Sunday, April 26, 2009

CPPP: Foster kids face more school discipline

It's not particularly shocking that abused and neglected kids in foster care are more likely to be disciplined in school (and thus more likely to wind up in the juvenile justice system), but according to a new policy paper (pdf) by the Center for Public Policy Priorities, "31 percent of all [Texas] students in foster care received at least one discipline action versus 17 percent of the general student population."

Foster kids are nearly twice as likely to be disciplined as average students, says the group, and they're significantly more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension for misbehavior compared to their peers. Among youth who received discipline, foster kids were half again as likely to engage in "serious/persistent misconduct."

CPPP suggests that, as the kids' managing conservator, the Department of Family and Protective Services may not be doing enough for to assess foster kids' fairly predictable support needs. "Getting more students in foster care who have emotional problems eligible for special education services will not only get them the support they need to do better in school," the paper suggests, "it should improve discipline outcomes as well."

See more in the policy paper (pdf) from CPPP (or as I call them, the Center for too many Ps) on the Texas school disciplinary system and foster care children, including a good overview of the disciplinary process facing Texas youth along the way toward the juvenile justice system.

13 comments:

TexasYellowDog said...

Also, there are thousands of children whose parents rights have not been terminated. These kids may be unjustly held for up to 18 months in uncaring foster homes and are missing the loving concern that only a mothers and fathers can provide. All this while DFPS makes parents jump through poorly defined hoops and refuses to admit any mistakes. The courts rubber stamp these outrages, and the best legal help is impotent before the power of the system. It's not just actually abused children with these problems.

Ralph said...

Maybe the REASON they are foster kids is that they are so BAD that their OWN PARENTS don't want to deal with them.

I mean, yeah I know it is not PC to say such a thing and I could never see giving up my perfect little snowflake but you have to admit such a scenario is possible.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Ralph, it's not a question of being PC, you're speaking from ignorance. You can't drop a kid off in foster care like you take a dog to the pound when you decide you don't want to keep it. By definition you're talking about kids the state has seized because they were "abused or neglected."

Anonymous said...

Grits, terrific report, thanks for posting it.

BB

Anonymous said...

Many times, abused and neglected kids are significant behavior problems. It should not be a surprise that they are disciplined more often...

Anonymous said...

Smeone should do a study to determine if the kids of parents who question the dsciplinary system are then disciplined more harshly than others.

Anonymous said...

They are probably not disciplined more harshly, but more often. Usually, when you have parents that question authority, there kids have a tendency to question authority.

Anonymous said...

Questioning authority will keep you from being led to the gas chamber as the old survivors would say. Blanket seizing of children from their parents and covering the Gestapo tactics with a retarded system is wrong. We don’t all have to be like sheep being led astray, question authority, be respectful, and if the authority in question is wrong, they will be asinine about your questioning them. That’s just human nature with these hall monitor types. Tell the parent whose kid gets suspended from school for beating the crap out of three kids, older that flunked a grade or two, who tried to take his kids lunch money in the bathroom, not to question authority. It’s school policy to suspend a kid for fighting, even if defending himself from 3 older boys trying to rob him. The cops got involved and the parent was told that he is lucky his kid wasn’t taken to jail. Man o man there is some authority in dire need of questioning, especially how they were raised. Always question authority because the chances are if you are a kid in Texas, whoever has authority over you needs to be questioned. They themselves may have been beat down for questioning so the submissive becomes the aggressor on the week, our children. It becomes a situation where the authority figures are nothing more blind sheep following a retarded policy who will become asinine when questioned. Question, question, question, but be respectful, it’s not nice to make fun of handicap people, even if its mentally handicap.
Sheldon tyc#47333 II c/s

Anonymous said...

Those stats should be no surprise. Data shows that children from chaotic environments are more likely to have behavior problems. Children from normal loving homes are not routinely taken from their parents. Yes, I know it can happen because it happened to my cousin and her husband and it was awful. However, it is more likely that youth needing to be removed are not, and that is gut wrenching. Naturally, statistics, common sense and reason will tell you children from screwed up homes, as is most often the case wth foster kids, are often screwed up. All children, need love, discipline and guidance and it's a tragedy when they don't get those things. However, we don't do them any favors when we overlook or make excuses for their behavior problems based on their circumstances in life. As a matter of fact, I think we do them great harm, because they still have to learn those important life skills if they are to ever be successful.

Anonymous said...

To 11:03:

Lucky for you I am not a school administrator and I don't have the authority to issue you a citation for posting an opinion which is not in agreement with mine. It might be a good experience for you because you would get to hear a judge announce to everyone in the court that about half of the tickets issued by the schools get dismissed by the prosecutor. Of course, you have to make an appointment during the middle of the day and tell him what happened. And you would get to hear others in and around the courtroom talk about their charges, like shooting a spitball, chewing gum and falling asleep in class. And then you would get to see the prosecutor walk in the room for your appointment and immediately hold his hands up in the air (like "I give up") and apologetically tell you he read what happened and you don't even have to say a word, it is dismissed because it was not an offense.

