Skip to Content

  • Policy Report
  • Empowering Parents So Children Succeed: A Toolkit to Support Parent Involvement in Education when their Children are in Foster Care

    This report, released jointly by AFC and SCO Family of Services, provides recommendations for child welfare agencies as well as an easy-to-use toolkit to support parent involvement in education when their children are in foster care.

    Sep 29, 2017

    A woman smiles at the camera while hugging a young boy.

    On September 29, 2017, Advocates for Children of New York and SCO Family of Services, a social services provider, announced the launch of a Parent Toolkit, an easy to use guide that provides recommendations and resources to enhance parent involvement in their child’s education while in foster care. The Toolkit helps parents navigate the education system while embracing the important role they play in their children’s academic success and achievements.

    “Parent engagement can have a dramatic impact on a child’s education, and the recommendations contained in the report demonstrate that more can be done to fully engage parents in their children’s education while in foster care,” remarked Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children. “These recommendations provide a road map for involving parents who have often felt excluded and focus on shared education planning and decision-making, with parents serving as both advocates for their children and partners with schools and foster care agencies.”

    The Toolkit accompanies a jointly produced report, Empowering Parents So Children Succeed, and is the product of a three-year partnership between Advocates for Children and SCO Family of Services.

    The agencies also interviewed parents and child welfare experts, observed family visits and planning meetings, and participated in Individualized Education Program meetings for children with special needs to help develop the report’s recommendations for foster care agencies. Key recommendations include:

    1. Actively engage birth parents in their children’s education throughout their time in foster care, from intake to final discharge.
    2. Incorporate deliberate conversations with birth parents about education into regular case practice.
    3. Inform birth parents of their right to be involved in their child’s education.
    4. Support birth parents’ involvement in their child’s education by consistently sharing school records with parents and facilitating contact with schools.
    5. Continue to use the special education process as a strategy to engage birth parents.
    6. Deliberately plan for school prior to trial discharge and support parents throughout the process.

    Related Policy Resources