Our Stories

Foster Youth Experts Release Plan to Help Neglected and Abused Children Succeed in School

Foster youth Desiree received one-on-one help to stay on track in school. She graduated and started at a four-year college. But too many foster youth struggle without support at school.

The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is intended to create educational equity by recognizing that foster youth, low-income, and English language learner students need additional resources to reach their college and career dreams.

Why are foster youth different?

The educational outcomes for foster youth are heartbreakingly poor and significantly worse than other at-risk student subgroups:

  • Foster youth change schools far more often than other students.
  • Foster youth have the lowest graduation rate.
  • They are twice as likely to drop out of school as their peers.
  • Twice as many foster children repeat a grade.
  • 75% percent of foster children are behind grade level.
  • 67% of foster children are suspended from school and 17% are expelled, more than three times the general student population.


How can LCFF help foster youth?

The Coalition for Educational Equity for Foster Youth has developed a sample Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) with action steps and accountability measures that school districts can use to assist foster youth. We are former foster youth, advocates, service providers, and representatives from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and the juvenile court. The LCAP is based on our experience in helping foster youth succeed in school and beyond. 


What goals should schools set for foster youth?

The Coalition for Educational Equity for Foster Youth LCAP sets out three main goals:

Close the achievement gap between foster youth and the general student population as measured by metrics such as improved attendance rates, course passage, standardized testing participation rates and scores, disciplinary rates, and graduation rates.

Promote school stability and prevent push out of foster youth to alternative schools so they have a full range of educational opportunities and don’t experience disruptions in their education.

Ensure foster youth are promptly enrolled in school and in the right classes so they do not fall further behind when they must change schools.

To accomplish these goals, school districts must:

Establish districtwide infrastructure to support and monitor the educational progress of foster youth. Examples of systemic changes include updating school information data systems to allow the accurate identification of foster youth and to track foster youth LCAP metrics; developing policies and trainings such as a partial credits policy; collaborating with county child welfare agency to promote school stability and connection to resources.

Ensure district foster youth liaisons have the adequate time, knowledge and resources to do their job. This includes additional staff if needed.

Ensure that upon full implementation of LCFF, every foster youth receives services from a foster youth counselor who can provide individualized assistance in education planning and coordination. Foster youth counselors will help students enroll in school and gather educational records, plan for graduation, access academic support, obtain tutoring, counseling and other support, and monitor progress to help students stay on track.

Allocate funds to meet LCAP goals and for all services foster youth are entitled to under the law.

The Coalition for Educational Equity for Foster Youth sample LCAP will help schools set high standards and achievable goals for student success.

The Coalition for Educational Equity for Foster Youth is Public Counsel, the Advancement Project, the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Children’s Law Center of California, California Youth Connection, California Youth and Family Collaborative, the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, Hillsides, and the National Center for Youth Law.

Click here to download the sample LCAP for foster youth now (pdf)

Click here to listen to a news story about our plan for foster youth at KPCC public radio

Click here to download a 2-page flyer about foster youth and LCFF (pdf)