Donate Now

About Us

There are approximately half million children and youth experiencing foster care in the United States. Taken from their families because they have experienced abuse or neglect, these children are bounced from home to home and school to school. Frequently without the proper on-going educational supports that begin as soon as they enter the public foster care system, their outcomes are heartbreakingly poor. Communities across America desperately need improved strategies to better serve this population of vulnerable youngsters.

Birdsong Farm Education Center seeks to change these dismal realities by fostering education innovation which ensures children and youth placed in our child welfare system receive the year-round educational opportunities, supports and services they need to succeed in school.

Recent studies have found that students placed in foster care have some of the poorest educational outcomes of any group of learners nationwide: they are more likely to perform below grade level, to have been held back, to drop out of high school and to have higher rates of absenteeism and disciplinary referrals than their peers.

In addition, nearly 25,000 young Americans "age out" of our public foster care system alone and at risk for homelessness, unemployment, incarceration, teen parenting, lives of poverty and the recipients of public assistance.

Our opportunity

Mounting evidence shows that all students - no matter their background or circumstances - can excel under the right conditions. Birdsong Farm is creating these conditions. Our goals are to attract and retain great foster care competent teachers, develop best practice models for educating students placed in foster care and provide students with a dynamic hands-on curriculum all year long.

Birdsong Farm is committed to being a catalyst for the critical changes our education system needs to better serve our nation's children in foster care.

Birdsong Farm Mission:

Our primary mission is to harness the power of year-round experiential learning to raise the educational achievement levels of students who have experienced foster care.

Birdsong Farm Vision:

One day all children and youth who have been removed from their homes and placed in foster care will have access to high quality, year-round learning experiences which help them achieve mastery in core subjects, stimulate their hopes and dreams for the future, And help them develop as lifelong learners, citizens and leaders.

Common educational challenges facing foster youth:

  • Enrollment in school
  • Failure to receive transportation
  • Lack of academic planning
  • Missing records or credits
  • Need for supplementary education services
  • Poor grades or attendance
  • Post-secondary planning and preparation
  • School discipline issues
  • Unmet special education needs

Our Approach: The Birdsong Farm Approach is to give every child in America who has experienced foster care a chance to succeed. To accomplish this we need:

Visionary leadership. Visionary leadership from all Birdsong Farm partners provide the framework for year-round success, so that every child at Birdsong Farm can excel.

A Trauma Informed Learning Community. Research shows that having excellent teachers three years in a row can help overcome the effects of poverty - the root cause of foster care. For students with trauma histories, having great teachers who are trauma competent is critical as well.

At Birdsong Farm teachers are trauma informed. They support year-round learning in hands-on classrooms: barns, gardens, farm stands, indoor riding rings, horse stalls, product kitchens & kennels.

An environment that fosters excellence & increases success.

To transform educational outcomes for our nation's youngsters placed in foster care, we need many pieces to come together to form compelling new approaches.

Birdsong Farm is purposefully building an integrated network of collaborators who leverage their expertise and resources to build a Hub of Education Innovation.