Executive Summary

Foster youth have poor educational outcomes compared to youth not in foster care due to frequent moves while in care and lack of caregiver stability. Drawing on resilience theory, this paper presents a conceptual framework for structuring policies and practices to promote educational resilience of foster youth. Practices and policies from states are highlighted as well as future directions.

Foster youth are at a high risk for poor academic achievement. Compared to youth not in foster care, they have low high school graduation rates,

high grade retention and high absenteeism (Trout, Hagaman, Casey, Reid & Epstein, 2008; Berger et al., 2015; Gustavvson & MacEachron, 2012; Altshuler, 2003). Because academic achievement is linked to several lifelong positive outcomes, such as higher earnings and greater stability (Newburger & Day, 2002), increased attention has focused on improving educational outcomes of foster youth. This paper provides an overview of the academic achievement gap between foster youth and youth not in foster care, a model for educational resilience of foster youth, an overview of current efforts to promote educational resilience and areas for future directions.

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