The Advocacy  Institute Logo
image Search   Contact UsDonatefacebookfacebook

 About UsProjectsServicesResourcesAdvocate AcademyAdvocacy in ActionHome page

improving the lives of people with disabilities

Advocate Academy
Students with Disabilities in Foster Care:
What Special Education Advocates Need to Know

Conducted February 18, 2009

Dr. Sarah Geenen

Sarah Geenen, Ph.D.

Dr. Sarah Geenen
is a child psychologist and an assistant professor at Portland State University in Oregon. She received her doctorate from DePaul University in 1998, and since that time has conducted extensive research around the transition and educational experiences of at-risk youth with disabilities, with a focus on foster care. Currently, she is the director of two federally funded studies (My Life and Project Success) that are using a randomized design to examine the impact of enhanced self-determination on the education and post school outcomes of students who are in both special education and foster care.

Dr. Geenen's life experience as the sibling of two adopted brothers with special needs has fueled her commitment to and interest around supporting the education and transition of foster youth with disabilities.

Webinar Archive and Materials

Webinar Archive*: This is the recording of the live Webinar conducted on February 18, 2009. The recording is 1 hr, 27 minutes in length. You can start, stop, pause, fast forward or rewind the recording using the controls on the ReadyTalk player. (Note: Playing the archive requires FLASH Player to be installed on your computer.)

Webinar PowerPoint Presentation Handout*: This is the Handout for the Webinar presentation on Students with Disabilities in Foster Care. (PDF, 11 pgs.)

Links to resources mentioned during this Webinar:

  • Statistics on Youth in Foster Care (AFCARS) from the Administration for Children and Families at HHS are available here.
  • Chafee Foster Care Independence Program FAQ is available here.
  • Chafee Educational and Training Voucher (ETV) Program information is available here.
  • The National Network for Youth in Foster Care (YouthClub) website is available here.
  • Children's Defense Fund: Summary of the provisions in the Improving Education for Homeless and Foster Children with Disabilities in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvements Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-446) is available here.
  • FAFSA Tips And Resources For Foster And Unaccompanied Youth Without Stable Housing are available here.
  • Orphan Foundation of America's information on Scholarships for Youth in Foster Care is available here.
  • "Leap of faith lands Oregon foster kid in college": Inspiring news story about a youth in foster care who takes control of his future is available here!

Additional Resources:

Best Practices for Increasing Youth Participation in Collaborative Team Building: Produced by the Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children’s Mental Health at Portland State University (PDF, 8 pgs)

Are We Ignoring Foster Youth With Disabilities?: Success in school is a critical factor for all students in achieving positive adult outcomes; however, it may be especially important for foster youth who have little else. The Fostering Futures Project conducted a study to investigate the academic performance of high school students who are in both foster care and special education. This article provides an overview of the seven key findings that indicated that a lack of school success is a significant issue for foster youth with disabilities. (PDF, 10 pgs)

IDEA 2004 Provisions for Homeless Children and Youth with Disabilities: This brief from the National Center for Homeless Education provides an overview of the pertinent provisions in IDEA regarding homeless children and includes a list of resources. (PDF, 13 pgs)

Youth with Disabilities in the Foster Care System: Barriers to Success and Proposed Policy Solutions: This comprehensive 2008 report from the National Council on Disability provides policymakers, primarily at the federal and state levels, with information about youth with disabilities in foster care, so that policymakers can begin to understand the characteristics of this population; the challenges they face; how they fare with regard to safety, permanency, self-determination and self-sufficiency, enhanced quality of life, and community integration; and how the complex array of existing programs and services could be better designed to improve these outcomes. (PDF, 190 pgs)

In School, The Right School, Finish School: A Guide to Improving Educational Opportunities for Court-Involved Youth: A useful guide to major provisions of all federal laws impacting children and youth, including education for the disadvantaged, special education, the educational rights of homeless youth and youth in the foster care system, vocational and technical education, education for youth involved with the juvenile justice system, and school discipline. A publication of the National Children's Law Network (PDF, 62 pgs)

Forgotten Children: A Case for Action for Children and Youth with Disabilities in Foster Care: This report, from United Cerebral Palsy and Children’s Rights, reveals that at least one-third of the more than 500,000 children and youth in American foster care systems today may have disabilities. (PDF, 12 pgs)

* PLEASE NOTE: These materials are for the exclusive use of purchasers of Advocate Academy Webinar live events and archives. Please do not distribute or provide others with access to these materials. Thank you.

About Us | Projects | Services | Resources | Advocate Academy | Advocacy in Action | Contact Us | Donate | Home

Copyright 2001-2022 The Advocacy Institute