Most literature on the education of foster youth focuses on their individual outcomes and characteristics. A small body of literature documents a lack of collaboration between the child welfare and education systems. This study explores commonalities and differences in perspectives between child welfare and education system stakeholders. It draws on findings from a multi-county exploratory study on educational services for foster youth. The findings in this study identify several systemic barriers including placement instability within the child welfare system, limited financial resources of schools, and poor interagency communication. In addition, differences in the perceptions of school and child welfare agency personnel regarding the needs of foster children in school, problems encountered in enrolling children in school, and the role and motives of each agency in addressing these needs and problems are identified. These differences point to both the challenges involved in improving communications and collaboration between the two systems, as well as the opportunities to improve educational services to children in foster care.
September 22, 2008