Tag Archives: tutoring foster care students

Education is Key to Success for Foster Children Aging-Out of System

Tutors provide supplemental education students in the foster care system need to successfully transition to adulthood.

The numbers paint a dismal picture for youth aging-out of the foster care system. Less than half will be employed by the time they are 24 years old. Nearly 25% have experienced homelessness since leaving the system. More than 75% of the young women will become pregnant at least once by the time they are 24 while more than 80% of the young men will be arrested by that age. Approximately 60% of the young men are actually convicted of committing a crime. A depressing picture by any account of children placed in a system that is supposed to have their best interests at heart.

Lack of basic education is the primary culprit that prevents former foster youth from succeeding as adults. Regardless of the age at which they are removed from their families and placed in foster care, their education is immediately interrupted. The average foster care child has over three placements throughout their life. Each new placement typically means a school change which translates into additional interruptions of their education. They get further and further behind. Soon they are performing several grades behind their peers.

Academic tutoring provides the support foster youth need to stay in and complete as much school as possible. Having a high school diploma or equivalent provides opportunities such as being able to get a job. The vast majority of youth who age-out of the foster care system before graduating from high school do not continue their education – they are focused on surviving. Resources exist in some communities to help these youth transition to independent living. But in other communities, they are on their own and that is a very scary proposition. They may not have contacts or know of places they can live and simply end up on the street.

A mere 6% of foster youth who age-out of the system earn a college degree by the time they reach 24. They are able to achieve this because they take advantage of the academic supports that are made available to them. Many have mentors who help them through the process. Often these mentors are tutors who assisted them during their high school years. It is not uncommon for a tutor to work with the same foster care students over multiple years. Tutors help youth close their education gaps so they are better prepared if they age-out of the foster care system.

Benefits of Academic Tutoring for Foster Care Students

Tutoring provides much needed academic assistance to children in foster care.

Children placed in foster care have already some kind of trauma whether it is abuse, neglect, or separation from their family. It is estimated that in any given year, nearly 500,000 children will experience a foster placement. Approximately 35% of children in foster care will spend at least two years there with at least one-third in the system for five or more years (U.S. Children’s Bureau 2012).

Positive education experiences can lessen the stress of out-of-home placements and familial separations. Unfortunately, school districts are typically not equipped to deal with the extra needs of foster care students. It is not uncommon for foster care students to have to change schools because of their foster placement. This is yet another way their education is interrupted. It does not take long for them to lag behind their peers. As a result, child welfare agencies turn to tutoring to help get these students back on their academic tracks.

Not only does tutoring benefit foster care students academically, but it rebuilds their confidence and self-esteem. Giving them the skills to control certain aspects of their future is incredibly empowering for these students. A qualified tutor with experience working with foster care students can provide behavior management tips so students can concentrate on their academics. Tutors can help students learn valuable organizational and study skills they can use in different settings.

Introducing yet another adult role model into the student’s life is an additional benefit. As an authority figure, the tutor can have a significant impact on the student. Tutors encourage students to do their very best. Even short periods of one-on-one attention can inspire students to achieve. They want to make their tutors proud. For students who change foster placements, their tutor is often the most consistent presence in their life.

An overarching benefit of academic tutoring is that it has the potential for improving life chances of foster care children. By closing their education gap, tutoring provides the stabilizing force these children need to become successful adults. They have a fighting chance to pursue higher education, get a good job, and raise a family. The alternative is a life rife with hardships including homelessness, extensive unemployment, addiction, and arrests. And this alternative is simply unacceptable.

Foster Care Students Need Improved Educational Opportunities

With quality tutoring, students in foster care have a better chance of succeeding in school.

With more than 500,000 children living in foster care in this country, the need to focus on educational opportunities has never been greater. In addition to increased risks for incarceration, pregnancy, and homelessness, students aging out of the foster care system have a lower chance of gainful employment because of their poor education. Basic reading and math education is required for most entry-level jobs. Unfortunately, as a result of the multiple disruptions to their education, foster care students often do not have the skills needed to achieve positive life outcomes.

