May 2019 Foster Care Special Edition






MAY 2019






Special Edition


Photo, Getty Images

May is National Foster Care Month, and

we at JCPS wanted to take the time to

honor this special group of students.


By Lindsay Bale—JCPS Foster Care Liaison

Did you know that nationally, there are over

400,000 children in foster care? In the state of

Kentucky, we have 9739 foster youth and in

Jefferson County alone we have 1,177 children in

foster care according to the Jefferson Foster Care

Fact Sheet (April, 2019). That’s enough children

to fill an entire high school!

Students in foster care face numerous challenges

that can affect their educational attainment and

experiences. In the 2017-2018 school year, data

was collected and students in foster care were

listed as a group on the school report card for the

first time. According to data published by the

Kentucky Department of Education, only 29.7%


Continue on next page


of JCPS elementary students in foster care scored proficient in reading, 32.4% of middle school

students, and 22.2% of high school students in foster care. Math scores paint an even more

concerning picture, with only 5.7% of high school students in foster care scoring proficient/


National data paints a similar picture of the achievement gaps that we are working diligently to

close. Some of the data indicates that students in foster care have increased rates of

suspensions, absences, and special education services. In addition, students in foster care

experience school instability at much higher rates than their peers. In the following pages, you

will get a clearer picture of the national data and the local data we have begun to collect, and

obtain a greater understanding of the urgent need to provide additional supports and services

for this vulnerable group of students.

We have been working very hard over the past year to bring awareness to the needs of our

students in foster care and to provide equitable access to opportunities that will help them

achieve. We are proud of the work we have done, and continue to focus on opportunities for


In this edition of Envision Equity, you will learn some

facts about foster care and education, strategies that are

effective in working with foster youth, programs and

services that have been offered to students in foster care

in JCPS, how to care for yourself as you engage in this

difficult but rewarding work, and resources that are

available to help foster youth garner success.

We know the number one way to change the trajectory

for a child who has experienced trauma is a positive adult

relationship. Please consider becoming a mentor, foster

parent, advocate, trauma-informed educator, CASA

volunteer, life coach, or serving in any role that will help

our foster youth reach their full potential and become all

they are destined to be!

Lindsay Bale, MSSW, CSW

JCPS Foster Care Liaison

You can reach me at 485-6358 or by email at


Foster Youth Achievement Program Successes

• Over 200 students in foster care have received transportation services from

JCPS to maintain school stability in the 2018-2019 school year (75 students in


• Students in foster care are now identified in the Infinite Campus database

which is updated monthly. This allows schools to ensure they have appropriate

contact information for students and also allows schools to target students for

services and activities that will be beneficial for them.

• The JCPS Foster Care Handbook was written and published (https://

• Collaborative conference “Promoting Educational Resilience for Students in

Foster Care” held in conjunction with Kentucky Youth Advocates. Over 85

attendees including foster parents, community partners, and educators came

together to learn about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations for

students in foster care, self-care, and trauma-informed practices.

• Professional Development sessions have been provided to include information

on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Understanding Indicators of Child

Abuse and Neglect, and Adverse Childhood Experiences and Foster Care.

• Over 75 social workers, 80 foster parents, and 500 educators have received

training on the protections of students in foster care under ESSA.

• Policies were passed by the Jefferson County Board of Education and added to

JCPS Policy Manual to include policies and procedures for students in foster


• Registrar handbook and Pupil Personnel handbook were updated to include

procedures for students in foster care.

Foster Care webpage was developed and added to the JCPS website.

• Four foster parents have been added to the Title 1 Parent Advisory Council .

• Students in foster care are represented on the Superintendent’s Student

Advisory Council.

• Spring Break Camp at the Louisville Zoo allowed for 18 students in foster care

to have a fun, educational Spring Break experience.

• Step Up for Students collected hygiene items for students in foster care for

foster care awareness month in May 2018 and will collect again in May 2019.


Continue on next page

• A Special Edition of Envision Equity was created for Foster Care Awareness month

in May 2018, and again in May 2019.

• Back to School Bash held in partnership with Aetna Better Health and True Up.

Over 85 students who attend State Agency Schools received school supplies.

• JCPS was able to provide over 1200.00 in gift cards for students in foster care at

a collaborative holiday celebration.

• The FAFSA Challenge with school counselors allowed 17 seniors in foster care to

complete their FAFSA within the first 30 days of eligibility.

• 27 students in foster care attended the Equity in Higher Education Conference at

the University of Louisville and 3 received scholarships toward higher education.

• Students in foster care have received new uniforms and shoes, and gently used

clothing, coats, etc. from the 15th District PTA Clothing Assistance Program.

• Graduation celebration held in collaboration with DCBS and Private Child Care

agencies to celebrate the 28 seniors in foster care who graduated in 2018 and a

celebration will be held again in 2019.

• As part of the FACES of JCPS video collection, a video for foster parents was

recorded to inform them of the services available to students in foster care.

• VOICES of Students in Foster Care audio recording was developed for training

purposes. This video incorporated interviews of 6 JCPS students in foster care

and the importance of educational stability.

• Students in foster care have been provided with access to out-of-school time

activities, including literacy and programs, tutoring at the JCPS satellite office,

Girls on the Rise, and more.

• College and Career Fair will be held May 21, 2019 in collaboration Boys and Girls

Haven, Youth Build Louisville/Summer Works, and other child welfare and

advocacy agencies to allow students in foster care to explore a variety of

colleges and careers.

• 1 mile walk to be held May 18, 2019 at Shawnee Park to bring awareness to the

needs of various groups of students, including students in foster care.


Professional Development Offerings Provide JCPS

Staff with Tools to Support Foster Youth

By Lindsay Bale—JCPS Foster Care Liaison

Over the past year, we have

made an intentional effort to

offer professional

development sessions that

will provide teachers with the

skills necessary to work with

our students in foster care

and students who have

experienced trauma. Not only

have we trained educators on

the importance of school

stability and The Every

Student Succeeds Act, but we

have also offered a variety of

sessions to help teachers create a culture and climate that is safe and welcoming for our students.

By partnering with the U of L Center for Promoting Recovery and Resilience, staff have received

invaluable information on Adverse Childhood Experiences and Foster Care and Best Practices for

Establishing a Trauma Informed Classroom. These sessions were designed by the CPRR specifically

for JCPS educators. The trainings were engaging, interactive, and participants left with information

that will allow them to be better prepared to work with students experiencing trauma. Staff who

attended the initial session, ACES and Foster Care, learned about the basics of trauma and how to

identify students who have experienced trauma. They were also challenged to dive deeper into

behavioral issues to determine “what has happened” to a student as opposed to “what is wrong”

with a student. Following this session, participants reported that they would like more specific

information about what they can do to help our students who have experienced trauma. This led

to the development of the Best Practices PD offering. In this session, participants learned the 6

core elements of trauma informed practices: safety, trustworthiness and transparency, peer

support, collaboration and mutuality, empowerment, voice, and choice, and cultural, historical,

and gender Issues. Educators were able to see examples of classrooms, schools, and individuals

who are doing an exceptional job at creating a trauma informed climate. In addition, educators


were able to reflect on current practices at their schools on both an individual level and school

level, and discuss strengths and areas of growth in each of the 6 core elements.

