Since 2006, over 3,500 students in foster care have received assistance from an Educational Advocacy Coordinator. The Educational Advocacy program was started in order to help foster youth maintain enrollment, connect to school services, and progress academically. The program was first implemented in King County in 2001. Treehouse, the non-profit agency that developed the program model, now manages the statewide program under contract with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). This includes training advocates, screening referrals, tracking outcomes, and developing instructional material for social workers, caregivers, and educators.
The 2011 Legislature directed the Institute to “examine the child welfare and educational characteristics for foster youth who are served by educational advocates.” During the 2009–10 school year, advocates spent nearly 8,200 hours assisting youth in foster care. This report describes the background and characteristics of those students served by advocates. We also examine placement mobility and school changes as well other educational outcomes (i.e. grade point average and graduation rate). Our final evaluation report in October 2012 will address the overall effectiveness of the program