The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type

Starred Paper

Degree Name

Special Education: M.S.


Special Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Bradley Kaffar

Second Advisor

J. Michael Pickle

Third Advisor

Semya Hakim

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

foster care students, special education foster care


This paper examines the research literature on the school performance of students in foster care, and the implications for special education teachers in providing services for these vulnerable students. Students in foster care fall behind their peers on every measure of school success: academic achievement scores, behavioral referrals and disciplinary actions, identification as special education students, grade retention and graduation rates. Factors that contribute to school failure for foster students include multiple school transfers, attending low-performing schools, disrupted attendance, unmet need for mental health services, unsatisfactory communication between school and child welfare professionals, and high rates of poverty among foster care students. Special education teachers of foster care students need to work with a complex network of child welfare professionals, advocating for the needs of students and collaborating with school staff and outside agencies to serve the multiple needs of students in foster care.


Special thanks to my committee members:

Bradley Kaffar, Chairperson

J. Michael Pickle

Semya Hakim



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