Kathleen McNaught

Director, Education Projects

Kathleen McNaught

Kathleen McNaught

Image: Mitch Higgins, American Bar Association

Contact Kathleen McNaught

Bringing her passion for improving education advocacy for children in foster care, Kathleen directs the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education at the Center. This collaboration with  two other leading national organizations is promoting school success for children in foster care nationwide through practice and policy reform.

Kathleen works closely with states and local jurisdictions to help them overcome education barriers for children in care. She is most proud of efforts that have prompted significant federal and state legislative changes and local policy and practice improvements. Some highlights: including school stability provisions in the federal Fostering Connections Act, and gaining greater access to school records by child welfare agencies through a federal law amendment.

The author of several Center books on education barriers for children in foster care and issues facing older youth transitioning from care, Kathleen finds writing a good forum to create momentum around education issues for children in care. She takes pride in translating complicated “child welfare and education speak” into easily understandable language. The Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Children in Foster Carehas become a cornerstone publication offering states a framework to identify areas for reform. “This framework can guide an assessment of strengths and gaps in how agencies and systems respond to education needs for children in care,” said Kathleen. “With that information, improvements can be made to better serve children and youth.” 

Kathleen merges her background as a legal aid attorney for children in Maryland and in private practice representing parents and children in child welfare, education, delinquency and custody matters with her current work. She draws on this background when called upon to guide complex conversations across systems, and identify issues to resolve education barriers for children in care.