Back to School in Foster Care

 Back to School in Foster Care

The Back-to-School season is an exciting time for many children and families. However, it can be a difficult time for the 28,000 children in foster care in Texas. Statistically, only half of these children will end up graduating from high school. And without the support network of a stable family or high school, only 3% of teens who age out of foster care graduate from college. Special thanks to Gabby Hart, Fox 26 Houston for helping us raise awareness about what it is like to go back to school in foster care.

Foster youth face unique challengesfive teens stand in a school hallways talking

Children in foster care are more likely than their peers to transfer schools frequently. That’s because they often move from foster home to foster home, which means moving to different areas of town. This means new schools, curriculum, new rules, new teachers and new classmates.

“It sets them back a lot, because every district is on a different curriculum, so maybe they took a class they don’t need in the next district, or maybe they don’t have enough credits in the new district,” explained Terinisha Vann, Arms Wide’s Foster Care Adoption Supervisor.

Boy with backpack reads books in the libraryKids often enter foster care with little more than the clothes on their backs. Therefore, they don’t have the same resources that their peers often have. “Kids in care don’t have the more expensive clothes or shoes that other kids might have. They can’t get their hair done every day or a style that they may like. Nowadays, a lot of kids don’t like to go to school, because of bullies or being the new kid,” said Terinisha.

“Nowadays, a lot of kids don’t like to go to school, because of bullies or being the new kid,” said Terinisha.

In addition to the trauma they have experienced by being removed from their home, it is often more difficult for them to feel like they fit in at school.

Bridging the gap

How can you help children in foster care? The number one way is by becoming a foster parent who can provide a safe, nurturing and stable family. There is a shortage of foster parents in Texas—especially for older children and teens. To learn more, attend one of our monthly information meetings to start the process. If becoming a foster parent isn’t right for you right now, you can still help by donating to our programs, which provide foster care, adoption, kinship care and post adoption services to children and families at no cost.