Legal Center Excerpt

Solving the Data Puzzle:

A How to Guide on Collecting and Sharing Information to Improve Educational Outcomes for Children in Out-of-Home Care  (excerpts)

Excerpt from page 13:


The Los Angeles Education Coordinating Council (ECC) provides an example of the effectiveness of data matching. Beginning with the colla­boration of seven school districts, the council achieved a preliminary data match for 8,000 children served by the child welfare system and the LA Unified School District. Data was correlated based on names, addresses, genders, and dates of birth of children and youth. The data reviewed included: grade level, atten­dance rates, standardized test scores, state high school exit exam scores, special education services, partici­pation in gifted/talented programs sus­pen­sions, and ELL partici­pation. The data match revealed that youth in the child welfare system demonstrated a pattern of below grade-level school performance and high rates of special education enrollment compared with other children. In a county with an average high school graduation rate of 79%, only 57% of children in the region’s child welfare system graduated.

Excerpt from page 13:


As a result of the data collection efforts undertaken by the Los Angeles Education Coordi­nating Council (ECC) numer­ous innovations are now yielding dramatic results. Created in 2004, ECC established a 25-person Los Angeles county-wide leader­ship council which includes a presiding judge, seven school district super­in­tendents (rep­resen­ting 81 school districts within Los Angeles County) as well probation officers, foster parents and the director of child welfare. All school districts are mandated to parti­cipate in ECC pursuant to a court order issued by the presiding judge of Juvenile Court of Los Angeles.

As one example of the positive results ECC has had, under a pilot program introduced in a growing number of school districts, students adjudicated dependent and/or delinquent participate in the development of an “Education Plan” with input from a multidisciplinary team. The individualized plan (similar to an IEP in concept) encompasses three elements: an assessment of credits and grades; identi­fication of education goals and objectives; and the creation of a realistic transition plan.

The Los Angeles Unified School District also created a “Foster Care Unit” within the district to provide targeted services, such as tutoring and enrichment programs, to over 8,900 children in care. It also developed an “Academic Mentoring Program” for depen­dent and delinquent youth; and outsourced county children and youth administrators and caseworkers to work at schools. School districts have also started to maintain their own databases to track children in their schools adjudicated dependent and/or delinquent. These interventions are working. According to the most recent data, the number of youth adjudicated dependent scoring proficient or advanced on standardized tests has increased by 9.4% in English and 7.5% in Math. Disciplinary rates are also down – decreasing from 16.8% to13.1% for dependent youth and dropping from 77.8% to 48.9% for probationary youth.