New law allowing foster students to stay in original school expected to double graduation rate

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Foster families are celebrating a new federal law that will allow foster children to stay in their original school when home placements change.

Some say the move will double the graduation rate among foster children.

Kids in foster care frequently are forced to change schools as they move from one foster home to another.

Nathan Ross spent about three years in foster care before being adopted. He’s one of the lucky ones. He stayed with just one foster family. Many kids attend several different schools in a year’s time.

The federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” now allows kids like Nathan to stay in their original school, reducing disruptions and providing more stability in their lives.

“Sometimes kids are taking the same math class that they took already,” Ross said. “They have to retake it because it’s not the same for some reason. There’s a little bit of a difference. So they get frustrated and they want to quit altogether or they have a hard time with that particular class. So it’s really a good thing to have kids stay in their school district, until they are done with school.”

Studies show just one fewer switch in schools doubles the odds of a foster kid graduating from high school. Currently only 58 percent of foster children graduate by the time they reach age 19.

Under the law there are plans to transport foster children to their school of origin, and schools must immediately enroll them after any change in schools.

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