Better educational opportunities are needed for several reasons. Foster care students who do well academically have a greater chance of graduating from high school. It is challenging for teachers to focus on the unique needs of these students in the classroom. Fortunately, there are additional ways for foster care students to get the educational skills needed to succeed in life. Intensive tutoring is one of the most effective ways to help students in foster care maintain academic skills as they progress through the foster care system and enter adulthood.

County foster care agencies can partner with organizations like Educational Tutorial Services to ensure children in their care receive additional learning assistance. Students who participate in intensive tutoring programs are better able to meet achievement goals comparable to their peers. Without this type of assistance, students in foster care tend to lag behind several grade levels. Ultimately, this will impact their ability to be productive adults.

Tutoring that provides more than homework assistance can help foster care students prepare for the transition to independent living. Students can learn to be more disciplined and conscientious about the quality of their school work as well as turning assignments in on time. Tutors often serve a quasi-mentor role to students which can prove powerful when they are in foster care. Students thrive on positive feedback and encouragement tutors provide inherently.

As schools continue to struggle with funding issues, students in foster care can still get the support they need with the right tutoring program. Programs designed specifically for these students offer the most benefits. Not only do students in foster care get the assistance they need, but society gets a better citizen in the process which is, after all, a primary goal of our country’s education system.

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.

Quality Matters When Tutoring Foster Care Students

The right tutor can help students in foster care bridge learning gaps while building confidence and providing support.

One reason there is a priority need to provide tutoring services to children and youth in foster care is because they often have serious gaps in their education. Between moving from foster home to foster home and changing schools frequently, foster care students typically are so preoccupied with their family situation and their future that it can be extremely difficult for them to concentrate. Worrying about passing a test can seem insignificant when you do not know if you will be in the same school the following day.

While tutoring services can certainly help, it is important to note that not all programs are equal. Specifically, not all tutors are the same. When searching for a tutoring service that will help your student, quality matters. Choosing the first program in the phone book or the first one you find online is a risk that could end up causing more harm than good. And, you want to consider more than just the hourly cost for services. The characteristics you want to look for in a tutoring service or private tutor include:

Always Prepared

Tutors should be able to start the session as soon as the student arrives. After a brief welcome, the tutor should be ready to get down to business. She will ask the student how school is going and review homework assignments. Whatever the learning goal is for that session, the tutor has relevant worksheets and other materials ready to share with the student.

Completely Reliable

It is not uncommon for adults to come and go in the lives of foster care children. A stable adult presence can make all of the difference to a young child or struggling teen. You want a tutor that arrives on time and always keeps her appointments. Unreliable tutors send the wrong message to students who may already need a reason to care about school.

Eternally Positive

Foster care students need to be around adults with positive outlooks on life. Only a tutor that is optimistic can provide the authentic encouragement students need to meet and exceed academic goals. Tutors that have good attitudes serve as role models for students. Students become more confident when they are around confident adults.

Exceptionally Empathetic

There are days when foster care students are more emotional than others. A visit with family members can cause children to act out or be disruptive during the tutoring session. A good tutor cares about the type of day their students are having. An empathetic tutor understands while still requiring students to focus on the lesson at hand.

Every tutoring session should be beneficial to the student. The only way to make sure that happens is if the tutor is knowledgeable, prepared, and passionate. The right tutor can definitely bridge educational gaps experienced by children and youth in the foster care system. Contact us to learn more about tutoring services for foster care students.

Tutoring Helps Prepare Foster Care Students for Adulthood

Tutoring can help prepare older youth who are getting ready to age out of the foster care system as they transition to adulthood.

With nearly 25,000 youth aging out of the foster care system, it is important they feel ready to be successful adults. Sadly, this rarely happens. The vast majority report being completely unprepared or only slightly prepared as they make the difficult transition to adulthood. They do not have the academic or social skills needed to secure gainful employment or enter into meaningful relationships. Simply put, they end up struggling just to survive.

