As the month of September closed out and children started school, my favorite RHODC Housewife, Stacie Turner, set her sights on Capitol Hill and calling attention to the inequalities that foster children face. Back to school often means, back to instability. Conquering school can be challenging if your home life is unstable.
Stacie Turner’s visit was a part of a news conference held by Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and Fostering Media Connections which released data from a study of test scores of students in California’s foster care system. Of the findings, children in foster care score lower in English, math, and on standardized tests.
Legislation, sponsored by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., would direct child-welfare agencies to collaborate with local school districts to ensure that foster children remain in their current schools after they move to new school districts if it’s in their best interest.
To put this in perspective, advocates say that there are close to 400,000 children in foster care at any given time, and that they remain there for 27 months. I imagine instability in any two years of your education can be totally disruptive – from youth to young adulthood.
It’s so refreshing to see Stacie putting her RHODC influence to good use. But let’s not forget the tremendous work she’s done with her own charity, Extra-Ordinary Life. HIAH has covered it before, check out a previous post.
Stacie and her husband Jason are staunch supporters of President Obama – but the issue is bigger than that for her. “I guess what I love about the issue is that it’s totally non-partisan,” Stacie said. “On both the Republican and Democrat side we can agree: We all have kids, we all love kids and we believe that kids are the future.”
She went on to say:
“Many people don’t understand what foster children face: an unstable home, lack of parental influence and moving from place to place makes focusing on school five times as difficult. When we can ensure foster children are supported and nurtured and can focus on education we will start to see results and level the playing field between them and a general population that often takes their stability and education for granted.”
Additional reporting from Politico, USAToday, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and Fostering Media Connections . To read more on the study and challenges students in foster care face in their educational lives, click here.