26% of foster care students disengaging from school during COVID-19

26% of foster care students disengaging from school during COVID-19

Treehouse works to find ways to support youth

Nearly 26% of youth in foster care served by Seattle-based Treehouse have disengaged from school during COVID-19.

“More than a quarter of the youth we serve in foster care—26%—have disengaged from school, and there are many other concerning trends,” said Lisa Chin, CEO of Treehouse, in a Aug. 11 news release. “Treehouse will monitor our youth to see if these needs persist, connect youth and young adults with additional services and partner with caregivers, social workers and schools to provide extra support during this time of disruption.”

The nonprofit, which works with more than 8,000 youth in care statewide so they have a childhood and a future, has been tracking the educational impacts of COVID-19. Staff completed surveys in July about the emergent needs since March 15 of 1,126 youth on their caseloads. This is the third survey.

Other key findings:

• 44% of foster and relative caregivers need more support in meeting the educational needs of youth in their homes.

• 37% of students with disabilities (42% of youth in care) have not received special education services.

• 25% of youth in care have lost academic progress as a result of the move to distance learning.

• 22% have one or more unmet basic needs (housing, food, clothing, etc.).

• 11% have experienced a placement change.

• 10% have had IEP (Individualized Education Programs) assessments and meetings delayed.

• 5% have experienced a school change.

In response, Treehouse is working with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to provide guidance and support to school districts. Treehouse also is ramping up to make sure caregivers and social workers have everything they need to navigate distance learning in the new school year.

The organization has been a leading voice advocating with Gov. Jay Inslee on how to spend discretionary funding through the CARES Act to ensure Washington meets all basic and educational needs of children and youth in foster care.

Thanks to contributions from communities throughout the state, Treehouse has funded more than $800,000 in technology and other critical supports since the beginning of the pandemic.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

File photo
Proposed bill aims to trade handcuffs for help when it comes to drug use

Supreme Court decision to strike down drug possesion law leaves oppurtunity to shift paradigm

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
House passes bill to increase financial reporting, transparency by healthcare providers

Bill’s prime sponsor says it will help address healthcare equity and affordability.

File photo
Whole Foods grocery store entrance (Shutterstock)
King County considers grocery store worker hazard pay for those in unincorporated areas

The King County Metropolitan Council will vote during its next meeting on… Continue reading

FILE - This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two  (Johnson & Johnson)
Inslee OKs use of single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The governor acted after receiving the recommendation of a scientific panel enlisted by Western states.

Freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish. File photo
Encouraging numbers for kokanee salmon spawn count

Lake Sammamish kokanee aren’t out of the woods by any stretch, but… Continue reading

In this file photo, Tayshon Cottrell dons his graduation cap and gown, along with a face mask reading: “Wear it! Save America” at Todd Beamer High School’s virtual graduation walk recording on May 20, 2020, in Federal Way. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Law gives Washington high school seniors leeway to graduate

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that can waive some requirements for students who were on track before the pandemic.

File photo
Study shows Washingtonians exceeded ‘heavy drinking’ threshold in 2020

The survey suggests Washingtonians drank more than 17 alcoholic beverages a week on average.

Mercer Island School District first-graders returned to in-person classes on Jan. 19, 2021. Here, Northwood Elementary School students head into the building. Photo courtesy of the Mercer Island School District
Governor: Educators are now eligible for coronavirus vaccine

“This should give educators more confidence,” Jay Inslee said. Other frontline workers could soon be next.

Most Read