Wyoming Department of Family Services

Melodie Edwards

The Wyoming Department of Family Services has been working overtime to issue Wyoming families their SNAP food benefits a couple weeks early. That's because with the government saying they'll reopen, but for only three weeks, it's unclear when they'll get benefits again.

A focus on the educational needs of foster kids increased with the implementation of Every Student Succeeds: the federal act that replaced No Child Left Behind. The new guidelines required Wyoming school districts to implement foster care plans. Districts now have foster care liaisons and collaborative agreements with local representatives from the Department of Family Services (DFS).

Wyoming has too many children who are in institutionalized care versus foster care. That’s according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that says 27 percent of kids in state custody end up in group homes of institutions as opposed to foster parents. The national average is 14 percent. 

The report finds that teens in particular are less likely to end up with foster families.  The Casey Foundation’s Tracey Feild says there needs to be a fundamental shift in how the state deals with children who are removed from their homes.

Aaron Schrank

Wyoming spends a lot of money educating its children. The state comes in sixth place in per-student spending for K-12. But when you look at outcomes—like graduation rates—we’re stuck in the middle of the pack. Some educators say the key to boosting student performance is to put more focus on children before they start kindergarten.

There are just over a thousand homeless people in Wyoming, according to the state's annual survey. That's about the same as last year. On the day of the survey, around eighty percent of those people were in shelters.  The other twenty percent were living outside or in a place not meant for human habitation, like a car or an abandoned building.

Most were in Cheyenne, Casper, and Gillette, with a rising homeless population in Laramie.