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Educational Outcomes for Court Dependent Youth in San Mateo County

Sebastian Castrechini
Publication Date: 
November, 2009

This analysis provides a detailed picture of school‐related outcomes for dependent youth. In 2009, a collaborative of agencies that serve foster youth asked researchers from the Gardner Center and The SPHERE Institute to examine school outcomes for court‐dependent youth by matching Child Welfare Services records to school data from four partnering districts in San Mateo County. Between 2003-04 and 2007-08 school years, there were 1,015 students in elementary through high school who were both enrolled in the four partnering districts and who spent time as dependents in the child welfare system. Three key findings emerged as a result of this work: (1) Dependent youth had poorer educational outcomes than non-dependent youth. (2) Longer time in dependency was not necessarily associated with poorer outcomes. (3) There were large differences in educational outcomes across placement types. Because educational success for dependent youth is based on both home and school factors, these findings underscore the need for inter‐agency collaboration among entities that serve dependent youth.  Sharing information on the common youth that agencies serve is a key strategy and can inform collaborative work on system-level policy, individual-level case management, and the implementation of existing mandates. 

Suggested citation: 

Castrechini, S. (2009) Educational outcomes for court dependent youth in San Mateo County.  Stanford, CA: John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities.

Bay Area
Policy area: 
Families, Communities, and Schools