There are many groups that work together to make the MRPA a rich resource for our members. Open the items below to learn more.
Our Conference Committee contact is Dr. Joan Wharton. Reach her by email.
Our Executive Committee Chair is Arnold Eby. Reach him by email.
Legislation and Advocacy
Our Legislation and Advocacy Chair is James MacAlister. Reach him by email.
The Strategic Planning Committee is charged with developing the long-range strategic plan for the Maryland Foster Parents Association. This plan will guide future Plans of Work and other activities for the Association.
Sam Macer, Chairman
Education Committee Goals
Support all Maryland resource providers in their efforts to provide for the safety, permanency and well-being of the foster youth in their care.
An essential element in the area of supporting well-being is increasing and sustaining academic achievement.
Research indicates foster youth are often two grade levels behind their peers and two grade levels behind in their reading and math skills.
Poor educational outcomes are directly related to poor adult life outcomes in employment, housing, post-secondary education and criminal justice.
- Access to Education
Access to Education For Children in Foster Care
The Access to Education for Children in State-Supervised Care handbook for professionals working in Maryland child welfare and educational systems. The handbook will help child welfare workers and school staff to minimize common barriers to success in school for foster children.
Educational stability is essential to educational achievement for foster children. Professionals need a clear understanding of the educational system and barriers to become effective advocates for foster children.
What are the common barriers to success in school for foster children?
Children in foster care are among the most educationally vulnerable children in the nation. More than half of all children in foster care suffer from serious health problems, developmental delays and other disabilities that can compromise their educational growth.
The same factors that can lead to foster placement – maltreatment; the death or incarceration of a parent or caretaker; or chronic homelessness – also place children at risk for educational failure. Instability in school placement, lack of continuity of educational services, and lack of parental and advocacy participation in their school lives are all challenges that foster children face through their school years.
Studies show that children in foster care:
- Do not perform as well as other children, lagging in achievement, repeating grades and failing classes;
- Experience frequent changes in placement;
- Are twice as likely to drop out of high school as their peers;
- Experience inappropriate school placements, and lost, misplaced or inaccessible school records;
- Experience delays in school enrollment;
- Receive special educational services at three to five times the national rate for all children; and
- Exhibit substantial behavioral and emotional problems that can compromise their ability to learn or function at school.
- Plan of Work
Maryland Resource Parent Association Education Committee Plan of Work, 2014-2016
Sam Macer – Chairman
According to the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education, for the over 500,000 children and youth served in foster care each year in the United States, education has the potential to be a positive counterweight to abuse, neglect, separation, impermanence, and instability.
Positive school experiences enhance the well-being of children and youth. These experiences help them make more successful transitions to adulthood, and increase their chances for personal fulfillment and economic self-sufficiency, as well as their ability to contribute to society.
Education should be approached as an integral part of permanency rather than as a choice between permanency and education.
Studies have shown that education is a significant factor in determining the success of youth as they exit the foster care system and beyond.
When focus is on educational needs, the results are improved educational performance, decreased maladaptive behavior, and lower drop-out rates.
Facts and Figures
- Less than 70 percent of youth in foster care finish high school before leaving care.
- Children and youth in out-of-home care experience an average of one or two placement changes per year.
- Students in foster care score 16 to 20 percentile points below others in statewide standardized tests (Washington state study).
- Only about 3 percent obtain a bachelor’s degree within a few years of emancipation.
According to the Maryland Department of Human Resources, Maryland Resource Parent Handbook “an important part of the care that a child receives in foster care involves ensuring that the child’s educational needs are met. The resource parent is involved in the day-to-day activities of the child, and can best identify areas of progress and concern”.
Education Committee Goals
Support all Maryland resource providers in their efforts to provide for the safety, permanency and well-being of the foster youth in their care. An essential element in the area of supporting well-being is increasing and sustaining academic achievement. Research indicates foster youth are often two grade levels behind their peers and two grade levels behind in their reading and math skills. Poor educational outcomes are directly related to poor adult life outcomes in employment, housing, post-secondary education and criminal justice.
- Support the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 07.02.25.08, – Responsibilities of a Foster Parent- #10 Participate in the child’s educational process.
- Support the DHR, Maryland Resource Parent Handbook – Education.
- Promote the concept of resource parent and care provider involvement and engagement in the educational process to raise and sustain academic achievement.
- Promote the concept of establishing a strong home/school connection to support children in out of home placement.
- To achieve the goals of the Education Committee the following activities are proposed:
- Share information with all foster care providers concerning the importance of educational support through newsletters, electronic and print media, presentations and trainings.
- Present and develop trainings upon request of local foster parent associations, local Department of Social Services, (DDSs), the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Maryland Resource Parent Association (MRPA) conferences and community organizations. The Education Committee seeks a maximum of $500 for each jurisdictional meeting it co-sponsors with a local foster parent association and a local DSS. The committee is proposing a maximum of 6 local jurisdictional meetings that will offer training hours and help raise the relevance of the MRPA and the local foster parent association.
- Communicate with and engage federal, state and local education and child welfare officials and organizations to include but not limited to the Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Education, MSDE, the University of Maryland, National Foster Parent Association and National PTA.
Write articles for electronic and print media.
- Participate on the MSDE’ Superintendent’s Family Engagement Council to provide input concerning education issues in child welfare.
The Education Committee will collaborate with the Maryland Resource Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA). The PTSA was established by the Maryland Resource Parent Association (MRPA) in 2010 and is a member of the MRPA board. The collaboration will help raise the awareness and the need for increased and effective foster parent and care provider engagement in the educational process of the foster youth in their care.
The Education Committee will adopt the PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. The standards are:
Standard 1: Welcoming all families into the school community—Families are active participants in the life of the school, and feel welcomed, valued, and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students are learning and doing in class.
Standard 2: Communicating effectively—Families and school staff engage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication about student learning.
Standard 3: Supporting student success—Families and school staff continuously collaborate to support students’ learning and healthy development both at home and at school, and have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively.
Standard 4: Speaking up for every child—Families are empowered to be advocates for their own and other children, to ensure that students are treated fairly and have access to learning opportunities that will support their success.
Standard 5: Sharing power—Families and school staff are equal partners in decisions that affect children and families and together inform, influence, and create policies, practices, and programs.
Standard 6: Collaborating with community—Families and school staff collaborate with community members to connect students, families, and staff to expanded learning opportunities, community services, and civic participation.
Approved June 28, 2014
- Ready by 12 Educadtion