To boost school success for foster children, California finds you first have to count them

California is embarking on a first-of-its-kind attempt to improve the academic lives of foster youth by giving schools more money to meet their special needs and holding educators accountable for results.

Until now, no state has attempted to identify and track the progress of every foster child in its public schools, much less required school districts to show they are serving them effectively.

That changed in California this month as part of a new school funding formula directing extra dollars to districts based in part on how on how many students they have in foster care.

The state's school systems had to submit plans showing how they intend to increase or improve services for those specific student groups.