June 15, 2020

Despite Pandemic- Georgia’s Foster Youth Graduation Rates Increase


Despite the pandemic, Georgia’s foster youth graduation rates increase. Sadly, the high school graduation rates among foster youth is low. Nationally, only 50% of youth in foster care graduate from high school by age 18. This is almost 20% lower than the average high school student.

What is Going on With Georgia’s Foster Youth?

Graduation for the class of 2020 is not typical this year. Atlanta area foster youth graduated from high school at record-breaking numbers. Educational goals can become a challenge for youth in foster care because of relocation moves.

In 2017, the Multi-Agency Alliance for Children (MAAC) partnered with the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) to administer the Learn, Educate, Achieve, Dream, and Succeed (LEADS) program. The goal of this program is to support grade promotion and graduation by providing educational support to high school-aged foster youth.

LEADS is Shaping Georgia’s Foster Youth

LEADS has supported more than 1,500 foster youths. Many have gone to pursue secondary education after high school. Thanks to their work.

Due to COVID, graduation took place as a parade/vehicle caravan throughout metro-Atlanta. It was a celebration for the students and the work accomplished by the MAAC program, families, and DFCS. Their combined efforts increased graduation rates to 73% almost 25% above the national average for foster youth. The individualized support is changing the lives of Georgia’s foster youth.

Asking for Programs like LEADS

It is important as a community to identify opportunities for programs that are transformative. Based on the success of the LEADS program in Georgia we may want to start looking into and investing in similar programs across the country.

Ultimately, foster youth need more support to meet these important moments. A high school diploma is a bare minimum for most entry-level jobs. We are to ensure that foster youth can succeed when they leave care.

If you are interested in helping aged-out foster youth, please donate to the Family Fellowship scholarship. The largest scholarship in the U.S. for aged-out and current foster youth. Click here to help.

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