Sunday, May 4th, 2014
Honoring Heroes in the Fight to Protect Children
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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Listen to these foster kids talk about the opportunity the First Star Youth Academies create for them
Help us help them!
First Star established the First Star Greater Washington Academy (the "First Star Academy") to operate, staff and manage an academy program serving foster youth in the Greater Washington D.C. area. First Star Academy’s first summer program was held in 2013 on the campus of the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
The program is an introductory college immersion program offering superior individualized attention and services through a caring adult network, foster “alumni,” and extensive young adult mentorships for rising 9th and 10th grade areas from DC and Northern Virginia. The program engages students in a variety of fun and active learning opportunities that include academic courses to prepare for college, independent studies, social and cultural activities, field trips, service learning and recreational activities.
Watch the videos to see what they've been up to!
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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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.
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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• 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 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."