PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Being a foster child for any length of time is no picnic, and can result in lifelong setbacks.

Countering that brought a group of experts together today in Philadelphia.

The meeting of welfare and education professionals was at the School District administration building, inasmuch as educators see the results.

“About 70 percent of the children who are in DHS (Department of Human Services) care were not graduating within a four-year period of time,” Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter told the gathering.  “We have to fix this.”

One fix has been the Education Support Center, where DHS coordinates with the schools and others in a way that, hopefully, creates more family-centered solutions with less overlap and fewer gaps.

But this needs to start early, according to Philadelphia schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman.

“Many of our young people are in foster care even before they get to schools,” she noted.

One concrete suggestion: if a kid has to go to a new home, keep the school the same.  It’s a little less disruptive.

Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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