Office of Education


Foster Care Education

"18,927. That's how many Arizona children, through no fault of their own, have found themselves in the foster care system. We have to stand up for these kids. "

 Governor Doug Ducey, January 2016   

In Arizona, FosterEd is working in partnership with a deeply invested team of state and local partners, students, and parents to create a future in which the vast majority of foster youth graduate high school with the widest array of possibilities for their future. The campaign began with the development and launch of a demonstration site in Pima County. The success of that effort, combined with the sense of urgency that followed the publication of Arizona’s Invisible Achievement Gapa report documenting the achievement crisis facing Arizona’s students in foster care, spurred the passage of legislation that will lead to statewide implementation of the FosterEd approach through a public-private partnership.

Volunteer With FosterEd

FosterEd Volunteers fill a variety of roles that support students in their self-identified goals. Some volunteers meet with students to talk through their issues at school, or help with homework. Other times, a volunteer, a stranger with a big heart and some spare time, makes the difference in a student's future by becoming a determined member of their Educational Team as an Education Champion.

For more information on volunteering with FosterEd, email [email protected].

FosterEd Launches in Maricopa County
August 2017

FosterEd is now serving youth in Maricopa County! On August 21, 2017, FosterEd Arizona opened its Phoenix Office and welcomed seven new Education Liaisons to the team.

FosterEd’s launch in Maricopa County is the first step toward statewide expansion. It is supported, in part, by the Foster Youth Education Success Fund, established by the State Legislature in 2016 via passage of House Bill 2665. The expansion is the culmination of many months of planning and preparation by members of FosterEd’s Maricopa Leadership Team. Members include representatives from: DCS, Phoenix Union High School District, Casey Family Programs, Children’s Action Alliance, Arizona Children’s Association, Arizona Charter Schools Association, Mercy Maricopa, the Maricopa County Juvenile Court, Greater Phoenix Educational Management Council, ASU Preparatory Academy, Maricopa County Education Service Agency, and the Bridging Success Programs at ASU and Maricopa Community Colleges. (Read More...)

FosterEd Arizona Receives Child Abuse Prevention Award
April 2017

FosterEd CAP Award

Arizona was honored at this year’s March for Children in Tucson. The annual event takes place in April to commemorate Child Abuse Prevention Month and kicks-off Casa de los Niños’s Family Fiesta. The March is intended to raise the issue of child abuse and to recognize those on the front lines fighting to prevent it. 

FosterEd received an award for Child Abuse Prevention by a Business/Agency. The Child Abuse Prevention Awards (CAP) honor those who have made a difference in the continued fight against child abuse.  FosterEd Arizona Director Pete Hershberger accepted the award on behalf of the program. 

FosterEd CAP Award

FosterEd in Arizona
April 2017

Pima County

The goal of the Pima County demonstration site is to ensure that every young person we serve has an education champion, education team and education plan that is based on each young person’s strengths and needs.

We have worked to ensure that every young person we serve has an education champion, education team, and education plan that is based on each young person’s strengths and needs.

In 2012, we began discussions with Arizona’s child welfare, education, and philanthropic leaders about the possibility of establishing a county-level pilot program in the state, with the long-term goal of potentially expanding the program to a statewide level. In early 2013, we hired an Arizona Director and began planning this pilot, working closely with leadership in child welfare, education, and judicial agencies to establish the infrastructure necessary for the project, map out referral processes, and define the scope of student-level work. We hired a team of education liaisons and began accepting a small number of student referrals in late 2013, and officially launched the demonstration site in Pima County – home to more than 3,000 children in foster care – in early 2014.

As of early 2017, the pilot program has served approximately 463 youth.

Click here to find out more about FosterEd Arizona.

June 2016

Fostering Academic Success for All
By Karla Phillips and Jesse Hahnel
June 21, 2016

“We have a unique moral and legal obligation to ensure students in foster care receive the educational opportunities they need to thrive in school, and in life,” said Jesse Hahnel,National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) Executive Director. “We are committed to helping state education agencies effectively implement the foster youth provisions of ESSA.”

This year Congress replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB) with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Few would deny that the greatest virtue of NCLB was the requirement to disaggregate student achievement data by subgroup; thus, shining an overdue spotlight on the achievement gap that remains pervasive in most of our country’s schools. (Click here to continue reading...)

February 2016

FosterEd is an initiative of the National Center for Youth Law aimed at improving the educational ex-perience and outcomes of foster youth. It is guided by a framework that all foster youth should have an Educational Champion who can support the student’s long-term education success, and an Edu-cation Team of engaged adults, including the Educational Champion, caregivers, teachers, social workers and the youth, who develop and support an individualized Education Case Plan based on an assessment of the student’s educational strengths and needs. (Click here to continue reading...)

February 2016

Prioritizing Foster Education

The Governor's Office of Education partnered with the Arizona Charter Schools Association and the Arizona School Boards Association to host a webinar on efforts to prioritize educational opportunities for foster care children on February 23, 2016 from 11 am to 12 pm. The webinar included presentations from the Arizona Community Foundation and WestEd on the invisible achievement gap, an update on the Elementary and Secondary Support Act (ESSA) as it relates to foster care children, and efforts this session to assist our foster care students from FosterEd and Rep. John Allen.

Governor Ducey has made improving foster care education a priority in his administration. To view his 2016 State of the State Address, click here.

Webinar Materials:

To download the presentation from the webinar, please click here.

To view a recording of the webinar, please click here. Please note that this will take you to a registration page. You must register to view the webinar. 

February 2016

Arizona's Invisible Achievement Gap: Education Outcomes of Students in Foster Care in the State's Public Schools
By Vanessa Barrat, BethAnn Berliner. and Natalie Felida

One of the most vexing problems for Arizona, a state that is committed to providing high-quality public education for all students, has been the persistently low academic achievement of racial/ethnic minority students, English language learners, students raised in poverty, and students with disabilities. For many years, closing these achievement gaps has been a priority. Yet, until recently, reform efforts have rarely acknowledged another group of students who also persistently underperform: students in foster care.

As is the case for many other states, Arizona has had little statewide information about the education of school-aged children and youth who are in the child welfare system and for whom the state is legally responsible. This is largely due to challenges related to the availability, collection, and sharing of information about these students across the education and child welfare systems, which do not have a common unique student identifier for students who are in both systems. As a result, the education needs of these students have often gone unrecognized and unmet—leaving many of them trailing their classmates in academic achievement. It is this achievement gap that has been largely invisible to educators and child welfare professionals alike. (Click here to continue reading...)

January 2015

In January 2013, NCYL contracted with RTI International to conduct an external evaluation of the Pima County FosterEd pilot which is expected to run through December 2015. RTI has approached this study from a Developmental Evaluation framework, allowing for greater flexibility when analyzing initiatives or innovations that tend to continuously develop and evolve. Furthermore, Developmental Evaluation is distinct from more traditional evaluative approaches in that the evaluators actively participate in the partnership and are expected to support ongoing program improvement by helping program leaders put to use data emerging from the evaluation. (Click here to continue reading...)


HB 2665


Foster-Ed Arizona

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