In addition to these offerings Dr. Melissa Currie, Medical Director and Division Chief at Kosair

Charities Division of Pediatric Medicine, shared her expertise with participants to help identify

signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect, and also appropriate reporting of concerns. She

provided a session specifically for ESL bilingual educators and a session was also offered

districtwide. Dr. Currie provided real examples of patients she has seen in the emergency

department. She also provided valuable information on differentiating between neglect and

poverty. She also explained that child maltreatment happens across all ethnic, social, and

economic groups and there is not one group that is exempt from child maltreatment. Dr. Currie

also discussed the importance of recognizing our own biases when deciding whether to report

abuse or neglect.

All sessions received very positive feedback and many participants left these sessions wanting to

know more! Outcomes for students depend not only on students making progress, but also by the

district providing equitable access to opportunities, and helping educators develop the tools that

will help all students be successful. We are committed to improving the whole system of support

for our students, and offering enriching professional development sessions is just one way to make

that happen!


JCPS Foster Care Data

Total Number of JCPS Students in Foster

Care as of April 2019 = 945

Number of Foster Youth in

Grade Level


0 237 474 711 948

JCPS Foster Youth by Ethnicity

Early Childhood Elementary Middle High

School Stability


Hispanic African American Caucasian 2+ races

1 enrollment 2 enrollments 3 enrollments

4+ enrollments

School Setting

Foster Youth in Non-Traditional School Settings

Foster youth in Traditional School Settings (A-1 schools)



Students in Foster

Care 2017-2018

Data taken from Kentucky Department of Education website

Data is limited due to only reporting on schools with over 10 students in foster care for the

purpose of confidentiality

Scores for students in State Agency Programs are reported as state data and not Jefferson

County data





Legislation to Support

Students in Foster Care

By Lindsay Bale, JCPS Foster Care Liaison

As legislators continue to recognize

the unique needs of children in foster

care, State and Federal agencies

have passed several pieces of

legislation to support the educational

achievement and experiences of youth in

foster care. Some of these federal laws

include the Fostering Connections Act,

Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA), and the

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In the

state of Kentucky, House Bill 33 (KRS

620.146) and House Bill 527 are bills that

were passed to support the educational

needs of students in foster care. In addition,

laws were passed in the most recent

legislative session that provides supports for

families and caregivers, and provides foster

youth with a Bill of Rights. Below is an

overview of each law:

Fostering Connections: This federal law was

passed in 2008. This law requires child

welfare agencies to ensure that a student in

foster care remains in the same school they

were enrolled in at the time of placement

into foster care.

Uninterrupted Scholars Act: This law was

passed in 2013 and amended FERPA to allow

child welfare workers access to educational

records of youth in their care without

parental consent.

Every Student Succeeds Act: This law was

passed in 2015 and requires the

collaboration of child welfare agencies and

educational agencies to ensure educational

stability for youth. This law allows students

in foster care to remain in their school of

origin when it is in their best interest, with

transportation provided. In addition, it

allows for students to be immediately

enrolled in a new school, even when records

that are normally required to enroll in school

are not available. Lastly, it requires that

educational agencies report annually on

student achievement and graduation rates

for foster youth.

House Bill 33 (KRS 620.146): This law was

passed in 2017 and requires CHFS social

workers to notify school personnel of people

who are authorized to contact the student at


Continue on next page


school or remove the student from school grounds. This is required when an order for

emergency, temporary, or permanent custody has been received by CHFS.

House Bill 527 (KRS 199.802): This bill was passed and signed by the governor in 2018.

This bill codifies ESSA into Kentucky state law. This bill requires that CHFS place foster

youth in their same school district when practicable. It also requires social workers to

make a determination as to whether it is in a child’s best interest to remain in his/her

school of origin. It maintains that the cost of transportation cannot be a factor in

determining the best interest for a child’s school placement, and that reasonable

transportation must be offered for a child to remain in the school of origin. If it is

determined to be in a student’s best interest to change schools, school districts must

establish procedures for immediately enrolling a student in the new school.

House Bill 1: This bill was passed in the 2018 legislative session and seeks to keep kids

safe and improve how Kentucky responds to and supports families. It addresses policy

change within the courts, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Service (CHFS), and

within the organizations and agencies serving kids who come to the attention of child

protective services to ensure all the parts of the child welfare system and related policies

work together and produce better outcomes for all involved.

House Bill 158: This bill was passed in the most recent legislative session. It aligns state

law with the Family First Prevention Services Act and establishes a Foster Youth Bill of


House Bill 2: Passed in the 2019 legislative session, this bill establishes the development

of supportive services for kinship and fictive kin caregivers, including, but not limited to,

monetary and respite supports. It would also establish a reporting mechanism to track

and analyze data on relative and fictive kin caregiver placements.




2015 Every


Succeeds Act

2018 KY

House Bill


2019 KY

House Bill




d Scholars


2017 KY

House Bill 33



2018 KY

House Bill 1

2019 KY

House Bill 2



Foster youth Bill of Rights

By Joshua Degnan, President —Voices of the Commonwealth

A child who is placed

in foster care shall be

considered a primary

partner and a member of

a professional team. A

foster child, as the most

integral part of the

professional team, shall

have the following rights”

Foster Youth Bill of Rights;

KY House Bill 158. This statement is profoundly important to any youth who finds

themselves in foster care because it shows hope and that times are changing. On March 19 th

of 2019 Governor Bevin signed House Bill 158 into law. This Bill covered a substantial

number of topics that affect youth who enter into the state’s system such as background

checks for caretakers, parental rights, and a bill of rights for foster youth. It is the latter of

these topics that myself as well as a number of other youth from across the state rallied

behind and advocated for because we knew the momentum that it would carry.

I have had the privilege of traveling across the county and talking to young people who have

gone through foster care. Their stories of trial and triumph are as diverse as they are but one

common theme tends to arise; feeling powerless and having no control over their lives while

under the care of the state. I myself experienced this as I went through my years in care and


Continue on next page


this feeling came from a general lack of knowledge about my own life and the plans made

for me. Young people are frequently having decisions made about them on matters that will

have an impact on the direction of their life without their knowledge. One such decision is

their residency. Youth in care are moved from place to place sometimes at a very high rate

and with very little notice. I have talked to youth who have been moved fifteen times or

more. This constant displacement directly impacts being able to develop friendships,

growing in their community, and the ability to develop in a healthy manor.

I myself experienced this when I was twenty. I was preparing to leave the state’s care at the

age of twenty-one and had begun to create success for myself. I had done well in college, I

had begun my career, and was well on the way to creating a life for myself. Then over six

months prior to when I expected to move out onto my own that process was sped up

drastically! When my state worker came to meet with me I was told that I had done too well

for myself and because of that it was going to be requested that I be removed from the care

of the state. That is exactly what resulted, after meeting with the judge I was told I had two

weeks left before I was to be removed from care. This meant very little time to secure a new

residence and move every earthly belonging I had. My hope is that by involving youth in

these decisions and recognizing them as the most integral part of the team making these

choices that no one will have to experience such a drastic change under such a short notice.

The Foster Youth Bill of Rights continues to support the health and wellbeing of youth in care

in several ways. It specifically points out basic human needs such as adequate food,

clothing, and shelter, rights that all people should have. It then progresses to deeper matters

such as being free from abuse, being free to develop, and to having a stable family. These

three topics will aid the mental health of youth in care. So many have already experienced

trauma and a lack of stability for such an extended period that they can not find peace. My

hope is that this bill of rights will be able to provide young people with some type of

consistency so they can have the opportunity to find themselves and grow to be healthy


Continue on next page


members of society. I believe the persons who formed this bill of rights had the same vision

as myself because it continues to support that theme.

