It’s hard to focus on school when your home life is in turmoil. For children in the foster care system, school might be the last thing on their minds.
“Foster care is a temporary living arrangement for abused, neglected, and dependent children who need a safe place to live when their parents or another relative cannot take care of them.”
While living in foster care, life can be full of challenges. It’s not easy to be taken away from your family, even if they are the ones hurting you. Being separated makes school and life emotionally and developmentally hard.
Statistically speaking, “less than half of foster youth graduate high school on time, and fewer than two percent will earn a four-year degree.” Those numbers are staggering and need to change. Yet, change cannot happen without help. That is what Treehouse aims to do.
Their plan is to ensure that all foster youth graduate from high school at the same rate as their peers by 2017. This ambitious plan is many years in the making.
In 1988, a group of DSHS social workers saw the problems children in the foster care system were having and knew they had to do something about it. Thus, Treehouse was born. They literally washed cars and held bake sales to save a little money to help the children to feel loved and capable.
As more and more people found out about their mission, they donated money for clothes, toys and school supplies—some of what Treehouse provides. They also provide access to extracurricular activities and community resources through the Little Wishes program.
Treehouse works hard to provide educational services. These include advocacy, college and career planning and learning centers around King County. Their new program, Graduation Success, aims to make sure foster kids do not drop out of school and that they all graduate on time.
Part of how they plan to accomplish this is through extensive partnerships with school systems, government agencies, caregivers, social workers, and funders “to change the trajectory of kids in foster care by helping them make it to graduation day and beyond.”