Common Education Problems for Foster Children

Tutoring can help foster care students struggling in class.

Children placed in foster care often experience trauma as a result of being removed from their families and the problems that caused the removal. It is not uncommon for them to be disinterested in their education as they experience anxiety over their new living arrangements and worry about their siblings or parents. It is up to the adults in a foster care child’s life to make sure he is getting adequate education. The following are typical problems foster children face related to education.

Poor Scores on State Standardized Tests

Most children in the foster care system will experience multiple placements which dramatically disrupts their education. Moving from home to home often results in a lag in the paperwork needed to enroll the child in a new school in a timely fashion. Quickly, this continuous disruption in a child’s life will impact their ability to learn as evidenced by poor test scores. Low test scores can result in a child having to repeat a grade level.

Higher Absenteeism

Students in foster care may feel embarrassed or lack confidence in the classroom if adults do not provide support needed. It is not unusual for foster care students to skip school more frequently than their peers. It is especially prevalent if the student has been required to repeat multiple grade levels. Dropping out of school is not unusual for children in foster care.

Disruptive Behavior

When students do attend school, they may exhibit behavior that is disruptive in the classroom. Students may act out in order to be excused from the class or out of simple frustration. Students who do not have the same academic skills as their peers may be bullied by other students or may feel hopeless of ever catching up to their peers.

Making sure the education problems of students in foster care are sufficiently addressed can be challenging. Public schools may not have the resources needed to provide support. However, the foster care agency that places the student can request funding to provide intensive tutoring support. Tutoring can help improve test scores, motivate students to attend school, and provide encouragement that foster positive behavior in students.