Published September 2022
Youth in foster care are a vulnerable subgroup of students who face considerable barriers which can negatively impact their education. Research has shown that foster youth are more likely to struggle academically and it is important that future policies and practices ensure that they experience a positive PK-12 education. In recent years, both states and the Federal government have launched efforts to improve educational outcomes for these youth.
In collaboration with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF) and with funding under the U.S. Department of Education’s Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) grant program, DataSpark conducted an exploratory analysis examining the educational outcomes of foster youth in Rhode Island. This study was descriptive rather than causal, and should be understood as a preliminary look at the issue rather than a policy-guiding study.
This dashboard is based on data from the DCYF and RIDE stored in the Rhode Island Longitudinal Data System (RILDS) as of July 2021. Specifically, it uses DCYF records from the Adoption and Foster Care Reporting System (AFCARS) in reporting periods September 2000 through April 2020, RIDE enrollment data covering school years 2004-05 through 2019-20, RIDE infractions data covering school years 2004 through 2019-20, RIDE statewide assessment or proficiency data covering school years 2005-06 through 2018-19, and RIDE graduation data covering the 2010 cohort through 2017 cohort. Comparisons to the Rhode Island population are based on the 2019 American Community Survey's five-year estimate.
It defines foster youth as individuals who ever lived in an out-of-home placement between September 2000 and April 2020, according to the DCYF AFCARS records stored in the RILDS. Per U.S. Department of Health and Human Service regulations, out-of-home placements include pre-adoptive homes, relative and non-relative foster family homes, group homes, institutions, supervised independent living situations, children who ran away from placements, and children in trial home visits.
Counts and percentages may differ from records held by school districts because this dashboard was produced by DataSpark at the University of Rhode Island. DataSpark built and now maintains and operates the RILDS. Under strict privacy and security requirements and in partnership with state agencies, DataSpark links person-level data across sectors and over time to support Rhode Island's policy and research priorities. Please be aware that most calculations refer to youth ever involved in foster care and cover the entire, often 15-year period, of available data. See pages 10 & 11 for more details on definitions and methodology.
There are 11 pages in this dashboard. Click the arrows at the bottom of the dashboard above to scroll through the seven visualizations for this dashboard. Click on the bottom right icon to open the dashboard in full-screen. See pages 10-11 for the Data Notes.