October 01, 2017

ABA Endorses Blueprints for Change

The views expressed herein have not been approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association, and accordingly, should not be construed as representing the policy of the American Bar Association.

At the ABA Annual Meeting in August, the ABA House of Delegates adopted Resolution 117C endorsing the Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Children in Foster Care (2007) and the Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System (2016) (collectively, the “Blueprints”). The Blueprints were developed by the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education, a project at the ABA Center on Children and the Law. By endorsing the Blueprints, the ABA calls on state government agencies, courts, and legal practitioners to adopt the principles in both Blueprints to promote education success for children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

The Blueprint addressing children in foster care promotes eight goals that are essential to ensure children in foster care do not get off track in school. These goals focus on:

  • school stability when a child is placed in foster care and when placements change;

  • school readiness for young children;

  • opportunities to participate fully in school programs and activities;

  • efforts to keep children in school and avoid harsh discipline;

  • engaging children in their education planning;

  • identifying adults to support children’s education during their time in foster care; and

  • supports for postsecondary education.

The Blueprint addressing children in the juvenile justice system promotes 10 goals to promote school success for youth placed in the juvenile justice system. The goals focus on ensuring:

  • youth are empowered and engaged in education decisions;

  • adults are identified to support youths’ education goals;

  • school stability is prioritized; 

  • youth receive full access to education opportunities;

  • youth are provided quality education experiences;

  • education environments are safe and positive;

  • youth receive access to high-quality career paths;

  • youth have supports to pursue postsecondary education;

  • smooth transitions exist between school placements and reentry; and

  • protections are in place for marginalized youth.

For extensive resources on education for children in foster care, visit the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education's web site.