New requirements under Title I of the ESEA, as amended by ESSA, highlight the need to provide educational stability for children in foster care, with particular emphasis on collaboration between SEAs, LEAs, and child welfare agencies to ensure that students in foster care have the opportunity to achieve at the same high levels as their peers. These provisions emphasize the importance of limiting educational disruption by keeping children who move in foster care (due to entering the foster care system or changing placements) in their schools of origin, unless it is determined to be in their best interest to change schools. These provisions also ensure that, if it is not in their best interest to remain in their schools of origin, children in foster care are enrolled in their new schools without delay. These provisions promote greater stability for children in foster care so that they can continue their education without disruption, maintain important relationships with peers and adults, and have the opportunity to achieve college and career readiness. This need must be identified through the comprehensive needs assessment and articulated in the campus plan.

ESSA Statute Section 1112 states that each LEA plan shall provide assurances that the LEA will collaborate with the State or local child welfare agency to:

  • designate a point of contact if the corresponding child welfare agency notified the LEA, in writing, that the agency has designated an employee to serve as a point of contact for the LEA
  • develop and implement clear written procedures governing how transportation to maintain children in foster care in their school of origin when in their best interest will be provided, arranged, and funded for the duration of the time in foster care, which procedures will:
    • ensure that students in foster care needing transportation to the school of origin will promptly receive transportation in a cost-effective manner
    • ensure that, if there are additional costs incurred in providing transportation to maintain children in foster care in their schools of origin, the LEA will provide transportation to the school of origin if:
      • the local child welfare agency agrees to reimburse the LEA for the cost of transportation
      • the LEA agrees to pay for the cost of such transportation
      • the LEA and the local child welfare agency agree to share the cost of such transportation

 

Resources

ESSA Non-Regulatory Guidance: Ensuring Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care - June 2016

Legal Center for Foster Care and Education

TEA Foster Care and Student Success - Information and Resources

Foster Care and Student Success - Collaboration

TAA ESSA and the Education of Students in Foster Care - November 2016

State Transportation Allotment Handbook, Section 3

DFPS Points of Contact

ESSA and Foster Care - Implementation Toolkit

Foster Care and Education - Blueprint for Change

Information Sharing Between Child Welfare and Schools

Transition Planning for Students in Foster Care Receiving Special Education Services

 

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