For many graduates, including those at Crittenton, it’s a little bitter sweet as graduation ceremonies and gatherings of any kind have been cancelled as the nation continues to grapple with how and when it will be okay to celebrate amongst friends and community once again.
Furthermore, it has been challenging and frustrating, to say the least, for most students as COVID-19 disrupted the educational routines and the end of the year rituals that all students would have triumphantly participated in as a marker of success or emotional closure.
And for one moment in time every elementary, middle, high school, and college student understood and experienced firsthand the anxiety, uncertainty and possibly some level of trauma associated with having their educational goals and milestones interrupted so suddenly with no real clarity on what the future holds.
For most students we are confident that this disruption and feelings of loss will pass as educational leaders across the country help their students regain a sense of security and clarity as a new school year approaches. This is a temporary and unprecedent moment in our collective history. But for America’s foster care and system-involved youth this is a feeling that doesn’t ever really go away. The public health crisis is yet another educational interruption and barrier to the academic success rates that most of these youth experience throughout their journey in the “system”.
In California alone there are a little more than 60,000 youth involved in the state’s foster care system each year that are also enrolled in a public K-12 or alternative school setting.However, data from the California Department of Education shows that their educational attainment and success is not in parity to the outcomes of non-foster care youth.
2018-2019 State Level Educational Outcomes for Foster Youth:
- Percent of students chronically absent = 28% foster youth vs. 12% non-foster
- Suspension rates = 13% foster youth vs. 3% non-foster
- Meeting or exceeding standards (English/Language Arts) = 24% foster youth vs. 51% non-foster
- Meeting or exceeding standards (Mathematics) = 15% foster youth vs. 40% non-foster
- Four-year cohort gradation rate = 56% foster youth vs.85% non-foster
When it comes to educational attainment and success foster youth face a number of challenges that can make it difficult to be successful at school this includes an unstablefamilystructure, multiple foster home placements and school district changes, and trauma related behavioral health concerns that these youth confront throughout their childhoods. The shortcomings that foster youth facesadly spills over to howeducational success is attained if no additional support systems are present to help the most vulnerable students of dropping out of school.
As the past academic school year data shows more and not less needs to be done to help foster youth access the education and career training resources that will help them transition into a healthy adulthood.
This National Foster Care Month we find it timely and inspirational to take the time to acknowledge our very own graduatesand every other foster youth earning their high school diplomas in 2020. Not only is this a milestone moment but an educational attainment of success that many other foster youth have difficulties in obtaining.
Crittenton is humbled and honored to have witnessed and to take part in such a joyous occasion. The pandemic was yet another unprecedented barrier to success that every one of our 2020 La Sierra, La Vista and Kate Waller Barrett Academy graduates met head on with a sheer determination to succeed.
Life is tough but this year’s graduating class is tougher. We are so proud of all of you and wish you nothing but the best.
Congratulations to All Crittenton Graduates:
- Rosa – La Sierra High School/Kate Waller Barrett Academy
- Cassandra – La Sierra High School/Kate Waller Barrett Academy
- Jasmine – La Sierra High School/Kate Waller Barrett Academy
- Tiera – La Sierra High School/Kate Waller Barrett Academy
- Alyssa – La Sierra High School/Kate Waller Barrett Academy
- Muhammad – La Vista High School
- Zubair – La Vista High School
- Jewell – Locke High School/*Winner of the $500 Crittenton’s Felicia Auxiliary College Scholarship for Fall 2020
For those interested in helping current and former foster care youth navigate the challenges of life we encourage you to consider becoming a foster care parent or mentor. Crittenton is always looking for great partnerships with foster families and mentors to help our youth succeed. The success of our mission isn’t just us but rather it’s committed supporters and partners like you who are willing to step in and make a difference. Connect with us anytime for further information.
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive mental health services, shelter care, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array continuum of care programming that includes short-term residential, family preservation, wraparound family services, outpatient mental health, school-linked mental health, transitional age youth programming, and foster care services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties.