Right now, the needs of foster youth are met through laws targeted at students with similar needs of foster youth, so not all foster youth get their educational needs met. Examples of these laws are the No Child Left Behind Act, and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.
Lawmakers are moving fast to improve education laws for at-risk students and if they move too fast, they might forget that foster youth have needs that should be addressed as well. Advocates for foster youth want Congress to consider the following:
- Transportation: ensure that children and youth in foster care receive transportation to and from their schools of origin
- Records: ensure that children and youth in foster care have timely record transfers when moving to a new school
- Credit Accrual and Recovery: ensures children and youth in foster care retain credits for coursework already completed and have opportunities to recover and accrue school credit on an individual basis
Do you agree with these points brought up by the advocacy community? What's missing? Lawmakers need to hear about your story and what you needed in order to succeed in school, so that the laws they pass will benefit all youth in foster care.
- Contact your Representative and Senators and tell them about your needs in school while you were in care.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let them know what went well and the barriers you faced as your pursued graduation.
- Learn more about the federal role in education for foster youth, and leave comments on your thoughts.
- Use social media! As little as 10 posts on social media tools like Facebook and Twitter can grab the attention of Congressional members. You can tag your Representatives and Senators on Facebook, letting them know what you think about education for foster youth. Tag Senator Alexander as well, as he is championing education reforms and hopes to hear from you.