California youth in foster care have lower performance in math and English language arts, experience more frequent changes in where they attend school, drop out of high school in greater numbers, and graduate at significantly lower rates, according to research commissioned by the Stuart Foundation.
To address these issues, the Stuart Foundation established Education Equals Partnership (EEP)—a statewide initiative to improve educational outcomes for students in foster care from pre-school through post-secondary education.
As a key partner in the initiative since its inception, AIR advised EEP’s strategic design and helped to develop core implementation tools. Since 2012, AIR’s contributions have included
- conducting a scan of evidence-based and promising educational practices and tools;
- serving as lead advisor in the development of screening and monitoring tools to help improve outcomes;
- creating a student performance measurement profile with indicators for “off track,” “on track,” and “on track to thrive”;
- providing technical assistance and consultation on foster youth involvement, trauma-informed practices and systems, development of student support teams, and cross-agency collaboration; and
- providing a statewide and national perspective to inform ongoing planning and promote integration with related federal and state initiatives in behavioral health, primary care, child welfare, juvenile justice, and education.
Four California counties are currently serving as demonstration sites for the initiative, with the goal of having all students in foster care achieve as well as or better than their peers.