The success and well-being of foster youth require ongoing collaboration and partnership between educational and child welfare agencies, and the implementation of the Title I foster care provisions provides a critical opportunity for agencies to work together for the betterment of the nearly 270,000 school-aged children currently in foster care.
In recognition of the importance of educational stability for foster youth, the Title I foster care provisions in the ESEA require that State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) collaborate with State and local child welfare agencies (CWAs) to ensure school stability for children in foster care.
A child in foster care must remain in his or her school of origin if that is determined to be in the child's best interest. If, on the other hand, it is in the child's best interest to be enrolled in a new school, the child must be immediately enrolled, and the new school must promptly contact the school of origin to obtain necessary records. Further, to ensure that a child in foster care remains in his or her school of origin (when it is in the child's best interest), LEAs must develop procedures in collaboration with State and local CWAs that address how transportation to the schools of origin for children in foster care will be provided, arranged, and funded. In addition, for the first time, SEAs and LEAs must report annually on academic achievement and graduation rates for children in foster care as a separate subgroup to show how foster youth are performing relative to their peers. Bringing this crucial data to light will allow SEAs and LEAs to better understand the educational outcomes of foster youth and take appropriate steps to address any deficiencies.