Child Welfare System

Children in the Child Welfare System are At Risk of Academic Failure

Our goal is simple: Remove the barriers to academic success faced by children in the child welfare system. Our response is clear: Support the child through crisis, work to prevent additional crisis from occurring and improve the emotional stability and academic abilities of our students.

Foster children lag behind their non-foster peers in school. Research over the past three decades has shown that, compared to the general school population, the half-million foster children in the United States have poorer attendance rates, are less likely to perform at grade level, are more likely to have behavior and discipline problems, are more likely to be assigned to special education classes, and are less likely to attend college.

The achievement gap between children in the child welfare system and their peers in the general community has dire long-term consequences lasting into adulthood. Youth who have been in foster care are more likely to drop out of high school. Lack of educational attainment makes it less likely that this group will be employed and even when they are employed the majority have incomes well below their peers who were not in foster care. Lack of education is also related to the over representation of former foster youth in the prison population. These negative long-term consequences make it crucial that we address the gap and the causes of the gap when children are young.

Haven Academy is responding to these barriers in a holistic way through the integration of family support services provided by our partner, the New York Foundling, and with a rigorous, college preparatory academic program. We have dedicated as much time to the development of our School Culture and Social Curriculum as we have to our educational program, including increased staff training on the needs of children in the child welfare system, increased presence of social work staff and counseling, creating a safe and supportive school environment and developing a positive student behavior management approach based on logical consequences that helps students take responsibility for their own behaviors both in and out of school.