Normal growth is addressed frequently throughout this bill of rights in a number of ways

such as a stable educational setting, being allowed to participate in extra-curricular

activities, the right to see and speak with family and friends. Young people who grow up out

of care are normally permitted to these rights and foster youth have longed for them for a

long time. I have been told time and time again by individuals in care that they are so heavily

restricted on who they can talk to and see that they are not able to maintain friendships and

are often incredibly isolated. I hope to see this change as these rights become law.

The one underlying theme that I saw as I read through the bill of rights was hope. Often

enough youth in care do not have any hope and feel lost. I hope that seeing our law makers

recognize the need for these rights in legislation will show that they care about these young

peoples’ futures. Until the day this bill goes into effect youth in foster care legally have no

rights. Policies are in place suggesting these rights exist but those hold no legal standing.

Every member of the Senate and House who voted on this bill was in its favor showing me

that Kentucky cares about its youth!



Foster Youth Bill of Rights

A child who is placed in foster care shall be considered a primary partner and member of

a professional team. A foster child, as the most integral part of the professional team,

shall have the following rights to:

(1) Adequate food, clothing, and shelter;

(2) Freedom from physical, sexual, or emotional injury or exploitation;

(3) Develop physically, mentally, and emotionally to his or her potential;

(4) A safe, secure, and stable family;

(5) Individual educational needs being met;

(6) Remain in the same educational setting prior to removal, whenever possible;

(7) Placement in the least restrictive setting in close proximity to his or her home that

meets his or her needs and serves his or her best interests to the extent that such

placement is available;

(8) Information about the circumstances requiring his or her initial and continued


(9) Receive notice of, attend, and be consulted in the development of case plans during

periodic reviews;

(10) Receive notice of and participate in court hearings;

(11) Receive notice of and explanation for changes in placement or visitation agreements;

(12) Visit the family in the family home, receive visits from family and friends, and have

telephone conversations with family members, when not contraindicated by the case

plan or court order;

(13) Participate in extracurricular, social, cultural, and enrichment activities, including but

not limited to sports, field trips, and overnights;

(14) Express opinions on issues concerning his or her care or treatment;

(15) Three (3) additional rights if he or she is age fourteen (14) years or older. These

additional three (3) rights are the right to:


Continue on next page


(a) Designate two (2) additional individuals to participate in case planning conferences

or periodic reviews, who are not the foster parent or his or her worker, and who may

advocate on his or her behalf. The cabinet, child23 caring-facility, or child-placing agency

may reject an individual with reasonable belief that the individual will not act

appropriately on the child’s behalf;

(b) Receive a written description of the programs and services that will help prepare him

or her for the transition from foster care to successful adulthood; and

(c) Receive a consumer report yearly until discharged from care and to receive assistance

in interpreting and resolving any inaccuracies in the report, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. sec.

675(5)(I); and

5 (16) Receive, free of charge when he or she is eighteen (18) years or older and preparing

to exit foster care by reason of attaining the age of eighteen (18) years old, the following:

(a) An official birth certificate;

(b) A Social Security card;

(c) Health insurance information;

(d) A copy of the child’s medical records; and

(e) A state-issued identification



My Public School Experience

as a Student in Foster Care

By Tamara Vest

The adolescent stage is

one of the most critical

stages for young people to

explore their social

environment and develop their

identities. This is one of the

things I learned in my high

school sociology class. For me, I

had a lot of boundaries that

were outside of my control during this time. In the middle of my adolescence at the age of

sixteen, I was placed in foster care. It was a really hard transition for me. A few months prior, I had

spent my time in a children’s homeless shelter. A few of my teachers knew what was happening.

They were very supportive and understanding, and they always made time to pull me aside and

make sure that I was doing okay.

When I went into my first foster home, I lost a lot of friends. Being a foster child, there are a lot of

boundaries that keep you from doing things that regular kids do. Much of my social life was

depleted when I was in foster care. I wanted to be on the cheerleading team, and the track team,

but due to lack of proper funding when you are in foster care, I could not afford to join any sport’s

teams. I was in the Advanced Women’s Choir, and if it were not for my amazing choir teacher at


Continue on next page


the time I would have missed out on several opportunities there as well. Ms. Stohlmann

helped me afford three field trips with the choir. Choir was one of the only places left in my life

where I felt like I belonged. I also lost many friends due to the regulations set by the Cabinet

for Health and Family Services that did not allow their foster kids to stay at another house

unless the adult’s in the home had undergone a background check. Many of my friend’s

parents didn’t like this stipulation and my friends didn’t understand me when I tried to

explain to them that it was out of my control.

During this year I turned seventeen. I wanted to get my permit like any other normal teenager

but there were barriers for that too. The DMV did not allow my foster mother to sign for me to

get my permit, and my social worker was unable to do the job. During this time when I felt I

had no one on my side, aside from my choir teacher, I had developed a relationship with my

school social worker. Ms. Davis helped me obtain many resources that I was lacking at the

time and always had an open door when I needed someone to talk to.

By the beginning of my senior year, I was living in one of the Independent Living Programs for

foster care children who are seventeen or older. I had been accepted into the Opportunity

Middle College program. I took college classes at Bluegrass Community and Technical College

while also finishing my last high school credits that I needed in order to graduate. Leaving my

home school was hard. I had to leave choir but I wanted a better future for myself so I chose to

try and get ahead. In my current situation as a foster youth, I knew that college would be

challenging because I would have to support myself while also paying for college and that’s

why I made the decision to go into the OMC program.

I was starting my senior year in another new environment, with no friends and no support

system for me. It was hard. I missed a lot of classes due to lack of transportation and other


Continue on next page


circumstances of my living situation. I still managed to pass my college courses that semester

with a 3.0 average and the representatives for OMC were very understanding of my situation.

For my last semester of my senior year, I opted to go through the plato co-op program. I

turned 18 at the beginning of this semester which meant I had aged out of foster care, and had

to live on my own and provide my own housing. This allowed me to have the freedom I needed

to work in order to afford my bills. In this program I could finish the last credit of Biology that I

needed in order to graduate online while working at my job. This meant I did not have to show

up to campus, which was beneficial to me since I did not have a car nor a license. All I needed

was access to internet. Over my winter break, I finished my online school work at a local public

library and I spent the last part of my semester working to afford my own apartment.

During the time I experienced foster care, I missed out on many opportunities that normal

teenagers got to have. I wasn’t able to join clubs and teams that required funding, which hurt

some of my scholarship chances for college. I was not able to go to social events with friends

whenever I liked, and I was unable to obtain my license. Transitioning into foster care, and

being put into a home where I had to live with and trust people that I didn’t know with my

well-being was nerve wracking. Then transitioning into an independent living program where I

learned to support myself while still in high school was challenging. I had no control over

things that happened in my life. It seemed like all of these experiences defined me as lessthan.

One of the things I always had pride in, and that I knew was under my control, and reflected on

me as a person was my school. I always took pride in doing well. I graduated high school with a

3.8 accumulative GPA. Many foster youth do not finish high school, and do not go on to college.

After high school, I went on to college at BCTC in Lexington where I wanted to major in Political

Science and go to law school.


