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FosterED Los Angeles (LA) Hosts Data Summit

On October 17th, 2014, FosterEd LA hosted its first signature event, the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) Data Summit. The event was attended by approximately 100 representatives of a vast network of child welfare, education, and advocacy professionals focused on improving education outcomes for students in foster care.

Under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), all California school districts have the opportunity to provide disadvantaged students, including students in foster care, with additional resources.  The target groups are English language learners, students who are eligible to receive a free or reduced-price meal, and students in foster care.

Advocates have been calling for dedicated educational resources for students in foster care for decades. These calls were strengthened by the recent “Invisible Achievement Gap” report, published by the Stuart Foundation. Some of the key findings from the report include:

  •  Foster Youth ere consistently among the lowest performing subgroups in Math and English.
  • Foster Youth had the highest dropout rates and were less likely to graduate from high school than other students
  • Foster youth were more likely than the general population to be enrolled in the lowest performing schools.

The LCFF also included a key provision requiring data sharing between the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) in an effort to identify students in foster care for school districts.  This was a landmark step that will advance the work of FosterEd. However, policies and practices must be developed to ensure the effective use of this new data.  Several of the stakeholders are already working towards improving the way this data identifying foster youth is gathered and shared in each district.

At the FosterEd:LA Data Summit, the CDE showcased the new functionality of CALPADS and facilitated a discussion of how the data may be used by school districts.  There were panel discussions, involving both state and local leaders, highlighting the best practices and potential opportunities that will be created by this new functionality.

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