How teachers and schools promote educational achievement of children in care

Tuesday 25 March 2014

 Professor Robert Flyn, University of Ottawa

This presentation reviews practice and research on the key role of teachers and schools in promoting greater educational success among children and adolescents in care.  The role of positive messages and high expectations, particularly in primary and secondary schools is discussed, along with ways in which greater access to post-secondary education can be encouraged.  Early lessons will be described from Ontario’s new program of Educational Championship Teams, which bring together community school boards and post-secondary institutions, such as colleges and universities, in an effort to facilitate greater post-secondary access and retention among young people in care.

 Professor Robert Flynn is the director of the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Research on Community Services (CRCS) and a professor in Psychology. He is the driving force behind ‘Looking After Children’, a process for improving and monitoring how well children and adolescents are doing in foster care and group homes. His research deals mainly with positive development and resilience, including school success. ‘Looking After Children’ has been implemented in all 45 Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) in the province. The resilience of children in care (their positive adaptation to abuse or neglect earlier in life) is assessed through their ability to meet indicators in seven domains of positive development which helps social workers, teachers and administrators press for the changes needed. It allows policy-makers – both at individual CASs and in government – to make decisions based on outcomes. Actions that have resulted include raising grade levels through professional tutoring, agreements with school boards to have child welfare workers in the schools and recruiting retired teachers to act as mentors.