Continue on next page


After about a year in, I realized it was really difficult to keep up a full-time course load of

studies, work to afford bills and take care of myself while still being blocked by

transportation issues. I had to catch the bus at 6 a.m. for an 8 a.m. class, and I didn’t finish

classes until 3 p.m. I had to catch the bus right after school to be at work on time by 5 p.m.

and worked until 10 or 11 p.m. almost every day. I also was not really enjoying the topic I was


I decided that I wanted to take the time to figure out what I really wanted for myself, what I

enjoyed and I wanted to get my living situation to stable. After a year and a half of working

different jobs and reflecting on myself, I decided to go back to college at BCTC in May of 2017.

Putting all of my experiences together, and thinking about other role models I had in my life,

I decided that Social Work was the right path for me. I took full time summer courses and

continued taking courses throughout the year and the next summer to catch up. I finished

my Associate in Arts degree at BCTC in the fall of 2018.

I was accepted into the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky and transferred

there for Spring semester of 2019. I am currently finishing my first semester at UK and plan to

continue the road to my Bachelor’s degree.

In May of 2019, my commencement ceremony from BCTC will take place. I am now a college

graduate. I have also obtained my drivers license as of April 2019, and I had saved money and

bought my first car.

I am so grateful for how far I have come on my own considering the obstacles that I had to

cross in order to get here. I may not have had the same opportunities as others, but I am


Continue on next page


grateful for the ones I did have, and the ones that I made for myself. My future goals are to

help advocate for people who feel like they are being marginalized, or that their opinion

doesn’t matter and to help make more opportunities for them. My goal population is to work

with adolescents because that is where my journey started. I would ultimately love to

become a school social worker for a high school. I believe there is a lot of good work that a

school social worker can do since the youth spend half of their lives in our schools.

None of these options would be possible for me if it wasn’t for the few people who supported

me during the initial harder times. Overall I think the public school system is supportive of

foster youth, but there is still much more work to be done. In the future, I would love to see

that foster youth are able to join the same teams as others with or without proper funding.

This may be one of the policies that I will advocate for when I have obtained my career goal

as a school social worker.



Have No Fear

Transportation is Here

DBy Tonya Clinkscales—Transportation, Jefferson County Public Schools

ue to the hardship each student in foster care endures, it’s the

responsibility of the community, the Cabinet, and the District to

provide educational continuity for the students of Jefferson County

Public Schools. This task at times can be complex, complicated, and

sometimes impossible. Providing transportation outside of a student’s

attendance area, network and/or cluster limits the availability of buses.

Transportation realized our foster care population was expanding and more

students were in need of stability. Even though the laws of foster care allows

students to stay in their school of origin this became a more complex task.

In 2018, the transportation department met with cabinet members of Jefferson County Public Schools

and voiced our concerns, and the responsibility we have for all students of Jefferson County including

foster care students. Transportation was allotted a budget to purchase 6 vans, and 8 buses dedicated

to foster care students. I work with all 13 compounds daily to assist in this task. We are currently

transporting 238 students. I take so much pride in working with each family, as I search high and low

for a bus for each of my students to give them stability, comfort, and some consistency during their

time of hardship. When working for my students, I am diligent in making certain that they receive the

attention and support. I spend time searching each route individually to provide the best, most

effective services to my students. Their education is important regardless of their status or where they


As one who has faced challenges and continues to strive for my personal best, I understand the

importance of community guidance and partnership. Therefore, I am committed to serving my

community through services such as, providing motivational conversations with single mothers and

young ladies, organizing job fairs in the community, contributing business clothing for young ladies

seeking employment, working with The Center for Women and Families to provide necessary items for

families starting over, providing transportation for church functions in the community, as well as

transportation for after school activities for disadvantaged children.

I believe that my life experiences were fated to allow me the personal challenge and growth necessary

to be able to go forward and share with my community, helping others who face the same adversity,

giving them the necessary tools to turn their obstacles into opportunities. After all, everyone deserves

an opportunity.

Thank you again for allowing me to provide service to the most important students in our District.



Spring Break Camp

at the Louisville Zoo

By Stephanie Dorton

Spring break is always a time that students

look forward to. Some students travel,

while others enjoy time with family and

friends. For one group of at-risk students, Spring

Break was spent at the Louisville Zoo. A camp

was held at Louisville Zoo as part of JCPS

Diversity, Equity, and Poverty Programs. Eighteen

students spent the week learning about primates

and getting to know the animals in the zoo. Each

day, Mr. Josh (the teacher who led the camp),

taught the students about a different primate. On

the first day of camp the students arrived and

seemed guarded and to themselves. As the

camp continued they opened up, started making

friends and really enjoyed their time with all of

the animals. They started coming in with smiles

on their faces eager to learn about the next

primate. There was 100% attendance most days

and absences only because of preexisting


Continue on next page


doctors’ appointments. The students seemed to have a wonderful time and learned a lot.

The differences in the pre and post tests were outstanding and showed remarkable


On Monday, the first day of camp, the students learned about chimpanzees and Jane

Goodall. They were taught, to their amazement, that chimpanzees’ DNA is 98% the same as

humans and that they can use tools. Students practiced how chimpanzees use sticks during

snack when they were given pretzel sticks, WOW butter and chocolate chips to simulate a

chimpanzee using a stick to catch ants.

Tuesday the focus was

gorillas. Did you know that

gorillas have distinct prints

on their nose that enable

them to be identified, like

our fingerprints? They took

turns in the ape cut out

measuring up to the gorillas!

Wednesday was all about

orangutans, which are only

found in Borneo and

Sumatra, two islands in

southeast Asia. The two

islands were used as

answers to a bonus

question. If they all

answered correctly, they

received a special snack. All

of the students got to enjoy

an ice cream sandwich for

their hard work.

Thursday the students got to

learn about colobus

monkeys, the newest exhibit

at the Louisville Zoo, and found out they can eat poisonous plants! The new exhibit was

enjoyed by the students and they were excited to see the monkeys playing overhead.

Friday’s primate was the lemur, which are considered to be one of the most endangered

animals in the world because they only come from Madagascar and a very small set of

nearby islands.


Continue on next page


Each day after the students had learned about their primate for the day, they would take a

zoo walk to observe that animal, with the exception of chimpanzees which unfortunately are

not housed at the Louisville Zoo. Zoos have to compete for them because there are so few of


The students also got to see the rest of the zoo and received information on the other

animals as they saw them. The zoo walks were broken down over all five days so that the

students were able to experience the entire zoo and all of the animals. The students loved

finding out the names of the animals. Their favorite was Lebron the Jaguar! They also got

the privilege of being some of the first visitors to ever see the zoo’s two newest exhibits: the

colobus monkeys and a new snow leopard exhibit. The students were able to tour the

private classroom looking into the snow leopard exhibit. In addition to learning about the

different primates and the informative zoo walks, the students also had animal contact each

day. They got to see and touch two or three animals each day from the MetaZoo. The

students were able to interact with a bearded dragon, hedgehog, rabbit, turtle, snake,

armadillo, chinchilla, ferret, opossum, hissing cockroach, gecko, tegu, and owl.

The JCPS DEP Zoo Camp provided students with an opportunity they may not have

otherwise had. For a group of students who often have so many worries, transitions, and

uncertainties, this was a time for them to just be kids and enjoy themselves! They made new

friends, interacted with animals, and demonstrated overall growth in both knowledge and

social emotional skills. It was an awesome week, indeed!



