26% of foster care students disengaging from school during COVID-19

Treehouse works to find ways to support youth

Nearly 26% of youth in foster care served by Seattle-based Treehouse have disengaged from school during COVID-19.

“More than a quarter of the youth we serve in foster care—26%—have disengaged from school, and there are many other concerning trends,” said Lisa Chin, CEO of Treehouse, in a Aug. 11 news release. “Treehouse will monitor our youth to see if these needs persist, connect youth and young adults with additional services and partner with caregivers, social workers and schools to provide extra support during this time of disruption.”

The nonprofit, which works with more than 8,000 youth in care statewide so they have a childhood and a future, has been tracking the educational impacts of COVID-19. Staff completed surveys in July about the emergent needs since March 15 of 1,126 youth on their caseloads. This is the third survey.

Other key findings:

• 44% of foster and relative caregivers need more support in meeting the educational needs of youth in their homes.

• 37% of students with disabilities (42% of youth in care) have not received special education services.

• 25% of youth in care have lost academic progress as a result of the move to distance learning.

• 22% have one or more unmet basic needs (housing, food, clothing, etc.).

• 11% have experienced a placement change.

• 10% have had IEP (Individualized Education Programs) assessments and meetings delayed.

• 5% have experienced a school change.

In response, Treehouse is working with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to provide guidance and support to school districts. Treehouse also is ramping up to make sure caregivers and social workers have everything they need to navigate distance learning in the new school year.

The organization has been a leading voice advocating with Gov. Jay Inslee on how to spend discretionary funding through the CARES Act to ensure Washington meets all basic and educational needs of children and youth in foster care.

Thanks to contributions from communities throughout the state, Treehouse has funded more than $800,000 in technology and other critical supports since the beginning of the pandemic.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

Washington teacher’s upbeat lesson goes viral on TikTok

A video posted by kindergarten teacher Mackenzie Adams has been viewed more than 10 million times.

King County Metro bus fares resume Oct. 1

Fares were suspended in March due to COVID-19

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Surge in consumer spending eases state budget challenges

A jump in tax collections cuts a projected $9 billion shortfall in half, acccording to new forecast.

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.

Dan Satterberg
Satterberg responds to ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ label by DOJ

Prosecutor refutes allegation that laws are not being enforced in King County

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

Seven decades later, the search for two missing Navy pilots continues

The pilots are thought to have disappeared near Black Lake, northeast of North Bend.

Smoke from Oregon, California fires moving into Western Washington

Unhealthy air expected Thursday night through Saturday

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

Port of Seattle launches task force on Port Policing and Civil Rights

Nine areas of focus will guide effort over several months, recommendations expected in 2021

Stock photo
8 tips to help parents and kids cope during pandemic | UW Medicine

A pediatric social worker offers suggeestions for families, including lowering your heartbeat.