Kids in School Rule! Makes a Difference for Foster Children

Weir2010We are two weeks away from our annual Celebration of Dreams event, an agency celebration for the foster children in our care who overcame great obstacles to graduate high school this year.

We have more than 40 names on the list this year. For many, it will be the only graduation party they experience.

They deserve more than we can ever give. It is an amazing accomplishment for many of these teens that they stuck it out and graduated high school. Foster children are often separated from the only family they know and love, their neighborhood and friends, and the only schools they have ever attended.

We have a great program that helps them succeed despite these challenges. The Kids in School Rule! program is a collaboration to promote improved education outcomes for students in Cincinnati Public Schools who are either in the custody of our agency or under agency protective supervision.

Launched in 2008 and implemented in all CPS schools in 2012, KISR! is a partnership between:

  • Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Hamilton County JFS
  • Hamilton County Juvenile Court
  • Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati

Seeking to promote stability, consistency and valuable opportunities for our foster children, the objectives of the program are aligned with research demonstrating that a strong school connection can have a powerful impact on the futures of children in the child protection system.  KISR! transcends barriers that typically exist between child welfare and educational systems.

The program seeks to boost education outcomes for KISR! students through:

  • Increased school stability
  • Improved coordination among systems
  • Improved direct communication about individual students
  • Reduced disruptions and removals from school for discipline or other reasons

It works. Over three years, 97 percent of eligible KISR! students graduated. Disciplinary referrals were down 50 percent this year and 80 percent of students attended class at a 90 percent rate or above.

We believe the program was the first of its kind nationally and is now a model or others.

I really appreciate our employees and partners who make this program possible. When you see the happy face of one of our graduating seniors this year, know that a team of people likely played a part in that accomplishment, including our Kids in School Rule! team.

It is a program that makes a difference.

by Jane Prendergast

Filed Under: From the Director, News

Tagged: adoption, celebration of dreams, Children's Services, foster care, foster child kids in school rule!, hamilton county department of job and family services, hamilton county job and family services, moira weir