National Datasheet 2022

For almost two decades, momentum has grown at the federal, state, and local levels to prioritize the educational needs of students in foster care. There has also been an increase in research, and collecting and reporting on data at the national, state, and local levels to evaluate how students in foster care are doing educationally. A growing body of research now reflects the educational needs and significant educational challenges of this group of students. We also have expanded federal and state laws that provide rights and protections for students in foster care, and many emerging and promising programs and interventions that address a range of factors influencing disparities in education outcomes. Below you can access the following:

Exploring Education Outcomes: What Research Tells Us: a comprehensive review and summary of current research findings, with detailed endnotes and full list of references used to compile the summary.
Fast Facts: Data At A Glance: a quick national summary of student outcome data, including some key AFCARs data that can impact on educational outcomes.
Fast Facts: Data At A Glance, State Data Template: a quick national summary of student outcome data that allows a state to input their own data or identify places where further study or information gathering is needed on the state level.
Key Federal Laws: Supporting Students in Foster Care: a summary of federal laws supporting improved education outcomes for students in foster care.

These resources can individually or collectively inform advocates, policymakers, agency leaders, and other key stakeholders. With continued cross-system collaboration and improvements in implementation of federal and state laws and policies, advocates are positioned to build on what is being learned, bring about change, and promote success for all children and youth in foster care.


These publications are built upon information that has been collected and released since 2006 as part of numerous editions of the National Datasheet. The first edition of the National Datasheet, released in 2006, included a limited, but consistent, group of research studies, all depicting the poor educational outcomes of students in foster care, and raising awareness about the critical importance of prioritizing education for students in foster care. Between 2006 and 2018, the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education (a project of the American Bar Association, Center on Children and the Law), in partnership with the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education (National Working Group), released several revised editions of this National Datasheet. We are grateful to our current and past philanthropic partners, including Casey Family Programs, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Stuart Foundation, as well as numerous National Work Group members, who have provided information over many years to make this resource a valuable compilation of data, research, and promising interventions.

In 2021, the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education, worked to simultaneously create tools to support California stakeholders (through generous support from the Los Angeles County Office of Education) and to update and release this 2022 edition of the National Datasheet.

Create tools to support California stakeholders