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Educational Neglect

December 8, 2009 permalink

Only 18 percent of Alberta foster children graduate from high school, while about 70 percent of all Albertans graduate. Foster children fall short on other measures of educational achievement as well. Foster kids acquire a permanent handicap in a world in which opportunity is linked to education. Any chance the courts will take kids from Alberta CYS for educational neglect?



Alberta foster kids falling behind peers, dropping out of school: study

By Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald December 7, 2009

CALGARY — More than 80 per cent of children under Alberta government care don’t complete high school within three years of entering Grade 10, according to the province’s child advocate.

John Mould said provincial data compiled for his latest annual report — released this fall — confirms his concerns about the high school completion rates of Alberta’s foster children.

The rate for children in care hovers around 18 per cent, while the provincial rate is about 70 per cent.

“It’s dreadful,” Mould said. “It’s not acceptable.”

Mould, who first raised the concern in his 2006-07 annual report, said the Alberta numbers are consistent with similar data in other provinces. It shows high school completion rates for youth in care have been well below the overall provincial rates for at least a decade.

The data was compiled by Alberta Children and Youth Services and Alberta Education in response to Mould’s concerns. The provincial departments looked at children in care from 1995-96 to 2006-07.

“The bottom line is that over the 10 years of data that we have, children and youth in care who complete high school within three years after entering Grade 10 is less than 20 per cent,” said Karen Sliwkanich, senior manager of cross ministry services for Alberta Education. “So, basically from Grade 3 through Grade 6 through Grade 9, it gets progressively worse.”

Alberta’s child welfare system has come under fire repeatedly this year after four youth in government care were charged in relation to homicides, a baby boy was severely injured in foster care and a high-ranking official was cited for contempt of court after he ignored a court order directing him to return a child to his foster mother.

There are currently about 12,000 children and youth in the province’s care.

Mould’s annual report, based on the data compiled by the province, shows most of those children perform worse in school than all other students in Alberta.

Foster children who wrote provincial achievement tests did considerably worse than their peers.

For example, 61 per cent of children in care met the acceptable standard in Grade 3 math compared to 80 per cent of all Alberta students. By the time they hit Grade 9, it drops to 22 per cent compared to 66 per cent of all students.

Source: Calgary Herald