May is National Foster Care Month and the Lucas County Juvenile Court has received a $500,000 grant to help foster youth do better in school.
Lucas County Juvenile Court is one of 10 sites in the nation awarded the Child Welfare - Education
System Collaborations to Increase Educational Stability grant through the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Many local leaders attended a press conference at the Lucas County Juvenile Court to discuss how the partners plan to work together, including judges, Toledo Public Schools interim superintendent Dr. Romules Durant, and executive director of Lucas County Children Services Dean Sparks.
Judge Denise Navarre Cubbon says one of the highlights of the grant application is the productive collaboration between the agencies in Lucas County.
"We do a very good job at having a common conversation, and a productive conversation, about what our children and our families need, to help them improve their lives so they can be successful," she said.
The grant funds the Lucas County Pathways to Success Initiative, which focuses on improving the educational outcomes of youth in foster care. It has also allowed the court to hire a project director, and a consultant in trauma. They will also use the funds to have consultants look at their programming.
This initiative will highlight a variety of practices and approaches, such as:
-Maintaining placement and school enrollment when doing so would be in the child's best interest.
-Providing transportation when necessary for a child to remain in his or her original school.
-Equipping teachers, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Guardian Ad Litems, court personnel and other community stakeholders with the skills necessary to address the unique needs of youth in foster care.
-Developing systematic, accurate and efficient means for identifying foster youth across agencies.
-Expanding mediation services to increase placement stability for youth in foster care.
The initiative will serve youth in foster care ages 10-17, who are at risk of academic failure as a result of educational mobility, placement instability, delinquent and unruly behavior, as well as other challenges associated with foster care experiences of youth.