What do you want to be when you grow up? This timeless question can be both exciting and terrifying for children, and the idea of planning a future can be daunting. Most children grow up with multiple adults actively involved in their lives to help guide them in a direction that will lead to a positive future. Foster children often have a hard time finding this kind of support when their lives are constantly changing. Knowing what to do with their future can be a hard concept to wrap their developing minds around, especially when their future is filled with so much uncertainty and instability.
One way to begin supporting foster children and encouraging them to feel confident about their future is by creating a system that allows them to successfully complete school. One in two foster children drop out of school before they graduate, and this often takes them down a path towards homelessness and unemployment.
Washington State is actively working on finding a solution to the dropout rate of foster children. Representative, Reuven Carlyle, has created a bill to support foster children in completing their education. HB 1566 focuses on children in grades 6-12 and partners them with an adult who will provide them with the advocacy they need to overcome some of the hurdles they face when changing schools on a regular basis. Foster children would be partnered with someone they already know and trust, and this adult would receive training so that they can be alert to the signs of a child heading towards dropping out of school.
By counteracting the self-destructive behavior that can cause a child to want to give up, the adult partner would contribute to providing these children with the tools they need to become productive contributors to society. Sometimes all it takes is having one person there to help confront what seems impossible, and HB 1566 is a solution that may provide foster children with the support system they need to succeed. If you would like to learn more about this proposed bill, click here.