Enrollment of Students in Foster Care
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act is a federal mandate that ensures school stability for children in out-of-home care. The act requires child welfare agencies (i.e., department of social services, child-placing agencies, etc.) to coordinate with local educational agencies (Iocal school divisions) to ensure educational stability for every child in foster care. The Code of Virginia was amended in 2011 to mirror the educational stability component of the Fostering Connections Act.
Summary of education provisions of Fostering Connections:
Requires state child welfare agencies and local education agencies to immediately coordinate efforts to improve educational stability and outcomes for children in foster care in four primary areas:
- School enrollment;
- School stability; an assurance that each placement of the child takes into account the appropriateness and proximity to the current placement of the current educational setting, coordination with the local education agency to ensure that the child can remain in that school; or if remaining in that school is not in the best interests of the child, an assurance to enroll the child immediately in a new school with all educational records provided;
- School transportation; costs of travel to school allowed as part of foster care maintenance payments; and,
- Development of a Transition plan; a plan for educational stability in the case plan for each child in foster care.
- U.S. Department of Education, Students in Foster Care
- Fostering Connections: Guidance for School Placement of Children in Foster Care (PDF) – VDOE and the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS)
- Best Interest Determination for Foster Care School Placement Form (Word) – VDOE and VDSS
- Immediate Enrollment of Child in Foster Care Form (Word) – VDOE and VDSS
- Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care Webinar Videos – August, 2013 – Presented by the Virginia Department of Social Services and VDOE.
- Webinar Part 1 – provides background information and the justification of the importance of educational stability of serving children in foster care.
- Webinar Part 2 – provides an overview of the basic processes to be followed when a child is placed in foster care initially or whenever there is a change in placement, with a focus on the educational stability component of the decision making process.
- Webinar Part 3 – addresses the dispute resolution process and the tracking of educational outcomes for children in foster care. It also includes a case study for practice.
- Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351)
- Social Security Act, Title IV, § 475 (1) (G) [42 USC 675]) – Federal law requiring educational stability for children in foster care
- Virginia Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities (PDF)
- VDOE Superintendent’s Memo #306, dated December, 10, 2010
- VDOE Superintendent’s Memo #197-11, dated July 22, 2011
- VDOE Superintendent’s Memo #244-11, dated September 9, 2011
- VDOE Superintendent’s Memo #297-12, dated November 2, 2012
- VDOE Superintendent’s Memo #172-14, dated June 27, 2014
VDOE: Dr. Vivian Stith-Williams: 804-225-4543 or Dr. Patricia A. Popp: 757-221-7776
VDSS: Regional Permanency Consultants:
- Piedmont Regional Office: 540-204-9611
- Western Regional Office: 276-676-5490
- Eastern Regional Office: 757-491-3990
- Northern Regional Office: 540-347-6250
- Central Regional Office: 804-662-9743
School Division Foster Care Liaisons (PDF) – revised October 5, 2016
- The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education
- Education is the Lifeline for Youth in Foster Care (PDF) , October 2011