In the Midst of Difficulties

Lies Opportunity

RBy Karen Corbeill and Crystal McElroy—Maryhurst Academy

ape, human trafficking, abuse, neglect, homelessness, and TRAUMA do not define our

students in foster care and residential programs. While this trauma will always be a part of

their history, it is our responsibility as their educators to help them write a new chapter and

change their trajectory. At Maryhurst Academy we take this responsibility very seriously. We serve

over 70 middle and high school females residing on Maryhurst’s main campus and two group homes,

who are committed to the Cabinet for Families and Children. We provide a trauma-sensitive

environment, along with

academic and behavioral

supports to help our

students flourish. One

critical key to our success at

Maryhurst Academy is our

college and career

readiness. We know that

truly educating our students

reaches beyond the

classroom. It means that we

are actively and consistently

providing programs and

experiences that allow our

students opportunities to

open their eyes and see the

world of possibilities so they

can write their new chapter.

On March 21, our Maryhurst Academy juniors and seniors had the opportunity to participate in the

Equity in Higher Education Conference at the University of Louisville Student Activities Center,

helping them to continue writing this exciting new chapter. The conference was sponsored by the

University of Louisville OYES (Order Your Educational Steps) Program and JCPS Student Equity and

Community Engagement. The conference provided a wealth of information for our students on postsecondary

options, transition readiness and life skills.


Continue on next page


Our students, who have been outside the circle in the past, were welcomed, inspired and truly

felt a part of the conference. One of our students said that the conference, “is motivating me to

move forward in life and (look) at all my options…they gave me the information I needed.”

Another student shared, “they made me think long and hard on what I really want to be and do

after high school.” Students felt the presentations were helpful and motivating, especially

Twany Beckham’s inspirational story. Presenters brought messages of acceptance, inspiration,

perseverance and real possibilities for the future. The conference allowed them to see that

despite their challenges and misfortunes, they do have opportunities to achieve their goals.

One student said that she learned to, “make sure you try no matter what obstacles you face.”

Not only did the conference provide a wealth information, but our students were empowered

and motivated when they returned to school.

The Equity in Higher Education

Conference was a key event for our

students this year. Throughout the school

year, students have been on a variety of

college campus tours including sessions

at Eastern Kentucky University, Jefferson

Community and Technical College, and

Kentucky State University. We have also

invited several guest speakers to talk with

our students including representatives

from KHEAA. Our guidance counselor also

coordinated a college and career fair

where a host of college and university

representatives, trade schools, local

employers such as UPS, and support

services participated to provide our students with valuable information about their programs

and post-secondary education. Providing programs and conferences such as these have really

motivated and challenged our students to want to be more successful in the classroom and on


Enriching our students’ education with post-secondary possibilities has lit a fire in many of our

students. They are more invested in their studies and take more pride in their work. Our

students even ask to take their MAP tests and can’t wait to see their growth. It is also important

for our students to see that we, as their educators, are invested in them. We believe in them. We

believe in the possibilities and we believe in who they can become. Providing a world of

possibilities for post-secondary success should be the norm for all of our students across the

district, especially for our students in foster care and residential programs who are busy writing

their new chapters.




Relationships to

Engage Student

in Successful

Learning Habits

By Kelly Hagan

Imagine for a moment you are a teacher with 30 days left before summer break and the

school counselor sends you an email letting you know a new student will be joining your

class tomorrow. Naturally, there are a million things running through your head, mostly

frustration because of

the timing, but also

what can you learn

about this student very

quickly to get them

what they need before

testing? You sit at your

computer, log into your

class roster, look at

their demographics,

test scores, behavior incidents, and finally their enrollment history. Here is what you have

found. This student has several different addresses and phone numbers listed, shows novice

test scores in all subject areas, has several suspensions and behavior related incidents from

previous schools, and finally has been enrolled in two or more schools every year since they

became school aged. After the initial shock wears off from this new enrollee, you realize one

thing; this child needs a positive relationship with an adult.

Many of the students that enter in our classrooms everyday have similar statistics and all of

them are looking for the same things; consistency, safe space, and self-worth. Whether you are

a foster parent or a classroom teacher, utilizing your ability to build relationships and instill


Continue on next page


these three qualities in a child will drastically increase their ability to succeed at home and in

the classroom.


Children who have experienced trauma need time to process what has happened in their lives.

Something has happened to them that has caused them to be removed from their family and

start a lot of



this takes time

to come to terms

with and the

new adults in

their lives need

to comprehend

that these

children are not

going to jump in

and be okay


Students from a

traumatic background typically come from inconsistency and chaos. By having consistent

routines that are applicable to all students, you will bring a sense of normalcy back to the

student’s life. Along with these types of expectations, students will also need to see fairness

and follow through. Consequences need to be the most consistent system in your classroom

and in your home. Very simply put, “if this happens then this happens,” and it needs to happen

every time. If some students receive a consequence while others do not, you will not be

providing a consistent environment that promotes normalcy. However, the most consistent

thing about education and life in general, is inconsistency.

Things happen during the school day and in life that cause schedules and routines to change.

One thing you can do to help students who have experienced trauma to cope with these

variations is to communicate them clearly. Remember, children who are in foster care come

from chaos, so much that inconsistencies have become their normal. This is the main barrier

between them developing healthy, positive relationships with the adults in their lives. By


Continue on next page


simply communicating the changes and the purpose of these alterations, students will all be

more understanding and more trusting.

Safe Space

Students have a tendency to become defensive when they are hurt and embarrassed. For

students in foster care, they are coming in with these qualities and will typically react by

retaliating to get themselves removed from the situation. Sometimes their form of retaliation is

violent while other times it is simply refusal to complete a task. Children from trauma need a

safe space to work through their feelings. There are many triggers that can send a student into

their defensive mode; some easily foreseeable, others not so much. There are two ways in

which you can provide a safe space for your child both at home and in the classroom.

First, make

sure they have

a space that is

their own. In

the classroom

this can be a

cool down

corner away

from other

students where

they can collect themselves and reflect on the event causing their reaction. At home, this can

easily be their bedroom, but also creating another type of safe corner, like a reading corner, can

be equally as beneficial. The second way to help students is to avoid embarrassing moments.

Things will go awry, especially with students from trauma, and when they do, having private

conversations away from peers or family members is the best course of action. Traumatized

students have been embarrassed enough by adults in their lives, so avoiding additional

humiliating experiences increases their trusting relationship with you. Getting to know your

child’s limitations will assist in disseminating their familiarity with such occurrences. Through

observation, determine what types of things your student avoids. If it’s reading, avoid forcing

them to read aloud. Instead, read to your student. Research shows that adults reading to

children has a much higher effect size on achievement then students reading aloud to each


Continue on next page


other. Include simple questions like, “what do you think will happen?” to gauge interest and

comprehension. This strategy can build a child’s confidence while providing a safe space for

them to learn.


A child who has

entered foster care

carries the weight of

the world on their

shoulders. There is a

lot of self blame

although all of the

issues in their life are

from the failures of

adults to provide the

necessities for their

care. As parents and

educators of these

children, we need to

build their nonexistent

confidence through celebrations of the most minor tasks. By focusing on what the

student can do instead of the gaps in their learning, the children will be more motivated to

learn more. It is human nature, especially for educators, to focus on what is missing and what

is wrong, however, telling a child from trauma what they did wrong is normally a trigger that

forces them to not want to make corrections. By making a simple shift in language and mind

set, you can help a student go from shutting down to persevering through difficult tasks.

