BC: University of Victoria
Educational attainment is associated with almost all markers of health, well-being and social inclusion. As well, education is increasingly recognized for its role in positive connections and a sense of belonging with peers, school, adults, and community — that is, in contributing to ‘social capital development’ (Smith et al, 2105; Tilbury et al, 2014).
At the same time, it has been widely documented that children and youth living in foster care experience lower levels of academic achievement and have lower high school graduation rates than their peers in the general population (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2014a; 2014b; Courtney et al, 2014; Dworsky, Smithgall & Courtney, 2014; Ferguson & Wolkow, 2012; Leone & Weinberg, 2010; Snow, 2009; Tilbury et al, 2014). Factors giving rise to poorer educational outcomes for youth in/from care are multi-faceted and relate to personal/individual, relational, family, social determinants of health, and systemic issues.
Despite the discouraging statistics on educational achievement, BC youth in care have aspirations of both finishing high school and going on to post-secondary, making the improvement of educational outcomes for children and youth in care a critical social issue. Yet, despite the topic’s importance, a knowledge gap exists with respect to understanding the issues that affect educational outcomes for youth in/from care in BC. To address this gap, this study aimed to address two main research questions: • What helps and what hinders youth in/from care to complete high school? • What strategies are being employed in BC and elsewhere that focus on youth in care’s connection to and successful completion of high school?