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  • Half of NYC students in foster care were chronically absent: report

    Jan 25, 2023

    01.25.2023 | Politico (Pro) | About 7,500 New York City students spend time in foster care each year, according to the nonprofit. 

    Erika Palmer, supervising attorney at AFC, praised the Department of Education for recently hiring a small team of staffers focused on supporting students in foster care, but also expressed concerns about the pupils. 

    “We’re very happy that they’re in place but I think that some of these numbers really show why they’re so important,” Palmer said in an interview. 

    Absenteeism is especially dire among older students. During the five school years studied by AFC, under a quarter of 16- to 20-year-old students in foster care attended school at least 90 percent of the time. 

    Palmer pointed to factors leading to absenteeism including students living far from school, delays in accessing transportation and conflicting medical appointments and meetings related to their foster placements. The students also struggle with behavioral issues. 

    For older students, absenteeism largely stems from their history of frequent moves to different foster homes and related school changes. 

    “If you’re missing a lot of school when you’re younger, by the time you’re in high school and it’s up to you to decide whether you go to school, students are much more likely to cut,” Palmer said. Read article (subscription required)