The Legal Aid Society and Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) released a report highlighting the urgent need for the Department of Education (DOE) to launch a small office focused solely on the needs of students in foster care, as reported by the New York Daily News.
Currently, the DOE does not have an office, team, or even a single staff member dedicated to supporting youth in foster care, a group of students particularly in need of specialized support.
The approximately 6,000 New York City students who spend time in foster care during any given school year—who are disproportionately Black and come from the City’s poorest communities—face enormous educational challenges. For example:
In March 2018, the City’s Interagency Foster Care Task Force, whose membership included the Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and the DOE Chief Operating Officer, recommended that the DOE establish an infrastructure to focus on students in foster care, similar to its Office of Students in Temporary Housing.
Three years later, the City has yet to act on this recommendation—and without staff in place, there is no one at the DOE consistently advocating for students in foster care, ensuring that the unique needs of students in care are considered when making policy decisions, or focusing on developing and implementing programs to assist students in foster care. At a time when the DOE is receiving an historic influx of federal and state funding, this report demonstrates the continued need for a DOE office for students in foster care and describes key responsibilities this office would carry out, including:
“I think children in foster care have been overlooked for a long time,” said Melinda Andra, Assistant Attorney-In-Charge of the Education Advocacy Project at The Legal Aid Society.
Last Updated: 4 May 2021
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