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RIC forum on May 26 examines educational stability, achievement for foster children

RIC’s School of Social Work will partner with the Child Welfare Institute and the R.I. Foster Parents Association to present a panel of experts from education, child welfare and politics, along with former foster youth, who will speak to the educational needs of children in foster care, and discuss Rhode Island’s ability to provide educational stability and achievement for foster children.

On Thursday, May 26, a Town Hall-type meeting will be held in Alger Hall from 5:30-8 p.m., as part of Fostering Media Connections, a national touring project of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Studies around the country show that students in foster care score considerably lower than their peers in all academic measures. Despite this, research has consistently shown that when educational needs of foster youth are addressed through policy and practice, the improvements in educational achievement for these students can be dramatic.

With so much national attention devoted to educational reform, and a likely overhaul of No Child Left Behind, experts say the time is right to widen the discourse to include children in foster care.

This meeting will draw attention to upcoming R.I. legislation that will lead the work to help create educational equality for children in foster care, and bring the education community into the conversation.

Moderated by Daniel Heimpel of Fostering Media Connections (FMC). Speakers include Kevin Aucoin, DCYF interim director; David Sienko, director, Office of Student, Community & Academic Supports; Anna Cano-Morales, RICAN (R.I. Center for Assisting Those in Need); Trish Molloy, DCYF social caseworker; Tonya Glantz, interim director of the Rhode Island Child Welfare Institute; and Lisa Guillette, executive director of RI Foster Parents Association.

“Child welfare advocates have recognized that a major struggle for children in out of home care is educational stability,” said Sue Pearlmutter, dean of the School of Social Work at RIC. “The only way to increase that for all of our children is to assure that the child welfare system and the state's education system talk to one another, plan and work together so that all children can achieve their potential.”

Fostering Media Connections harnesses the power of the media to urge public and political support behind policy and practice to improve the well being of children in foster care.

The R.I. Foster Parents Association provides education and other forms of support to families that provide substitute care and to the community at large, in order to further the cause of children who cannot live with their parents.

For more information, contact Tonya Glantz at (401) 456-4626; tglantz@ric.edu or Lisa Guillette at (401) 438-3900 x104; lisa.guillette@rifpa.org.