SAN ANGELO, Texas — The start of a new school year brings excitement, joy, friends and much more. Students however can sometimes find adapting to a new school to be challenging; add on top of that starting in a new home and they can soon feel overwhelmed.

Some of them have never been to school before. So they’ve been home schooled, things like that. So going into school, moving into a foster home and then going into school is a complete different nerve racking feeling for them” Director of Children’s Hope Rebeka Samples says.

Foster kids and their families are sometimes new to the students specific learning needs, or school in general, and have a hard time getting what they need to start the school year.

Director of the Rainbow Room Ryanne Duryea says, “We always try to have every single thing available for these children during this time, and it’s year round… these children can go to school confidently knowing that they have every single need met.”

But once kids have the right supplies, the challenges don’t stop. Many find it hard to stay on pace with curriculum or learn with others.

Conservatorship Program Director Sylvia Morin of the Department of Family and Protective Services says, “Once they are in foster care if they move quite a bit it sets a kid back four to six months every move. We work with the school and try to meet up and set up meetings with them to determine the level of needs for the children, sometimes children may have not been in school regularly and are not academically where they need to be.”

As an older foster kid in the system, they not only have to juggle school and their present living situation, but also think ahead to their future.

We do also try to educate them on preparing them for adulthood. They get assigned a P.A.L. coordinator which is a preparation of adult living worker, and then that person works with them trying to get them prepared for adult living.” Morin says, “We definitely don’t want our children to age out of care and end up on the streets.”

Morin says that the goal across the board for all foster system employees though, is to keep families together as much as possible.

In the situation there isn’t a way to keep kids with a family member (meaning the child is in eminent danger) that is when they enter the foster system. Rebeka Samples from Children’s Hope says that in the Concho Valley, they are having to send roughly 70% of foster kids out of the immediate area due to a lack in foster families.

To learn how to become a Foster Family, visit: https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Adoption_and_Foster_Care/Get_Started/steps.asp