The Indiana Senate unanimously approved a foster care bill Tuesday that aims to improve education outcomes for thousands of Indiana foster youth. The 50-0 vote in favor of the bill sends the measure back to the Indiana House. Lawmakers there can vote to approve Senate changes or send the bill to a conference committee to hammer out differences between the two chambers’ versions of the bill.
House Bill 1314 is authored by Representative Dale DeVon (R-Granger). It would require the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) to share data on the educational progress of children in Indiana’s foster care system. The bill also requires the State Board of Education (SBOE) to issue an annual report on the education outcomes of Indiana foster youth and the IDOE to develop a plan to improve foster youth education outcomes.
Foster Care Community Reaction
The legislation is praised by the foster youth advocacy organization Indiana Connected By 25.
“This bill and the data it provides will be the genesis of numerous state and local policies and programs to improve the life outcomes of our most vulnerable children, foster youth,” said Indiana Connected By 25 CEO Brent Kent. “It represents a model for state agency data sharing and collaboration.”
Nationally, less than half of foster youth graduate high school by age 18, fewer than three percent complete college, and 50 percent are unemployed at age 24. (Source: Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative).
Indiana Connected By 25, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organizations that provides financial, educational and social support to assist foster care youth at a most critical time – when they are about to or have already transitioned out of the foster care system, most often with no family or economic support. Every year in Indiana, about 500 youth age out of the foster care system and into our communities. Statistically they fare dramatically worse than 18-year-olds with parental support. More information about Indiana Connected By 25 can be found at www.fostersuccess.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ConnectedBy25 and Twitter @ConnectedBy25.