Indiana foster youth education report prompts group to ask for change

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indiana lawmaker is calling for change to the state’s foster care system.

State Sen. Andy Zay, a Republican from Huntington, joined several former foster children at the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday morning to present findings from the state’s first annual report on foster youth education outcomes.

The report’s findings included the following:

  • Only 64.6% of foster students graduate high school, compared with 88.1% of their peers

  • Nearly 21% of foster youth receive a graduation waiver, compared to 8.3% of their peers

  • About 21% of foster youth are suspended each year, compared to 8.9% of their peers

  • Only 9.1% & 28.7% of foster students in 10th grade pass the Math and English ISTEP tests, respectively

The gathering at the Statehouse came a day before a meeting of the State Board of Education.

“In grade school, I moved multiple times to different schools. My education was inconsistent because there were times I was relearning material. There were times I was never able to learn material that I was required to know on state exams, such as the ISTEP,” said Joshua Christian, a former foster child and member of the Indiana Youth Advisory Board. 

Zay is seeking a statewide plan to help both foster youth and the nonprofits that serve the foster community.

Read the state’s report here.