Making a connection: school engagement of young people in care



Intervention to improve educational attainment for children in out-of-home care is increasingly being recognized as important for their well-being and future opportunities. This paper reports on a mixed method study of the school engagement or connectedness of young people in care. The study comprised a survey of 202 young people in care in Queensland, Australia, and a matched comparison group of young people not in care, plus interviews with a subset of 65 young people in care who were surveyed. Both the school environment and the perceived levels of support influenced school engagement, with those who were assisted by carers and caseworkers more likely to be positively connected with school. These young people perceived education as a pathway to achieving work and life goals. The findings suggest that active and focused attention on young people's school engagement should be part of case planning and monitoring as it offers an additional strategy for improving their educational experience.