Maryland Resource Parent Association Education Committee Plan of Work, 2014-2016
Sam Macer – Chairman
According to the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education, for the over 500,000 children and youth served in foster care each year in the United States, education has the potential to be a positive counterweight to abuse, neglect, separation, impermanence, and instability.
Positive school experiences enhance the well-being of children and youth. These experiences help them make more successful transitions to adulthood, and increase their chances for personal fulfillment and economic self-sufficiency, as well as their ability to contribute to society.
Education should be approached as an integral part of permanency rather than as a choice between permanency and education.
Studies have shown that education is a significant factor in determining the success of youth as they exit the foster care system and beyond.
When focus is on educational needs, the results are improved educational performance, decreased maladaptive behavior, and lower drop-out rates.
Facts and Figures
- Less than 70 percent of youth in foster care finish high school before leaving care.
- Children and youth in out-of-home care experience an average of one or two placement changes per year.
- Students in foster care score 16 to 20 percentile points below others in statewide standardized tests (Washington state study).
- Only about 3 percent obtain a bachelor’s degree within a few years of emancipation.
According to the Maryland Department of Human Resources, Maryland Resource Parent Handbook “an important part of the care that a child receives in foster care involves ensuring that the child’s educational needs are met. The resource parent is involved in the day-to-day activities of the child, and can best identify areas of progress and concern”.
Education Committee Goals
Support all Maryland resource providers in their efforts to provide for the safety, permanency and well-being of the foster youth in their care. An essential element in the area of supporting well-being is increasing and sustaining academic achievement. Research indicates foster youth are often two grade levels behind their peers and two grade levels behind in their reading and math skills. Poor educational outcomes are directly related to poor adult life outcomes in employment, housing, post-secondary education and criminal justice.
- Support the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 07.02.25.08, – Responsibilities of a Foster Parent- #10 Participate in the child’s educational process.
- Support the DHR, Maryland Resource Parent Handbook – Education.
- Promote the concept of resource parent and care provider involvement and engagement in the educational process to raise and sustain academic achievement.
- Promote the concept of establishing a strong home/school connection to support children in out of home placement.
- To achieve the goals of the Education Committee the following activities are proposed:
- Share information with all foster care providers concerning the importance of educational support through newsletters, electronic and print media, presentations and trainings.
- Present and develop trainings upon request of local foster parent associations, local Department of Social Services, (DDSs), the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Maryland Resource Parent Association (MRPA) conferences and community organizations. The Education Committee seeks a maximum of $500 for each jurisdictional meeting it co-sponsors with a local foster parent association and a local DSS. The committee is proposing a maximum of 6 local jurisdictional meetings that will offer training hours and help raise the relevance of the MRPA and the local foster parent association.
- Communicate with and engage federal, state and local education and child welfare officials and organizations to include but not limited to the Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Education, MSDE, the University of Maryland, National Foster Parent Association and National PTA.
Write articles for electronic and print media.
- Participate on the MSDE’ Superintendent’s Family Engagement Council to provide input concerning education issues in child welfare.
The Education Committee will collaborate with the Maryland Resource Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA). The PTSA was established by the Maryland Resource Parent Association (MRPA) in 2010 and is a member of the MRPA board. The collaboration will help raise the awareness and the need for increased and effective foster parent and care provider engagement in the educational process of the foster youth in their care.
The Education Committee will adopt the PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. The standards are:
Standard 1: Welcoming all families into the school community—Families are active participants in the life of the school, and feel welcomed, valued, and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students are learning and doing in class.
Standard 2: Communicating effectively—Families and school staff engage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication about student learning.
Standard 3: Supporting student success—Families and school staff continuously collaborate to support students’ learning and healthy development both at home and at school, and have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively.
Standard 4: Speaking up for every child—Families are empowered to be advocates for their own and other children, to ensure that students are treated fairly and have access to learning opportunities that will support their success.
Standard 5: Sharing power—Families and school staff are equal partners in decisions that affect children and families and together inform, influence, and create policies, practices, and programs.
Standard 6: Collaborating with community—Families and school staff collaborate with community members to connect students, families, and staff to expanded learning opportunities, community services, and civic participation.
Approved June 28, 2014