Over 12,000 school-age children in Washington State lived in foster care sometime during the past 12 months because of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or family conflict. While the health and safety of these children are of primary concern, the educational attainment of foster children will also greatly impact their ability to succeed as adults. This study finds that at both the elementary and secondary levels, the educational attainment of foster students in Washington falls significantly behind other students. Furthermore, foster students are likely to experience additional risk factors related to poor school outcomes. As directed by the Legislature, this study also suggests alternatives for sharing information about the educational experiences of foster students.
For an updated analysis on the educational attainment of foster youth using the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), see this March 2008 report.