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Foster Care

Western Heights Public Schools is committed to providing all students with sound educational experiences. The district recognizes that foster children are at an increased risk of grade retention, gaps in academic achievement, low high school graduation rates, and post-secondary enrollment. Our intent is to promote greater stability for children in foster care, thereby facilitating continuity of education without disruption, maintaining important relationships with peers and adults, and promoting the opportunity to achieve college and career readiness.

The district foster care plan may be found here.

INTENT AND PURPOSE

Children in foster care often and inadvertently change schools, which along with enrollment delays and record transfers can have a significant disruptive impact on their academic progress. Studies have shown that children in foster care face an increased risk of grade retention, gaps in academic achievement, low high school graduation rates, and postsecondary enrollment.

Recognizing these adverse educational outcomes, the new foster care provisions under Title I of ESSA require State Educational Agencies (SEAs) and LEAs to collaborate with Child Welfare Agencies (CWAs) to ensure educational stability and minimize educational disruptions for children in foster care.
Among other provisions, the educational stability includes assurances that (1) a child in foster care will remain in the child’s school of origin, unless a determination is made that it is not in the child’s best interest to remain in that school and (2) if a determination is made that it is not in the child’s best interest to remain in the school of origin, the child will be immediately enrolled in the school of residence, even if the child is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment. These will help ensure that children in foster care experience minimal disruption to their education during moves and placement changes.

In implementing these provisions, SEAs, LEAs, and CWAs must ensure compliance with other applicable laws, such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), among others. Taken in totality, 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.

Foster care children may be brought to school for enrollment by their foster care parents, social workers or other legal guardians, the child shall be immediately enrolled in the school of residence by the child’s foster parent or the child’s caseworker. To prevent educational discontinuity, enrollment must not be denied or delayed for children in foster care.  Any student who lives with a foster family in the district, or moves out of district but has previously been enrolled in the district shall retain their enrollment.

The receiving school shall immediately contact the school last attended by any such child to obtain relevant academic and other records.

The district will obtain the following guardianship or legal custody documents for verification by the foster family or CWA:

  1. Power of attorney
  2. Affidavit
  3. Court Order

The Superintendent will designate a Point of Contact (POC) to coordinate activities relating to the District’s provision of services to children placed in foster care, including transportation services.

The District will collaborate with Child Welfare Agencies when transportation is required to maintain children placed in foster care in a school of origin outside their usual attendance area or the district when in the best interest of the student. Under the supervision of the Superintendent/designee, the District POC will invite appropriate District officials, Child Welfare Agencies, and officials from other districts or agencies to consider how such transportation is to be promptly arranged and funded in a cost effective manner.

For more information please contact Cheryl Garrison at 405-261-6622.