Education: Adoption vs. Foster Care

It’s that time of year again: new backpacks, notepads, pens and pencils. As kids around the country prepare to say good-bye to summer vacation and get back to school, we thought there no better time to talk about just that: getting an education.

 

In a 2006 paper titled “The Value of Adoption”, Mary Hansen of American University explains that the human services cost of adoption is about half the cost of long-term foster care for children whose birth parents’ rights have been terminated. Specifically in relation to education, she notes the following statistics about children who are adopted from foster care, compared to those who remain in foster care:

 

- Their educational progress improves by 50%
- They are 21% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school.
- They are 23% more likely to complete a GED or high school education.
- They are referred to special education half as often.

 

When it comes to college, there are all kinds of programs in place to help adopted children pay for their education. The idea is that parents who adopt older children from foster care odo not have as many years to save for the child’s college education—which makes sense.

 

For example, youth who are adopted from the foster care system at age 16 or older may be able to access Education and Training Voucher (ETV) assistance, which provides up to $5,000 per year for youth who are in college or at an accredited vocational or technical training program. Visit the Foster Care to Success website for more information.

 

Likewise, children who were adopted from foster care at age 13 or older are considered on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be an independent student, which means they don’t have to count family income and are more likely to qualify for financial aid. Check out this Voice for Adoption fact sheet for more information.

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

 

Sources:http://w.american.edu/cas/economics/repec/amu/workingpapers/1506.pdf, http://www.nacac.org/adoptionsubsidy/factsheets/tuition.html

 

Back to school!

It’s not hard to find a reason to love kids—but one of our favorites is their ambition and ability to dream—and dream big. Unlike many of us “old fogies”, kids haven’t been tainted by society’s cynicism. They don’t worrying about the social norm or the likelihood of whether they will succeed. The result? An open window into their interests and ambitions. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

As kids across the country head back to school later this month, we asked some of the children in the South Carolina Heart Gallery what they want to be when they grow up. Here’s what they had to say:

 

Ashly

“I like singing, dancing, and acting. When I grow up I want to go to Juilliard.”

-Ashly, 15 years old

 

Deon

“I want to be a computer person and know all about computer technologies.”

-Deon, 14 years old

 

Javonte

“What I want to be when I grow up is an architect, a contractor, a singer and a famous rapper.”

-Javonte, 13 years old

 

William

“I want to play in the NBA. If that doesn’t come through, I want to be a mechanic. I love cars.”

-William, 16 years old

 

Kyle

“What I’m going to do when I grow up is be a beta tester. The college I might be going to is down in Florida, Full Sail University.”

-Kyle

 

Bernard

“When I grow up I want to be a lawyer. If I’m going to get into an argument, I have to have all of the facts first.”

-Bernard, 14 years old

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

 

 

Still Much to Be Done

From January to May of this year, the South Carolina Heart Gallery photographed 81 children. It held over 150 photo exhibitions around the state, and it received and screened nearly 450 inquiries through the website.

 

Yet, there is still much to be done—as the demand to photograph children is only rising.

 

There are 660 children waiting to be adopted in the state of South Carolina. Thanks to the success of the S.C. Heart Gallery and the support of the S.C. Heart Gallery Foundation, more and more of these children are being photographed to be included in the Gallery.

 

Interest in our Greenville, S.C. photo shoot, for example, grew to include so many children that staff at the S.C. Heart Gallery decided to hold it over two days. Other upcoming photo sessions in Conway and Orangeburg are seeing similarly high demand.

 

Seeking Photographers

 

Obviously key to these photo shoots are the professional photographers who volunteer their time to capture these children’s portraits, which are then displayed in public venues around the state to raise public awareness of the need for adoptive families.

 

To continue to meet this increasing demand, the S.C. Heart Gallery is always looking to increase the number of photographers it can call upon to volunteer at these photo shoots.

 

Support Child Videos

 

In addition, at each upcoming photo shoot select children will also have the opportunity to appear on video, with the footage used to create their individual child profile video. All these videos are available on the S.C. Heart Gallery Foundation’s channel on Vimeo—allowing potential adoptive families to digitally “meet” these children and explore a deeper connection with them than that provided by still photography. Each of these individual child videos costs approximately $250 to produce and distribute.

 

How You Can Help

 

If you are a professional photographer who is interested in volunteering your time to help find forever homes for our state’s waiting children, please contact Millie Qualls, Program Coordinator of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, at mqualls@oepp.sc.gov.

 

If you would like to support the production of individual child videos, please click on the large blue “DONATE” button on our website.

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.