Typical Outcomes for Students in Foster Care

The University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center for Children conducted a longitudinal study to determine outcomes for foster care youth in a tri-state area that included Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The results of this study, although not surprising, are dismal at best:

  • Less than 19% of foster care youth attend college compared to the 62% of youth of the same age who were never in the system
  • At least 90% of foster care youth under 20 earn less than $10,000 annually compared to the 79% of the general population of the same age group
  • Nearly 40% of youth who left the foster care system by the time they reached 19 did not attend school or have a job
  • Foster care youth are hospitalized more frequently than the general population as a result of emotional problems or drug use
  • Foster care youth are twice as likely to be parents before the age of 19 compared to the general population of the same age group

These are common outcomes for foster care youth in all major cities across the country. The good news is that a solid education can better prepare foster care youth to become productive adults.

Positive Impact of Tutoring

A good education is the foundation of nearly all successful endeavors. Although a formal education is important, it is only part of the picture. Tutoring can provide exceptional support to foster care youth who derive the following benefits from one-on-one tutors:

  • Basic literacy skills
  • Basic numeracy skills
  • Greater confidence
  • Interest in their future
  • Encouragement to succeed
  • A stable adult-figure
  • Informal mentoring

Children in the foster care system who have been permanently removed from their birth families have the right to be prepared for adulthood. Their sense of security has already been destroyed and personal relationships broken, it is criminal to also prevent them from having a fighting chance as a young adult. Get information on how Educational Tutorial Services helps youth in foster care bridge learning gaps so they can succeed as adults.

Helping At-Risk Students Meet Standards and Achieve Academic Goals

Private tutoring can give at-risk students the confidence they need to succeed.

Expert tutoring services rely on research-based best practices to help low performing and at-risk students succeed in school. Effective instructional strategies are required for tutors who may only meet with students a few hours each week. Low-achieving students can easily bridge learning gaps and become motivated to do well in school. It just takes the right tutor to help make classroom lessons relevant and boost student confidence.

Short-Term Impact

The fastest way to determine if a tutor or tutoring service is being effective is to review student academic achievement and test scores. The primary goal of tutoring is to improve educational outcomes so at-risk students do not fail in school or later in life. When you use a tutoring service like Educational Tutorial Services, your student will be required to complete a pre-assessment and post-assessment to accurately measure their improvement. Our tutors also provide students with additional resources they can continue to use for on-going academic growth after the tutoring ends.

Long-Term Effects

In addition to the immediate benefits students receive from tutoring, there are long-term outcomes that impact students, parents, and the community. Long-term benefits that result from tutoring at-risk students include:

  • Students become motivated to succeed
  • Students are proud of academic achievements
  • Students stay in school until graduation
  • Students who have dropped out of school earn their GED
  • Students successfully transition to adulthood
  • Students become productive and contributing members of society

These very real benefits of tutoring have been well documented in various research studies over the past two decades. Even if your child has severe learning disabilities, intensive private tutoring can provide the one-on-one attention she needs to succeed in the classroom and in the real world.

Getting Started

The academic success of at-risk students depends on the adults in her life. A good tutoring service can match your child to the tutor that will be most effective in helping her meet academic content standards and achieve academic goals. It makes sense to let the tutoring service perform this function since it requires expertise to recruit, hire, and monitor qualified tutors. You risk your child’s academic future if you try to assume this responsibility yourself.

When Out-Of-School Youth Need to Improve Reading Skills

Without strong reading skills, out-of-school youth will find it difficult to find a good job. Private tutoring can help you improve reading skills and prepare for the GED exam.

Without strong reading skills, out-of-school youth will find it difficult to find a good job. Private tutoring can help you improve reading skills and prepare for the GED exam.

Reading is one of the basic skills that all students need to master, preferably in elementary school. Unfortunately, many students are not afforded that opportunity. Students in foster care, those who are homeless and disadvantaged teens often do not meet standards for reading and comprehension. These skill deficiencies often result in teens dropping out of school, experiencing homelessness, or ending up in prison.  Job opportunities are scare and your ability to make a decent living is limited.

