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STATEHOUSE–The state should do a better job of making sure kids in foster care do well, said a group of former foster children, state lawmakers and non-profit leaders. The state released the first-ever report of how well foster children are doing and how they do later in life.

There’s a good deal of room for improvement, said Brent Kent, CEO of Indiana Connected by 25, a non-profit social services group in Indianapolis.

For instance, only six out of ten foster kids graduate high school, he said. “Twenty-one percent graduate with a waiver, meaning graduation requirements were waived for them.”

Kent said foster kids generally didn’t do as well on state tests. “we see that foster students are more likely to attend under performing school.”

“Keep in mind often times the state is making education decisions as a parent would for these youth,” he said. Kent said the foster care system has a disproportionately negative effect on African-American children. 

Audio titled BRENT KENT INTERVIEW FOSTER KIDS by 93WIBC

“Black students in foster care are expelled and suspended at nearly four times the rate of their peers. On the 10th grade math ISTEP only 3.2 percent of those students are passing,” he said. 

Kent said the state and the Dept. of Education should acknowledge the children in their care are their obligation. He said the fact that much of the foster care comes from non-profits and private social services organizations is proof the state could do better.

“We want them to develop a comprehensive, state-level plan to address this and to improve outcomes for these kids. We want the state and the legislature to explore what resources these kids need.” He said the state should also create a tax credit to support non-profits that support foster children.

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