Rescuing Forgotten Futures: A National Conversation on the education of students in foster care. Print
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 24 October 2011 15:17

Contact: Ryann Blackshere // // 626.664.5883

-- When Americans contemplate the current debate over education reform, the majority is not likely to consider the lessons to be learned from foster care.

Research consistently suggests that childhood trauma, placement instability and myriad other factors leave many students in foster care far behind their peers in almost all academic measures. Despite this reality, stakeholders from across the country in both child welfare and education are proving that tight collaboration between education and child welfare systems can yield dramatic results for students in foster care. This signals an opportunity to apply these lessons to wider populations of vulnerable students struggling through similar educational impediments.

On October 18th, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will begin the long awaited overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  Despite a first ever amendment to K-12 education policy that focuses squarely on the educational achievement of children in foster care, it is doubtful that much attention will be given to students in foster care, leaving the field open to intrepid reporters who will have an opportunity to frame broader themes in education reform through the intersection of foster care and education.

In an effort to give journalists a novel education story with a timely, national news hook, and strong local news leads, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) and Fostering Media Connections (FMC) have organized an unprecedented “National Conversation” to highlight and bolster a dramatic, nationwide movement to level the educational playing field for students experiencing foster care.


On OCTOBER 19th, as Congress begins to publicly grapple with education reform, teachers and students in California, researchers in Illinois and policymakers in Washington, DC will share stories of challenges and strategies in improving educational outcomes for students in foster care. All the proceedings will be transmitted live, over the Internet. Further, CCAI and FMC will release an “Action Guide” that includes research, legislative history, on-the-ground journalistic accounts and a broad range of recommendations.

We ask for your coverage, and will happily provide you an embargoed copy of the “Action Guide” prior to its release so you can time your story to appear the day of the “National Conversation.”


Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, 3:00 – 4:30 PM EST


Live Webcast: 

Register Here:

In person: Cosumnes River College, “The Garden Room” College Center - Room 133, 8401 Center Parkway, Sacramento, CA


Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA): Co-Chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA): Co-Chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth

George Sheldon: Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA): Co-Chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption

Cheryl Smithgall: Researcher Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

Mike Jones: Teacher and Co-Founder of Courageous Connection, Sacramento, CA

Carey Sommer:  High School graduate through Courageous Connection

Jetaine Hart: Former CCAI Foster Youth Intern and current Educational Mentor for Foster Youth at Alameda County Office of Education, Foster Youth Services

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