Three years into new federal requirement, LAUSD leading the way among the few California districts focused on keeping foster students in their home schools

In the eastern suburbs of Sacramento County, Kamika Hebbert keeps a watchful eye for signs of how an unstable environment affects young minds.

There’s the restlessness that comes with worry about biological parents and siblings. The thousand-mile stare that comes with trauma. The mouthing off and anger that comes with fear of being placed with another family or moved to another group home.

“I’ve had kids who have moved to 17 different schools,” said Hebbert, who helps foster youth stay in classes at the San Juan Unified School District, which includes communities northeast of the state capitol. “And [educators] expect this kid to be present in class and to be there physically, and to be there mentally? Their minds are so worried.”

That goal is personal for Hebbert, who spent time in the foster care system herself as a youngster. While Hebbert’s goal is to help foster youth utilize services and stay in school, preliminary data show that many school districts in California are struggling to live up to a now three-year-old federal requirement to ensure that foster youth have educational stability. Click here to read more: