School Readiness in Children in Out-of-Home Care

Katherine Pears & Hyoun K. Kim - Education in Out-of-Home Care


Whether a child enters formal schooling with appropriate school readiness skills—the critical skills necessary to succeed—can influence that child’s academic and psychosocial trajectories throughout the school years. Children who have been placed into out-of-home care (OHC) during their preschool years may show deficits in their school readiness skills that increase their likelihood of academic failure, placement into special education, and leaving school prematurely. This chapter from the book Education in Out-of-Home Care outlines the skills that are necessary for a successful start to formal schooling. We then examine the potential underlying psychosocial and neurobiological mechanisms of the school readiness deficits documented in many young children in foster care. We conclude with evidence from, and suggestions about, an efficacious preventive intervention that may increase these children’s readiness for school and thus place them on positive academic and social trajectories—The Kids In Transition to School (KITS) Program.