Passports to Success

Assuring Positive Educational Experiences
For Children in Out-of-home Care

Welcome to "Passports to Success"


Thanks for helping us test the Passports program. To help us assess the effectiveness of this resource, please take a pre-assessment here.

When you have completed the pre-test, you will not be given your score or the correct answers. However, at the end of the second module, “The Child Welfare System,” you will be given a post-test. After you’ve completed the post-test, you will get feedback on your answers and the correct answers.

Education is extremely important to a child's life. The majority of any child's time is spent in school, in extracurricular activities and in preparing for school.

But children in out-of-home care struggle to succeed. The combination of obstacles these students face is unique to them, and studies have consistently shown achievement gaps between children in out-of-home care and the general population.

Schools, child welfare agencies and the courts all have a role in creating a path for these children. This course will show you what it means to be a child in out-of-home care, and how you as a teacher or school staff member can help these children excel in school.

Do you know...

Children in front of state capitol building

Have you heard the perspective of children in out-of-home care?

Use the audio player below to listen to a poem - a personal experience shared by a young woman who was in out-of-home care as a student. You will have a chance to hear voices like this throughout the course. You can also view a transcript of this poem below.

“I Am From...”


“I Am From...”

I am from chunky mashed potatoes,
A long line of strong women named Margaret,
Days of using care bears as a moral compass,
Playing titanic on my water bed,
And standing in line for the newest beanie babies at 5 a.m.

I am from “someday you’ll understand”,
Running away from home to a snow fort in the front yard with a bag of fruit roll ups and a cup of apple juice
Wishing she would divorce him already. And when she finally did, understanding why she didn’t
I am from placements spent trying to protect my little sister, breaking down with the realization that I couldn’t
Guardian ad litems, specialists, and successful scapegoats for abuse like parental alienation, Munchhausen’s, and father’s rights.

I am from a mom trying so hard to get someone to listen, and her desperate pleas only playing like putty in their hands
I came from so many people with so much power who knew so little
Reading three books a day, adopting other’s stories when my own was too painful.

I am from the closet that housed too many skeletons,
Therapists, I statements, renewal centers and pie communication
I am from a daddy who was hospitalized for wanting to kill me as an infant, later being hospitalized for wanting to kill myself at thirteen. What a beautiful family tradition.
Crying, panic attacks, pills, self-injury, apologies and the realization my family defined broken home.

I am from being snatched without warning wearing Christmas socks and flip-flops,
Put in a group home, then becoming a foster kid and second-class citizen.
Only real family gets real dishes, as they set down the paper plate in front of me.
Regular late night talks with my foster sister, and we became each other’s family,
I am a ward of the state, returned home at seventeen,
Night classes three days a week on top of high school and a job to graduate with my peers.

I am from a scholarship and a whim leading me to college, figuring out what it feels like to be able to focus on school for the first time ever, and liking it.
I am from the Wisconsin Youth Advisory Council, motivated to change the foster care system, shocked that my experiences and opinions are valid and critical to influential grown ups.
It’s not perfect, my room is never clean, I skip classes sometimes, I’m always poor, I don’t pay as much attention to my pug as I should, I make bad choices with men. They are my choices, though, and I have never been given that before.

I am from another scholarship, an internship, and being so happy I can’t believe I came so close to missing all of this.

Christmas Socks and Flip Flops painting by author of the poem.

This training has been created in cooperation with:

University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Social Work
Wisconsin Department of Children & Families

Click the Next button at the right below to continue.


Next →