Out-of-school youth who want to read better can now get help. The Workforce Investment Act provides funding that allows youth to receive remedial tutoring in reading. Expert reading tutors can help youth read more proficiently and even prepare the GED exam. In addition to working one-on-one with a private tutor, out-of-school youth can take the following steps to improve reading skills:

#1 Vary Reading Materials – It is important to find material that is interesting. Materials that are similar or too difficult will frustrate or bore you. Reading should be educational and fun, so add crossword puzzles or hobby magazines to your reading list.

#2 Visit the Library – The library offers access to many books and other reading materials without burning a hole in your wallet. You can find books on any subject that interests you. Most libraries participate in inter-lending programs so if your library does not have what you want, ask them to borrow it from a partner library.

#3 Break It Down – Learning to read can be an intimidating process at any age. Break reading passages into smaller, easier chunks that are easier to handle. Read out loud so that you can hear each sound you make when sounding out words. Use a dictionary to look up words you don’t understand.

#4 Choose Relevant Hobby – Reading doesn’t only come from books. Free time activities such as origami or building a car model require reading simple instruction manuals. You not only will find reading helpful but also rewarding when you complete these activities successfully.

#5 Make Time for Reading – Reading fluently takes practice – lots of practice. Set a time for reading an hour every day, even if it is simply reading the daily newspaper. You can spend time online reading your favorite blogs or news site. Whatever avenue you choose, commit to it so your reading skills improve faster.

#6 Be Realistic – Depending on your reading level, it may take quite a bit of time for you to see noticeable improvements in your reading ability and comprehension skills. There is no overnight miracle that will have you reading like an Oxford English professor. It is likely you will mispronounce common words or struggle over funny-looking words. And, that’s okay. Every student has been there at some point!

#7 Test Your Comprehension – You are learning to read now, but eventually you will be reading to learn. Check that you understand what you read by asking yourself questions before, during and after a reading session. Comprehension of a text gives meaning to its words and drives home the importance of reading.

A private tutor can determine your reading level and develop a plan to help you improve your reading skills in a specific period of time. Contact us to begin your reading-improvement journey today!

Education Pitfalls of the Foster Care System

Tutoring can help address education gaps for students in foster care.

The U.S. foster care system is designed to protect the general welfare of our children.  And it does a pretty good job making sure kids who are removed from their parents are placed in safe homes, receive clothing, and eat regularly. Other aspects of a child’s well-being often become secondary as children are unable to safely return home and experience multiple out-of-home placements.  The interruption of a child’s education when placed in foster care comes with a high price.

In “The Fleecing of Foster Children,” the Children’s Advocacy Institute and its partners details the educational outcomes of children in our foster care system.  Children removed from their homes often become immediately disadvantaged because their education is interrupted.  It can be challenging to find a foster placement in the same school district the child currently attends.  In addition, the removal from their parents care is traumatic.  Children take time to adapt to new schools and foster environments.

The picture is even starker for children who live in more than one foster care placement.  They soon lag several grade levels behind their peers.  Public school systems are already over-burdened and simply do not have the resources to pay special attention to these children.  It is not uncommon for them to completely fall off the radar of teachers.

Less than 3% of foster children actually earn a college degree. Not even half will be employed by the time they are 24 years old.  All of these factors combined mean that adults who were in foster care as youth have disproportionately higher levels of unemployment, arrest, and suicide.  Incredibly, more than one-third of this population will be homeless at some point, often when they age out of the foster care system.

Because education is the foundation of a financially secure future, many state and private foster care agencies are placing more emphasis on the education of children in their care.  To this end, they hire case workers and school liaisons to make sure children are attending school and are being assessed to determine current achievement levels.  Private tutoring services are secured to help close the gap in their learning with the goal of bringing foster care children up to par with their peers.  This is the best way to insure foster children have a fighting chance after graduating from high school.