The ABA Legal Center for Foster Care and Education, the Center, and CWLA held a special member call on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, to discuss the education needs of children and families involved with child welfare during COVID-19.

In normal circumstances, foster students experience unique challenges in the education system, but now given the nature of the pandemic, are doubly disadvantaged. It has never been more important to address these challenges and provide foster students with the resources and opportunities they need to succeed in the education system. Further, there needs to be support for caregivers of foster students. Many foster parents and families are struggling to adapt to the circumstances of remote learning, especially if they are trying to meet other demands such as work or child care.

Several CWLA members expressed the importance of allocating more resources to families during this time. Specifically, there is a concern for the amount of technology available (e.g., laptops, tablets) for foster students and their access to the internet. Many families—including group homes—are being asked to share devices, which limits the amount of schooling these students receive. It is crucial that Local Education Agencies (LEAs), State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Child Welfare Agencies (CWAs) provide the necessary resources such that foster students can still succeed regardless of their physical learning environment.

The following tools developed by the Center outline some of the challenges and areas needing attention as students in foster care return to school: Click for more