Agencies raising awareness about foster children, education as school year kicks off

As students head back to the classroom, there's one group that has it a bit harder than the rest, foster children. 

52% of 19-year-olds leave the Texas foster care system without a high school diploma or GED, that's according to

RELATED: Houston foster agency stresses need for new foster homes post the COVID-19 pandemic

While many students are excited about the new school year, this is often a time of dread and anxiety for foster children.  

"Kids in care don't have the more expensive clothes or shoes that other kids might have, they can't get their hair done every day or a style that they may like. Nowadays, a lot of kids don't like to go to school, because of bullies or being the new kid," said Terinisha Vann, the foster and adoption supervisor with Arms Wide Adoption Services in Houston.

Vann says in addition to not fitting in and dealing with trauma, one of the main issues holding foster children back is moving from foster to foster home, which also means moving from school to school. 

"It sets them back a lot, because every district is on a different curriculum, so maybe they took a class they don't need in the next district, or maybe they don't have enough credits in the new district," Vann explained. 

MORE: Single parent foster homes welcomed, needed as foster parent shortage impacts Harris Co.

She says transferring credits can be difficult, and in many cases, foster youth are forced to repeat a grade, or they just drop out due to embarrassment. Vann says getting more people to open up their homes is a good start to bridging this gap.  

"Our agency is out in the community trying to recruit new families, because there is a lack of foster parents here in Texas," said Vann. 

Other local foster agencies say they're working directly with the school districts and setting up education teams to help emphasize the importance of foster children furthering their education. 

RELATED: 'It takes a village': Foster agencies calling on community to step up for foster children over 8-years-old

Local agencies are reminding the community that there are so many foster children, especially those ages 12 and up who need good homes and parents.

Follow this link if you'd like more information on how to become a foster parent.