A House committee has approved legislation to track foster children and their success in schools.
The bill would require the Indiana Department of Education and the Department of Child Services to gather data on foster care students in public schools – specifically, the graduation rates and enrollment data for those students.
Deb Brewer is the regional director of a foster care and family services group called The Villages of Indiana, and she says that data could mean more support for foster children.
“And maybe that will be the start of making sure that even from a very early age that kids are getting what they need,” Brewer says.
The proposed legislation would require the IDOE to submit an annual report on foster care student graduation and expulsion or suspension rates. It would also mandate that DCS report enrollment information for those children and notify principals of foster care students attending their schools.
Children in foster care often face a number of challenges at home and school, so Brewer says any additional information is a good thing. She says better communication between schools and state agencies could help provide more stability for foster children.
“Tracking them, means that we can provide better services to kids who are already entering with vulnerabilities. That can’t be anything but positive,” Brewer says.
The bill, if it passes through the general assembly, would require the departments to submit the first annual report later this year.