To Sheldon:

If it ever comes down to the revolution I expect, can I be on your team?

And with regards to the topic of foster kids (and every other kid) and school discipline:

It is my understanding that suspensions from the campus should be applied as a means of protection/safety for the student body and the faculty. Key words: should, protection/safety. It probably varies among districts and campuses, but to suspend a kid for 3 days for skipping a class is absurd. The punishment for the crime being more of the crime itself. Back in my day, you skipped school, you got more school. Why the change? Could it be because they can?

So what exactly are these kids getting suspended for? Are they assaulting others or selling drugs or packing pistols? Or are they riding skateboards on the sidewalk by the street at 4:30 p.m.?

Nevertheless, whatever they are suspending for, it seems they are doing it more often to the foster kids. Oh, well....

Anonymous said...

I know the system doesn't work right but people sure put a great deal of faith in the good all government. I believe that the government has murdered any ability to apply common sense and reason to anything. With CPS there are so many instances where children should have been removed from can't be because of the rules. I see the impact today on some children that should have been removed from their homes 15 years ago. I see those children's names in the paper for assault, prostitution, possession, theft, injury to a child. I seem them out on the streets in the small town in which I live dealing drugs openly, with their own chldren in tow. Those poor girls mother's were prostituting them out for drugs. They lived in environments that most people couldn't even imagine. I met those little girls when they came in to our clinic with STD's. They ranged in age from 10 to 13 when they each came in for the first time. They were dirty, malnourished. Most were developmentally delayed physically and mentally. They were abused and neglected and nothing could be done about it. We tried to do what we could for the girls without overstepping boundaries but the damage was done. One of the girls ended up stealing 150.00 from my purse. I wanted my money back but I didn't want to throw the book at her. The police helped me, and we got most of the money back and that was all that was done. We thought we were helping by giving her a break. Maybe we did, maybe we didn't. There were so many forces working against her and the other girls. Their lives are filled wth trouble and chaos and I don't know if there was a chance for their lives to be any different and now they are passing the same life onto another generation. So many tragic situations with no easy answers. I know this, there are people out there that want to help and there are people out there wanting to exploit. It's so hard, if not impossible to take the place of a parent. It's hard enough to raise your own, when you are trying to do all the right things. Taking in foster children is quite lucrative for some people, for others it is a labor of love. Of course these children often have behavior problems. Not all, but most of them usually do. Behavior problems need to be addressed in schools, period. That means any child from any background. Unfortunately, nowadays many schools operate on a different system. School officials cater to the children of influential parents. By influential, I mean scary parents that threaten physical harm and or lawsuits, popular parents in the community and or parents with monetary and or political influence. Money is a huge factor, but often, administrators fear accusations of racism, abuse etc. whether the parents have money or not, as long as the threat is there. For some reason, these days, many parents do not want their children to be disciplined, to lose, to compete, to have too much homework or practice if involved in sports. They don't want them to pray or say the pledge or anything like that. They will fight to ban any voluntary christian groups, and at the same time welcome atheists(I believe it's freedom of religion not from religion). They will support lessons on birth control, but not abstinance. Go figure, I'm for children gaining all kinds of knowledge and learning how to think critically, not just in a way that is p.c. Values are just about considered evil. I'm talking universal values, like being kind, humane, polite, respectful, responsible etc. I don't get it. Those are the parents that schools fear. On the other hand, children with parents who are not interested or involved get whammied in one way or another. What's sadly missing are parents who land in the middle. They are interested and concerned and want their children to get a good education and be treated fairly, not specially. Overall they support an orderly classroom where learning can take place. No child should be exempt from discipline when necessary or praise when truly justified. An unruly classroom is totally unfair to kids who want to learn, whoever they are. What about those children? I think they are the one who are being treated unfairly these days.

Anonymous said...

All children who get in trouble no matter how serious probably have very good reasons or excuses for their behavior and should be forgiven and allowed to punish whoever they blame for their actions however they see fit, esecially if they are adults. That will take care of everything.

Anonymous said...

To 4:32:

Excellent post. Way too many issues in there for me to post on, especially since you have done such a good job of it.

Let me just mention something further for foster parents or prospective foster parents with regard to the public schools. It probably varies among districts, but you may have more of an opportunity to shop around than you may realize and I have found these campuses can vary a great deal on their methods.

I found a campus which is a magnet school for mainstreaming handicapped kids and they have a completely different program for discipline. They have after school detention every day and the very day they do something, they call you and tell you not to pick them up until 5:00 pm. My son did not do his homework one day, got assigned to it and he has never done that or anythng else that would result in that again. See how that works? I'll take that over bogus pink slips that makes me want to go postal!

Don't just put them on the most convenient campus because when you factor in these suspensions and shuffling around to courts and alternative campuses it may not work out to be so convenient.

By the way, my son is not handicapped. He is actually very high IQ. He spends much of his class time tutoring others. He would benefit a great deal from the advanced academics offered at other campuses, but the other stuff is just not worth it.