Caring Adult with child looking up at them

Opinion

Caring adults foster success

Tanya Tucker, Chief, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships

It’s hard to think of the America’s Promise Alliance’s Five Promises without getting past the first promise: Caring Adults.  In many ways, it’s the cornerstone of everything that we do here. NPR recently posted a blog with the headline, “No Silver Bullet for High School Dropout,” and where I agree, there is no silver bullet, I do think that Caring Adults help inoculate against a lot of factors that keep young people from graduating from high school on time.

May is Foster Care Awareness Month.  And as the month winds down, and graduation season ramps up, it’s important to remember that youth in care are among the 20 percent of students not graduating with their high school class.

In our recent report, “Don’t Call Them Dropouts,” we found that 11 percent of students with interrupted enrollment were youth in care, compared to the 2 percent of those that finished high school on time. We also found that high levels of residential and school instability were a major factor reported among those with interrupted enrollment.

So what can you do? Not everyone has the time nor capacity to become a foster parent. There are several other ways to be a caring adult without fostering or adopting a child. Becoming a Court Appointed Special Agent or a CASA is one way. Mentoring is another. Finally, taking the time to listen and hear what young people have to say is a great start to becoming a resource for young people in your community.

So while asking how a young person is doing today, or spending some extra time tutoring or reading with them is not the silver bullet, it often gives kids a better shot at doing better in life.

Click here to read success stories of youth in care.