New law aims to improve education for foster children

President Obama on Monday night signed into law a measure aimed at improving the education of foster children, an issue also on the radar of state officials and advocates.

The new federal law removes the barrier that a state child welfare agency get a court order for social workers to get access to a foster child’s education records. This legal hurdle, advocates say, contributes to long delays in an abused or neglected child getting the appropriate education placements and services.

A recent survey by Casey Family Services of foster children found that one-third of foster children had to repeat at least one grade and most had multiple school placements.

State legislators are considering several other changes to state law that are aimed at improving the educational outcomes for the thousands of vulnerable foster children in state custody.