When completing a math assignment, focus on the problems and steps the student completed

correctly. “Let’s see how you did number 5, because you got that right!” Find books that have

words a student can read, and if they cannot read many words, have them create a book with

the words they know. Shifting your own mindset from failure to success for your child will not

only boost their own confidence, but continue to build a positive, trusting relationship

between the two of you.





Fostering Self-Care

By: Patrick Wager, LCSW

Self-care is a term that has crept into the

zeitgeist over the last several years. As

additional research continues to expose the vital

need of taking care of ourselves, teachers and

other direct care professionals are constantly

trying to adapt to keep up. In a recent study, it

was reported that an average of 16% of teachers

leave their school or the profession every year;

this is roughly half a million teachers. The loss of

a teacher in the middle of the year can not only

be stressful for the students and staff, but also

has huge implications on academic success.

Losing a teacher mid-year could result in the loss

of up to 72 instructional days. That’s almost half

the year! It should also be noted that the study


Continue on next page

found that in areas of

abject poverty, teachers

were twice as likely to

leave mid-year or before

their third year of


We know that there are

constant macro systems

being put into place to

combat these numbers

and support teachers,

but what can be done

on a more micro scale.

Let’s look at the aforementioned term self-care: what do we really know about this term, when

should we be using it, and does it actually help?

Compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress, vicarious trauma, these are all terms that can

more commonly be used to describe “burnout,” which is usually how we describe a co-worker

who is on the verge of quitting. Burnout comes from many different sources, but one of the main

contributors can be from working trauma-adjacent to students that are greatly impacted by past

or present experiences. And if you are working in a school, affluent or otherwise, you have

students who have experienced trauma. To give you an example, we have all heard of the ACE

study, which collected data from participants to demonstrate the effects of adverse childhood

experiences. The study showed the higher your ACE score, the more likely you were to have

serious medical and emotional issues. A typical response to the ACE score might be a one or a two

for most people. But when looking at another study specific to foster care, it showed that one of

our most vulnerable populations reported that 70% had an ACE score of 5 or more. This of course

is troubling for the youth that are experiencing these traumas, but when focusing on the teachers

and staff that work with them, we are finding that without proper support and self-care they are

up against challenging odds.

What are some of the signs that I might be getting close to burning out? They can at times be very

similar to symptoms that are associated with first-hand trauma: isolation, depression, difficulty

focusing, aggression, anxiety, insomnia, excessive drinking, appetite changes, anger/sadness. It


Continue on next page

has also been shown

that staff members

report having a

worldview shift that

can feel all or

nothing. Staff

members feel that

their world or the

people around them

aren’t safe, or a very

real feeling of us vs

them. In a school

setting on a larger

scale this can be

played out more in chronic absenteeism, negativity toward school leadership and resistance to

change to name a few.

Now that we have established some of the signs, let’s talk about what to do about it. Self-care

when distilled down can feel extra or luxurious, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few

examples of ways to improve your resiliency, establish a self-care routine, and reduce your

symptoms of burnout.

Hope - One factor to build resiliency and establish self-care is hope. Making a goal to give

yourself permission to have a weekly outing or planning a trip can all be helpful ways to build in

long term self-care. When we have an idea of future plans that excite us, it can make our

challenging weeks feel more manageable.

Connections - Spend more time with those outside of your profession. Seek out relationships

with people that don’t work at your school or have nothing to do with your field and cultivate

those relationships. Having friends at work is great and can also be an indicator for placement

longevity, but this can also be dangerous when the majority of your building can be experiencing

compassion fatigue. Putting too much time into those relationships cannot be as uplifting and

in many ways leave you feeling worse after spending time with them.


Continue on next page


Serving others - Do something for someone else or better yet, make it a goal to do something

monthly or weekly for others. It could be your friends, your neighbors or co-workers, but putting

time into reflecting about someone you care about and doing something nice for them is a

powerful form of self-care. This can be a note of encouragement, a gift card or even just an

intentional compliment in public. Regardless, caring for others is not always seen as self-care but

has only positive side effects and can greatly impact your ability to increase your overall outlook

on work and life in general.

One thing that isn’t always mentioned with self-care is that it can be hard. Not everyone has the

awareness or the resources to effectively utilize self-care, and pushing people to take care of

themselves can be a touchy topic. People can be offended or hurt that you think there is

something wrong with them or have concerns about their well-being. Due to the stigma paired

with the fact that self-care just isn’t a reality for everyone, taking the initiative to motivate

someone else can also benefit your health. If you decide you are going to walk every day, invite

your co-worker and work to remove the barriers for them. Give them a ride, bring an extra water,

come with a positive attitude, save all your funny uplifting stories to share during the walk and

continue to model this consistency. Sometimes our peers just can’t get started and if self-care

comes naturally to you, work to help those around you. This can only positively affect the overall

mood in your building. This can have a contagious effect, allowing others as they grow to

positively influence those around them as well.

Bottom line, our jobs are hard and as we have learned, working around trauma can only make it

harder. Don’t let compassion fatigue overcome you. Pay attention to the signs in yourself and

others. Self-care is not extra, it’s mandatory.



Relative and Fictive Kin

Caregivers—The Unsung

Heroes of Foster Care

Shannon Moody, Kentucky Youth Advocates Child Welfare Policy Director

As May is National Foster Care

Awareness Month, we wanted to

highlight those caregivers who

sometimes get less attention and

recognition but play a very similar role that

foster parents play.

In Kentucky, we have an estimated 96,000

children being raised by relatives, with a

majority of those relatives being

grandparents. That is currently the highest

rate in the nation. There are many reasons

for those children being raised by relatives including but not limited to deployment;

mental health issues; substance abuse issues; parental incarceration; and death, with a

large percentage of them never having been identified by the Department for Community

Based Services.

For those children who have been identified by the Department for Community Based

Services (DCBS) Division of Protection and Permanency, over 15,000, they have

experienced child abuse, neglect, or dependency and have been placed with a relative or

fictive kin, arranged by DCBS. A kinship caregiver is a legal relative by means of blood,

marriage, or adoption. A fictive kin caregiver is someone known to the child with a familylike

relationship—often a neighbor, teacher, coach, or church member. Relatives can be

foster parents, but currently in Kentucky, only 12% of foster care placements are with


Continue on next page


relatives. Relatives and fictive kin are often used as a means of diverting, or keeping kids

from entering, the foster care system.

These fictive kin and kinship caregivers play similar roles to that of foster parents—

stepping up to raise children who are unable to be safely raised by their parents, often

times on very short notice. Research tells us that those kinship care and fictive kin care

providers that step up to raise children are helping to ensure; less trauma at separation,

less behavioral issues in the home, and less disruption to their education. Those

relationships can help to create a more stable placement for children, and increased

opportunities to ensure connectivity to culture, family traditions, and connections to


During the 2019 legislative session, the General Assembly passed House Bill 2 which

creates provisions that help to better support relative and fictive kin caregivers. House Bill

2 will establish the development of supportive services for kinship and fictive kin

caregivers, including, but not limited to, monetary and respite supports. It would also

establish a reporting mechanism to track and analyze data on relative and fictive kin

caregiver placements.

