Help us thank Deputy Mayor Brenda Donald
Please be our guest as we honor Deputy Mayor Brenda Donald for the motivation and support she has shown to the Academy and its students. Meet the students and staff of the First Star Greater Washington Academy. The Academy prepares DC area foster students for college.

Shame on U.S.

Failings by All Three Branches of Our Federal Government Leave Abused and Neglected Children Vulnerable to Further Harm

Shame on U.S., a report by the Children’s Advocacy Institute of the University of San Diego School of Law, in collaboration with First Star, discusses how the federal government is failing to properly enact, monitor, interpret, and enforce federal child welfare laws — and in so doing is allowing states to fall below minimum floors with regard to appropriately detecting and protecting children from child abuse and neglect and complying with minimum federal child welfare requirements and outcomes.
Foster Youth Academies Help Kids Build a Better Life

Listen to these foster kids talk about the opportunity the First Star Youth Academies create for them

Help us help them!

The Invisible Achievement Gap
The Invisible Achievement Gap
Education Outcomes of Students in Foster Care in California’s Public Schools

This study was conducted under the auspices of the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd, which is dedicated to improving teacher-development policy and practice. For more than a decade, the Center has been steadfast in the pursuit of its mission to ensure that every student in California’s elementary and secondary schools has a well‑prepared, effective, and caring teacher.

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State Secrecy and Child Deaths in the U.S. - Second Edition

This is the second edition of the State Secrecy Report Card. The first was released in 2008 and became a key factor in prompting changes in public disclosure laws. The 2012 study provides an update on whether states have since strengthened their laws. Eleven states improved their disclosure laws by making them mandatory, more enforceable, more broadly applicable and/or more specific with regard to the types of information to which the public is entitled. Three states passed new laws or adopted new regulations further restricting public access to information resulting in lower grades than they received in 2008. The states reporting the most improvement were Utah and Pennsylvania, which went from grade of F to A and A+ respectively.

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Shine a light on child abuse and neglect

First Star believes if society fails to prevent child maltreatment, our nation must provide abused and neglected children with quality and compassionate care.

First Star believes abused and neglected children have the right to safe, permanent, and nurturing homes, quality education, representation by qualified legal counsel, notice and opportunity to participate in their cases, and protection by open and accountable courts.

First Star believes child welfare professionals who protect, treat, and represent abused and neglected children should be well-trained and fairly compensated.

First Star believes child abuse and neglect is not a partisan issue.

Amazon Smile

Donate some of Amazon's profits to First Star. How? Its easy. Click the button below, login to your Amazon account. When you get to a place that says "Or pick your own charitable organization," search for "First Star", select it as your charity. That's it. Then everytime you buy something through Amazon - even downloading Kindle books - part of your purchase price automatically comes to First Star!
A Child's Right to Counsel - Third Edition

The right to an attorney is one of america’s most basic constitutional privileges. Yet, this study by first star and the children’s advocacy institute of the university of san diego school of law, revealed that only half of u.S. States currently provide traditional legal representation for children involved in dependency court and foster care proceedings.

These proceedings have a profound and irreversable affect on a child’s future. They determine whether the child will remain in his or her home, the nature and duration of any placement outside the home, the child’s contact with parents and other relatives, and the child’s access to social services. Yet, the level and quality of legal representation varies not only from state to state, but from case to case, and all too often, from hearing to hearing.

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First Star UCLA Bruin Guardian Academy

• 24 Students Graduate from Inaugural Foster Youth Academy: The First Star UCLA Bruin Guardian Scholars Summer Academy

• The results are "even more positive than I could have hoped for," said Janina Montero, UCLA's vice chancellor of student affairs. "They are buying into the concept of college."

• First Star is determined to shatter the shameful statistics surrounding foster children, huge numbers of whom end up homeless and incarcerated in the years after their 18th birthdays, when they “age out” of the system. Only a fraction of them—6% - continue their educations beyond high school.

• First Star's ultimate goal is to create residential boarding schools for foster youth on university campuses to prepare them for college.

States Confiscate Benefits of Foster Children

• States across the country regularly confiscate the assets of foster children, including Social Security survivor and disability benefits to defray the cost of their care. In essence these children are paying for their own care.

• This practice all but ensures the failure of foster youth who "age-out" of foster care at age 18.

• Foster children are becoming victims of identity theft at an alarming rate, as their social security numbers pass through the hands of numerous agencies and individuals throughout their tenure in the system.

• Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) said, "This report makes it clear that child welfare agencies regularly act contrary to the best interest of the children they are charged with protecting."


About First Star

First Star was founded in 1999 as a national 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to improving life for child victims of abuse and neglect.

Here's what we do:

First Star Academies

Foster kids more likely to go prison than college


Evaluating States on Foster Care Responsibilities

Seeking Transparency in State Protection


Research and Resources About Foster Care

Learn about the foster care system



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How To Help


First Star Greater Washington Academy helping students learn


With the support of the DC Child and Family Services Agency, the Fairfax County Department of Family Services, Freddie Mac, Cap One and many others.