The Children’s Project will open a grades 7-12 residential charter school in Santa Barbara County to serve teenagers in foster care. Organizers plan a “year-round, academically rigorous program within a community of support, stability, and continuity.”
Donors have provided money to buy a rural site, which will include housing for students, faculty and for seniors who will act as foster grandparents. Currently, there are few families in the county willing to take in teenagers who require foster care; most are sent out of the county.
At the California Charter Schools Conference yesterday, one of the founders told me they’d decided to start their own charter school at the residential facility after reading my book, Our School. I was moved.
Foster children who “age out” at 18 tend to do very poorly in life with high rates of welfare dependency, incarceration and homelessness. It’s estimated only 54 percent complete high school and 2 percent earn a college degree.