, talks to Fox 13

Dan Webster, the Salt Lake valley representative for Utah Foster Care, talks to Fox 13

Utah is in desperate need of foster parents and families. Dan Webster, the Salt Lake valley representative for Utah Foster Care, shared why now is the time to help. Recently Utah as a whole has seen a need for children, especially siblings, to be taken care of in foster care.

May is National Foster Care Month and a great time to sign up to serve as a foster parent. Utah Foster Care lays out all of the information for prospective parents in a pamphlet. They say common misconceptions for foster care is that you have to be married or own your home, neither are true.

Foster parents make a difference, one child at a time

Pundits and politicians spend many hours debating public policies that affect thousands of children in foster care in Nebraska and other states. Nebraska’s foster system has been open to criticism in the past.

There were 2,746 children in out-of-home foster care in Nebraska as of the first of May, about a third lower than three years ago as the agency works to return children to their biological families. Whether real long-term improvements have been achieved remains to proven.

“During National Foster Care Month in May, we especially thank the wonderful foster parents who open their hearts and homes to provide a temporary, safe place for children who are not able to remain with their parents,” said Courtney Phillips, CEO of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Young adults get furniture donations to help transition from foster care

Young adults who have been part of the foster care system received a special donation of furniture to help them begin their independent lives. (KABC)

Young adults who have been part of the foster care system received a special donation of furniture to help them begin their independent lives. (KABC)

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Young adults who have been part of the foster care system received a special donation of furniture to help them begin their independent lives.

Tiare Hill, 20, and five other young adults received free furniture for their brand new apartments, thanks to Ashley Furniture HomeStore and the non-profit group Aspiranet.

These young adults are part of the foster care system. Many of them were never adopted, and now as young adults, they are having to move out on their own.

They each received a sofa, a coffee table, two end tables, a bed headboard and foot board, a mattress and a chest of drawers.

AL needs more foster parents for 5,000 children in foster care system

Patrick Lee was in the foster care system for 13 years. Source: WBRC video

Patrick Lee was in the foster care system for 13 years. Source: WBRC video

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – Five thousand children are currently in the Alabama foster care system.

It’s a startling number to think about as we’re in the midst of national foster care month. It’s a number that doesn’t surprise 24-year-old Patrick Lee.

He spent 13 years in the foster care system, which included two foster families and three group homes.

“The toughest part was being in the group homes because, basically I was under the supervision of staff, you know there wasn’t any kind of parent situation going on. There wasn’t anybody to tell you hey, I love you, stay strong, I’m there for you when you need it. It wasn’t that kind of support,” Lee said.

A representative with the State Department of Human Resources said some children are in group homes because they may require special attention. The homes aren’t supposed to be a permanent situations.