Track: Educational Success
Commitment: Partnering with Purpose
North Star: Strategic Partnerships

Level of Learning: Doer

Spotlight on Colorado Workshop

Through youth voice and research, presenters will illustrate the educational experience of foster youth, which is marked by frequent school changes, poor educational outcomes, and low graduation rates. Presenters will discuss the key role of the partnership between Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Department Human Services, and the University of Denver in developing sound policy and practice recommendations for education and child welfare professionals. The presentation will also address challenges and lessons learned during implementation.  

Learning Objectives

  • The key role of inter-agency and university partnerships in making systems change
  • Key findings of educational outcomes for foster youth
  • How the data has contributed to sound policy and practice changes in Colorado  


  • Kristin Melton, youth services manager Colorado Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division
  • Elysia Clemens, deputy drector,Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab
  • Kristin Myers, state coordinator of foster care education, Colorado Department of Education

Kristin Melton
Youth Services Manager
Colorado Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division

Kristin Melton is the youth services manager at the Colorado Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division. She She oversees youth services in child welfare, Chafee, the Tony Grampsas Youth Services Program, and the Statewide Youth Development Plan. She serves as the primary point of contact for DCW for educational issues for youth in foster care. Melton holds a bachelor’s in history and political science from Warren Wilson College and a juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Elysia Clemens
Deputy Director
Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab

Elysia Clemens is the deputy director of the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab at the University of Denver. Clemens partnered with Colorado Department of Education and Colorado Department of Human Services to conduct longitudinal research on the interplay between placement changes, school moves, and educational outcomes for youth who have experienced foster care. This researcher-practitioner partnership has been highlighted as a national model by U.S. Department of Education, Data Quality Campaign, and the Administration for Children and Families.

Kristin Myers
State Coordinator of Foster Care Education
Colorado Department of Education

Kristin Myers is the state coordinator for foster are education at the Colorado Department of Education. In this role, she works with K-12 public schools and districts to help students in foster care to excel academically, complete courses, and create a path that will lead to post-secondary success. She has 15 years in education, primarily in school counseling. She has a master’s in school counseling and is all but dissertation in the counselor education and supervision doctorate program at the University of Northern Colorado.