While the details of the implementation of the bill are still being worked out, we anticipate

more relative caregivers will become foster parents, which will create better access to

needed supports like subsidies, child care, respite care, and behavioral health services.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has developed a website with additional

information for relative and fictive kin caregivers to get information. Research also says

that kinship caregivers can benefit from participating in support groups, as well.

Information about support groups for kinship caregivers across Kentucky can be found


Kentucky Foster Adoptive Caregiver Exchange System, with information for supports for

kinship and fictive kin caregivers can be found here.

Additional information about kinship caregivers in Kentucky is below.


Continue on next page


Kinship Care in Kentucky

Benefits of Kinship Care

When children cannot remain safely with their parents, grandparents,

other relatives, and close family friends often step up to help raise them.

This situation is commonly known as kinship care—or in the case of a

close family friend raising children, “fictive kin.”

Kinship care—ranging from placements with relatives by blood or marriage to placements with caring

adults like teachers or pastors—helps to relieve trauma children often face upon removal from their

home. Children living with relatives or close family friends have fewer behavioral and mental health

problems and experience fewer educational disruptions. Kinship care also helps to keep kids

connected to their culture, family traditions, and siblings.

Types of Kinship Care in Kentucky

Kinship care may be informal or may involve the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS)

in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).


Kinship Care

Children who live with

relatives or close family

friends with varying types

of custody depending on

arrangements made

within those families

Kinship Care

Due to Removal

from Home

Children are placed with

kin as a result of removal

by the Cabinet or courts.

Either the caregiver or

CHFS may maintain



Foster Care

The relatives or close

family friends raising

children become

certified as foster

parents. CHFS maintains

custody of the child.

96,000 Kentucky kids

live in kinship care. That rate—9% of all

children—is the highest in the nation. 1

Estimated 15,000 kids in kinship

care due to removal from home 2

Of those 15,000, only 5,140 are in

the Kinship Care Program. No

new families have been able to

enroll and receive financial

support since a moratorium was

put on the program in 2013. 3

1,182 kids live in

relative foster care 4

Majority of kids

living with relatives are in informal kinship care

SOURCES: 1. U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement,

2016-2018. 2. Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Community Based Services,

October 2017, received November 2017. 3. Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department

for Community Based Services, October 2017, communicated July 2018. 4. Kentucky Cabinet for Health and

Family Services, Department for Community Based Services, Foster Care FACTS, March 2019.


Family Scholar House

Offers Support for

Foster Alumni

By Thomas W. Evans, M.Ed.—Young Adult Services Coordinator Family Scholar House

Students who experience being in the care of the state are less likely to be academically

prepared for college programs. Nationally, studies have shown foster alumni are also

less likely to have resources and networks of support available to be successful as they

transition during early adulthood. Without those crucial supports, many foster alum find

themselves working hard just to get through today and not able to plan for the future.

Seeing the need in our communities, Family Scholar House has adapted its long running

support program for single parents to fit the needs of foster alum. This unique approach

combines academic and social supports in a coaching environment with direct services that

help ease the burden of food insecurity and social isolation. By helping participants envision a

future without the complications of poverty FSH is helping participants build a life they may

not have seen as a possibility before. To date more than 200 local and national foster alum

have connected with the Young Adult Program, and more are connecting each month.

Academic Support that works. Whether the goal is a traditional college path or an

apprenticeship program combining work and learning, FSH staff work with participants to set

realistic and well informed plans to help build self-sufficiency. While tutoring, advising, and


Continue on next page

access to school supplies are crucial for student success, the program also works to develop

participants’ critical thinking skills. Participants range from those looking to finish their GED

or graduate high school to those about to finish college degrees.

Family Advocacy that is relevant. The needs of foster alum are varied, and no cookie cutter

approach could ever work. FSH works with participants to identify the resources that they

need to connect to build self-sufficiency. Often times this means navigating the SNAP or

Health Insurance processes, registering for cooking classes, working on mental and physical

wellness, or building financial literacy skills. No matter the need, FSH is committed to helping

participants navigate around the barriers in their lives that keep them from being successful.

Housing for those that qualify. No one can perform at the fullest if their basic needs aren’t

being met. FSH helps participants who qualify connect with housing support on and off of FSH

campuses so that they can focus on the life they are working to build. For some residents, this

means a safe and affordable (or even rent free) one bedroom apartment just steps away from

the program staff that they rely on for support. For others this means a referral to community

partners who can help.

Anyone interested in more information about the Young Adult Program is encouraged to visit or call 502-584-8090 for more information. Interested

participants can call the same number and ask for an intake.


Continue on next page


University of Louisville’s TRIO

Program Helps Student Find Success

By Athenia Brown—Criminal Justice major at The University of Louisville

Throughout my educational experience at the

University of Louisville, I have been very

thankful for the help I have received. We have

a program called TRIO, which is additional tutoring

services, advising, and peer mentoring. This program

has helped me understand how to navigate through

college and receive help, however not all colleges have

programs like this. TRIO is a program that welcomes

foster youth and other low income families. Many

scholarships are offered through this program as well.

Many foster youth attend big universities and we feel

lost. We have no idea how to navigate through college. Our first instinct is to quit and I felt like

quitting many times. My advisor Erica walked me through everything starting with scheduling

classes, choosing a minor, looking for housing, and being a listener. All foster youth need this

type of program. Many times I struggled with finding a job or paying for books and she

managed to help find resources to help with it all! I believe the graduation rates would go up

if we all had support like this.

I think sometimes as foster youth we feel that we are at a disadvantage academically

compared to other students because education wasn’t a top priority in our lives. For me, I

went into the classroom not knowing basic math and many times I was afraid to ask

questions or embarrassed to ask for help. Many times I found that professors would get

frustrated because they’d have to repeat themselves constantly because I just couldn’t grasp

the concept they were teaching. I don’t think the professors realize that we all come from

different backgrounds and we’re not all on the same educational level even though we’re at

the same grade level. Although the professors can’t take the time to understand each student

and their academic needs I believe programs like TRIO can. I believe success rates of students

would go up and we’d see more foster youth graduate if more programs like TRIO were



Continue on next page


Foster Parents

Join the Title I

Parent Advisory


By Lindsay Bale, JCPS Foster Care Liaison

Families come in all shapes and sizes. In

JCPS, we have children who are cared

for by biological parents, step-parents,

relatives, family friends, foster parents, and

more. Children in foster care are categorically

eligible for Title I services, making it especially

important to have foster parents represented

as part of the Title I Parent Advisory Council.

The Title I Parent Advisory Council has 4 core


• All families have dreams for their

children and want the best for them

• All families have the capacity to support

their children’s learning

• Families and school staff are equal


• The responsibility for cultivating and

sustaining partnerships among school,

home, and community rests primarily on

the district and school staff; especially

district and school leaders

The JCPS Title I Parent Advisory Council meets

on a monthly basis. The Parent Advisory

Council ensures that parents are empowered

to advocate for their children by providing

them with knowledge about services and

resources available to them. This academic

year, Parent Advisory Council members have

learned about a number of topics, including:

Backpack of Success Skills, Understanding MAP

scores, The Every Student Succeeds Act,

Community Asset Mapping, 15 th District PTA

Clothing Assistance Program, Summer

programs for students, Early Childhood

Programming, the Student Assignment

process, Student Relations and Choice Schools,

Language Services, Adult Education,

Exceptional Child Education and more.

