Youth in foster care encounter a lot of speed bumps throughout their lives, such as grief, trauma and frequent moves, making academic success even more difficult to achieve.
According to the United States Department of Education, when compared to their peers, foster youth on average have lower grades and lower high school graduation rates. Nationally, only about 50 percent of foster youth receive a high school diploma. In New York City, the number of kids in foster care who graduate in 4 years is roughly 28 percent.
In an effort to keep these students from becoming another statistic, The Foundling has made providing wrap-around education services one of its major focuses over the years. In 2017, thanks to donor support, we helped hundreds of New York City kids in foster care — from pre-K through college — beat the odds, giving them the chance at a brighter and more stable future.
There Every Step of the Way
Starting from pre-K, The Foundling’s charter school in the south Bronx, Mott Haven Academy, dedicates itself to educating youth involved in the child welfare system. Here, students have a supportive staff that understands the unique challenges associated with involvement in foster care and preventive services. Students at Haven are out-performing their peers across the city in several subjects — a testament to the model.
In 2017, Haven Academy opened its middle school, Mott Haven Academy Middle School for Social Leadership, allowing kids to continue their education through 6th grade in this compassionate environment. Eventually, the school will serve kids through 8th grade.
For high school students involved in the child welfare system, The Foundling’s Road to Success Program matches teens with a private tutor, who helps them in all areas of school and classwork at the locations and times that work best for the student. Tutors then guide their students through the college application process.
“Because of The Foundling, I am able to go college and achieve my goals,” says Emahni, a student with Road to Success, who just finished her first semester at Guttman College.
A high school diploma isn’t the end goal. Since only 3 percent of teens in foster care graduate from college, the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, The Foundling, and other agencies citywide implemented the “dorm project” to see that their academic success continues.
The Fostering College Success Initiative, now in its second year, allows New York City foster youth to attend CUNY schools and live in the dorms at no cost to them. What’s more, our students get academic support thanks to a team of advisors and social workers at The Foundling.
Last year, we received attention for the successes of our education services. To find out even more about our education programs, read our media coverage:
- Bronx Charter School Caters to Students on the “Margins” — Wall Street Journal
- How Public Schools are Failing Foster Kids — New York Post
- Back to School at a Child Welfare-Focused Charter in the Bronx — Chronicle for Social Change
- New Tutoring Program Aims to Help Students in Foster Care Stay in School — NY1
- Can Keeping Students Longer Help Them Thrive? A Charter School Explains Why It’s Adding Grades — Chalkbeat
- Fostering Success — The Chronicle of Higher Education
In 2018, we plan to continue our work changing education outcomes for youth in foster care, and getting even more kids ready for the future.