Education is Key
Educational outcomes for children involved in child welfare and juvenile justice systems nationwide are abysmal. Recent research has found that only 50% of foster youth nationally graduate from high school. Only about 5% are likely to earn a four-year college degree. Foster children change schools much more frequently than other students and experience disabilities that impair their learning at much higher rates than their peers. Youth in the justice system face similar challenges and similar outcomes.

SchoolWorks was created in 2002 to address these problems. The program has served over 3,200 children and youth in its first sixteen years of operation and has been very successful in keeping these vulnerable students in school and obtaining the support they need to be successful.

Schoolworks data



SchoolWorks Represents Children and Impacts Systems
Children referred to SchoolWorks are in kindergarten through high school. They are students involved in the foster care and/or juvenile justice systems who are having school-related difficulties in one or more of these areas: they are excluded or are not attending school, are academically behind or have significant behavior problems in school. Juvenile court involvement is a risk factor for future delinquent or criminal behavior, while school success has been shown as an important and effective way to prevent those behaviors.

SchoolWorks advocates work with parents, foster parents, schools and other agencies to make sure these most at-risk students are enrolled in school and receiving the services they need to be successful. Many have been re-enrolled in school, have moved to more appropriate educational settings, have received improved special education or other supportive services, and have had expulsions suspended or averted.

SchoolWorks gets Results

The SchoolWorks program has shown significant success in overcoming the barriers to educational achievement faced by children in foster care and youth in the juvenile justice system. You can read about the types of successes achieved by reading some of the stories of individual children and youth we serve.



We are grateful for the support of these foundations and grant makers who have supported the SchoolWorks program:

  • Portland Children's Levy
  • Wheeler Family Foundation
  • Morgan Family Foundation
  • Joseph E. Weston Public Foundation
  • Spirit Mountain Community Fund
  • Meyer Memorial Trust
  • Oregon Law Foundation
  • The Collins Foundation
  • Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation
  • Portland General Electric (PGE) Foundation
  • Safeco Foundation
  • The Juan Young Trust
  • Templeton Foundation
  • Convergence Networks
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
  • US Bank