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NEW YORK (PIX11) — Advocates and city leaders pressured the Department of Education Wednesday to fulfill a promise to support students in foster care.

The DOE announced a division dedicated to the needs of students in foster care in December of 2021. City data shows those children are suffering with low graduation rates along with high absenteeism and suspension rates.

Only 43% of students in foster care graduated on time in 2021, 38 percentage points lower than the rate for students not in foster care. More than 20% of New York City students in foster care repeat a grade, compared to only 6% of all DOE students.

Roughly half of students in foster care require special education supports and services. Many don’t get it because of lack of staffing and parental signatures, advocates said.

The average student in foster care misses the equivalent of one-and-a-half months of school each year, and one out of six students in care—including 43% of older students—has an attendance rate of less than 50%, according to data.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said: “It’s our priority to meet all of our students where they are with necessary supports and resources, especially our most vulnerable students. We are excited to start filling positions on this team and proceeding with our commitment to supporting students in foster care. In the meantime, we will continue listening to, learning from, and partnering with ACS, city council, our schools, families, and communities to inform our work ahead.”