Even though we are starting this story off with some cold, hard statistics, we promise it has a happy ending!
According to "National Factsheet on the Educational Outcomes of Children in Foster Care", foster youth do not have a history of positive school experiences. As a matter of fact, they downright struggle. Check this out:
- 56-75% of foster youth change schools when first entering care.
- 34% of 17-18 year olds in care have experienced 5 or more school changes.
- 17-18 year old foster youth are 2x more likely to have an out-of-school suspension.
- 17-18 year old foster youth are 3x more likely to be expelled than other students.
- The average reading level of 17-18 year olds in foster care is 7th grade.
- Foster youth are 2.5 - 3.5x more likely to receive special education services than other students.
- Only 50% of foster youth complete high school by age 18.
But, this year, sixty of our Necco foster youth said, "I am not a national statistic". And as a result, we had more foster children graduate in 2016 than any other year. Our foster parents poured their heart and soul into providing consistency, support, and guidance so these young men and women could graduate. Now is their time to shine. Although some are heading to college and some are jumping into the world of work, they all have the drive to achieve whatever their hearts desire.
We asked some of them what advice they would give to other foster youth in school. Their responses were nothing short of inspiring.
T.M.: “Kill them with success and bury them with a smile.”
B.M.: “In order to succeed, you must never quit”.
E.B.: "Stay in school and keep up with your classes. Don't fall behind."
K.A.: "Life is tough sometimes, but so are you. Don't give up now."
A.W.: "Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life."
R.R.: "Study hard, and have fun."
We would like to congratulate all of our youth for staying focused on their goals. Here's to 2017 and another record number of graduates!