Department of Children and Families
David E. Wilkins
April 25, 2012
Who: More than 100 leaders from across the state of Florida, including representatives from the Florida Department of Children and Families, Casey Family Programs, community based care organizations, educators, child advocates as well as former foster youth.
What: The Educational Summit will roll-out a brand new report card structure, or educational safety net, already implemented within select counties of Florida's Panhandle through Big Bend Community Based Care. The new report card, believed to be the first in the nation, will capture a child's monthly educational progress as well as identify scholastic needs for a child who is in foster care. The structure supports past research which confirms children progress better in the classroom when they have stability in a school, participate in extra-circular activities, tutoring if needed, mentoring programs, and have an active parent or caregiver who helps them achieve their academic goals. The new monthly report card will provide case managers, caregivers, educators and leaders with a monthly snapshot of a foster child's individual educational needs as well as their progress or delay to ensure they excel in the classroom. The report cards also provide vital information to organizations monitoring trends and establishing programs to best support the scholastic needs of these children and better prepare them for success as well as reunification with their parent.
This new educational safety net is a continuum of care within each community, focused on advocating and promoting positive academic outcomes for youth immediately upon entering foster care. The safety net is built on an expectation of equal but distinct responsibilities for child protection professionals and caregivers. The safety net continuum relies on formal systems as well as natural community resources that can be garnered through such initiatives as the Department's Partners for Promise.
When: April 26, 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. and April 27 , 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Where: Orlando Marriott, 1501 International Parkway, Lake Mary, FL 32746
Why: "My case manager asked me about school. No one else ever cared enough to ask. I began to think school might matter to her, and maybe it should matter to me," says former foster youth.Past studies prove that children in foster care are at greater risk of homelessness and less likely to obtain a high school or GED than their peers. By introducing this new report card for case manages and organizational leaders, the system of care can better understand and meet the educational needs of this special population of youth. Community Based Care organizations throughout the state of Florida, who oversee foster and adoption related services, have significantly and safely reduced the number of children in foster care settings. The new report card structure would also encourage the participation of the child's parent, so that if and when reunification occurs, there is less disruption within a child's life, particularly in their education.