In addition to leadership skill building, parents

developed a community directory that is all

their own! This directory was created BY

PARENTS, FOR PARENTS! Parents have also

helped plan community events in each JCPS

district. Parents have built a supportive

community where they can share information,

learn about services available to them, address

concerns, and provide input for our JCPS

family engagement policies. Our foster parents

have even recruited more foster parents!!

Parent and Family Engagement means

engaging all families, and foster parents are

just one piece of the puzzle. They bring a

unique perspective to the council and are

strong advocates for the education of a special

group of students who have historically been

underrepresented. We are truly grateful for the

partnership and inclusivity of foster parents on

our JCPS Title I Parent Advisory Council.


Continue on next page


Education Benefits for Youth in

Foster Care and Foster Care Alumni

By Lorraine Wilbur, Chafee Program Administrator

Youth in state’s care are eligible for a

variety of benefits and resources aimed

at supporting their success in high

school and beyond, including:

Foster Youth 16 and over are eligible to

receive $250 for completing the state’s

independent living curriculum. The curriculum

covers such topics as education, life skills,

personal finance, employment,

communication skills, health and healthy


• Youth in state’s care are eligible for $650 to

assist with the cost of their senior expenses,

such as the prom experience, senior pictures,

class ring, class trip, etc.

• Youth who were adopted from the Kentucky

Foster Care system or who were in state’s care

on their 18th birthday, are eligible for the

Tuition Waiver for Foster and Adopted

Children, which waives their tuition at any

public state college or institution. The student

must start using this benefit within 4 years of

graduating from high school. Once applied,

the waiver is good for 5 years.

• Youth who were in foster care on their 18th

birthday, or who were adopted at 16 years old

or older, are eligible for the Education Training

Voucher (ETV) program. The program provides

up to $5000 per year to cover the cost of

attendance at any accredited post-secondary

or job-training program. The student is eligible

for the program for 5 years or until their 26th

birthday, whichever comes first.

• Youth in state’s care are eligible for

education assistance to assist with the cost of

completing a post-secondary program. Eligible

expenses includes books, room & board,

tuition, etc. The student must have completed

the FAFSA form. This benefit applies to foster

youth living on a college campus, or those

seeking to complete a vocational program not

offered through KCTCS.

• Many of the public colleges in Kentucky

waives the cost of the application fee,

orientation and housing fees for foster youth.

Foster youth should contact with the college’s

admissions or housing office for more


• Youth between the ages of 18-23 years old

who aged out Kentucky’s foster care system

are eligible for an assortment of Aftercare

Services including case management, housing

assistance, and funds to cover the cost of

education expenses such as the GED test,

tutoring, vocational training, etc.

• State Independent Living Specialists

facilitate Transition Planning meetings with

youth in Foster care starting at 17 years old.

The purpose of these meetings is to ensure

youth are aware of the benefits available to

them and to support them in making a plan for

their future. Teachers, guidance counselor and

other school personnel are strongly

encouraged to participate in these meetings as

their insight is crucial is assisting the youth in

planning a realistic plan for the future.

For more information on these resources,

please contact the Department for Community

Based Services at



Foster Care FAQs


hat is foster care?

Foster care is a temporary living situation for children who cannot live with their parents

due to abuse, neglect, or dependency. The family has come to the attention of child

welfare workers and courts who have

made the determination that children

need care outside of their homes.

Why do children enter foster care?

Children enter foster care due to abuse,

neglect, and dependency. Abuse can

include physical, sexual, and emotional

abuse. Neglect is when a child’s needs

are unmet. This can include basic

needs, educational needs, medical

needs, and more. Dependency is when

a parent cannot care for his/her child due to no fault of his/her own.

How long do children stay in foster care?

The amount of time a child remains in foster care can vary from months to years. In Kentucky,

children can remain in foster care until age 21 if they meet certain requirements. The goal is always to

reunify children with their birth families when possible. When it is not possible, the goal is to find a

forever family for each child in foster care.

Where do children in foster care live?

Children in foster care can live with relatives, with fictive kin, in foster family homes, residential

treatment facilities, and independent living programs.

Can a student in foster care remain in their school of origin when they enter foster care or

change placements, even if it is outside of the reside area?

Yes, under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), students in foster care have a right to remain in

their school of origin when it is in their best interest. A best interest determination should be made by

a team of individuals who are involved with the student, including the social worker, school staff,

educational decision maker, caretakers, and the student themselves. The CHFS social worker is the


Continue on next page


ultimate decision maker when a team cannot come to an agreement on best interest.

Reasonable transportation must be provided for student to remain in the school of origin.

What is a school of origin?

The school of origin is the school the student was attending at the time of entry into foster care.

If it is determined to be in a child’s best interest to change schools, the new school then

becomes the school of origin.

Can a student in foster care enroll in school without normally required documentation?

Yes. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), students in foster care are to be immediately

enrolled in school even when they do not have normally required documentation. Records

should then be requested after the student is enrolled.

Can youth in foster care participate in after-school activities?

Yes! Under Kentucky’s normalcy law, children in foster care have the right to participate in

extra-curricular activities

Can youth in foster care file a

FAFSA as an independent


Yes, students who were in

foster care at any time after the

age of 13 can file an

independent status on their


Are resources available to

help fund post-secondary

education for foster youth?

Yes! There are multiple

resources available to help

students who are in foster care,

students who age out of foster care, or students who are adopted from foster care to access

post-secondary education. For a list of resources available through the state of Kentucky, visit

this website:





A Child Called It

Dave Pelzer

Ages 8-12

Books for Young Readers

Another Place at the Table

By Kathy Harrison

Ages 6-10

This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the

most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the

story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by

his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who

played tortuous, unpredictable games--games that left him

nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games

in order to survive because she no longer considered him a

son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it."

For more than a decade, Kathy Harrison has sheltered a

shifting cast of troubled youngsters-the offspring of

prostitutes and addicts; the sons and daughters of abusers;

and teenage parents who aren't equipped for parenthood. All

this, in addition to raising her three biological sons and two

adopted daughters. What would motivate someone to give

herself over to constant, largely uncompensated chaos? For

Harrison, the answer is easy.

The Deepest Well

By Nadine Burke Harris, M.D.

Ages 10 and up

The Deepest Well is a rousing wake-up call, challenging us

to reimagine pressing questions of racial and social

justice as matters of public health. The research and

stories shared in this highly engaging, provocative book

prove beyond a reasonable doubt that millions of lives

depend on us finally coming to terms with the long-term

consequences of childhood adversity and toxic stress.



Legal Center for Foster Care and


US Department of Education Foster

Care Transition Toolkit



COUNTY CALL 502-595-4550 OR


Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators



For more information about becoming a

foster parent, call 595-KIDS.

Child Welfare Information Gateway

Child Welfare Toolkit for Early

Childhood Professionals


KY Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect





Continue on next page







Editor—Catherine Collesano

Editor, Photo Contributor—Abdul Sharif


Envision Equity is a publication of the JCPS Department of Diversity, Equity, and Poverty

Programs. All submissions should be sent to Catherine Collesano at or Abdul Sharif at If you are interested in becoming a subscriber or a

contributor to Envision Equity, please contact one of the editors at the above email address.

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Offering Equal Educational Opportunities


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines