Improving Educational Outcomes for Florida's Children in Foster Care

45 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2018

See all articles by Kele Stewart

Kele Stewart

University of Miami - School of Law

Andrea Moore

Florida’s Children First

Date Written: July 1, 2007


For every child, education is critical to self-sufficiency and personal fulfillment. For the 29,000 children in out-of-home care in Florida,positive school experiences can counter traumatic family lives and the anxiety of being removed from home. Yet, the unique educational needs of these children are often neglected by the child welfare and school systems. Numerous studies show that children in out-of-home care perform significantly worse than their peers in school.

This study examines implementation of a 2004 Florida law aimed at addressing this problem. Section 39.0016 requiring the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Education (DOE), as well as DCF regions and local school districts, to enter interagency agreements addressing the educational needs of children in out-of-home care. Collaboration between the child welfare and school systems, as well as other agencies involved with the child, is the cornerstone of section 39.0016. Schools and child welfare officials share responsibility for making sure foster children are educated.

The researchers submitted public records requests to all 67 counties, and only 39 counties provided copies of their agreements. The report analyzes these agreements, catalogs and compares key provisions from each county, and shares promising practices from some agreements.

The findings suggest that while the passage of section 39.0016 was an important step in tackling this complex issue, the law has not yet lived up to its potential throughout the state.

Keywords: Education, Foster Care, Child Welfare

Suggested Citation

Stewart, Kele and Moore, Andrea, Improving Educational Outcomes for Florida's Children in Foster Care (July 1, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Kele Stewart (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States

Andrea Moore

Florida’s Children First ( email )

Coral Spring, FL
United States

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