Every Child

Author: Helios Education Foundation

May 16, 2016

Education has the ability to change the life of a child and strengthen the community in which they live.  And, every child, regardless of zip code deserves a high-quality education.  Arizona has taken a major step forward to ensure that one group of underserved children have that opportunity.

Governor Ducey recently signed legislation that gives school-age foster children enrollment preference at the public school of their choice.  In addition, the legislation expands the statewide FosterEd Program that provides every foster child an Education Champion who will support the student’s long-term education success, along with an education team of adults who develop and support an individualized education plan based on the student’s academic strengths and needs.

Currently, there are 10,770 K-12, public school students in foster care.  These students are often enrolled in low-performing schools and are more likely to change schools during the year.  According to a recent report by WestEd, foster children lag behind their peers in academic achievement and education outcomes.  The FosterEd Program is intended to help change that.

The program has been piloted in Pima County for the past two years and it will roll out statewide in 2017.  Helios Education Foundation provided funding for the two-year pilot.  More than 300 foster children have participated in the FosterEd program in Pima County.  A total of 1,114 educational goals were set for these students and 67 percent of them were completed.  Most of the students had an attendance rate below 95 percent.  Of these students, the vast majority improved their attendance rate after joining FosterEd.

“As a Foundation focused on college and career readiness and postsecondary success for all students, Helios was proud to help fund the FosterEd pilot program in Pima County,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO.  “We are focused on the success of all students but have a particular interest in those from underserved communities, including foster children.”

This program not only helps individual children but it also helps implement the systemic changes that are needed to support foster children.  Ultimately, it is helping ensure that these children are getting the support and resources they need to be successful.  

“We appreciate the Governor and legislature’s leadership and we were proud to partner with other philanthropic organizations including the Arizona Community Foundation, the Nina Mason Pullium Charitable Trust and the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, to bring this national program to Arizona.” said Luna.

Click here to learn more about FosterEd. 

Category: Education Issues

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