§4 ch7: Begin Work With The Family/Child(ren)
7.3.8 Educational Support and Intervention
For children, education plays a critical role in making the transition into adulthood. Often, schools provide an environment for children to foster healthy relationships with adults and their peers. Further, school is where children spend most of their day, which leads school stability to be important to the success of children in care. Children placed in the custody of the Division are at-risk of experiencing academic failure. Indicators of potential risk for academic failure include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Cognitive Deficits (reading readiness, social skills, following directions);
- History of abuse/neglect;
- Poor Academic Performance;
- Behavior Problems;
- Substance Abuse;
- Family dynamic/conflict;
- Number of Moves;
- Out-of-Home placements;
- Retention; or
- Prior Juvenile Court Involvement.
The Family Support Team (FST) shall discuss the child’s educational performance, which shall include, but not limited to, special education needs and services, academic accomplishments, truancy, absenteeism, behavior and delinquency issues. The Family Support Team shall identify and implement the appropriate intervention to address the child’s educational needs and behavioral challenges in efforts to improve the child’s academic performance and school participation.
When necessary, the Family Support Team should invite the appropriate school personnel to the FST meeting, to determine the most appropriate intervention and/or alternative education option available to assist the child in maximizing his/her academic potential, which shall be documented on the Child Assessment and Service Plan, CS-1, and Adolescent FST Guide & Individualized Action Plan, CD-94.
When a child has been precluded from returning to public school because of the Safe Schools Act (167.171 RSMo), the Family Support Team shall convene a meeting with the appropriate school personnel to determine if there are alternative educational options available to the child.
- Educational Stability
Educational stability should be a priority when assessing the child's placement needs and making placement decisions. House Resolution 6893, Fostering Connections to Success and increasing Adoptions Act P.L. 110-351 requires state child welfare agencies to coordinate with schools to improve educational stability for children in foster care. Children's Division staff along with local school districts should work together to ensure that children remain in the school they are enrolled in at the time of placement into foster care and each placement change.
The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (2011) requires state child welfare agencies to coordinate with schools to improve education stability for children in foster care at each placement change. This means prior to any placement decision staff should consider what impact the decision will have on the child’s educational stability.
Based on location of the resource provider, the school district may be able to provide transportation. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) provided some options for the team to consider, including:
- The school bus of the foster child’s home district travels to the home of the foster parent to pick up the child. These miles would be considered eligible miles for the school district to include in their allowable cost for state aid;
- The resource provider provides transportation and receives reimbursement for mileage from the school district. School districts can include this as an allowable cost for state aid;
- The resource provider meets the school bus at the boundary line of the school district. Please note that school districts may or may not provide mileage reimbursement;
- The school district contracts with an individual, besides the foster parent, to transport the child to their home school district. This would be an allowable cost for state aid for school districts; or
- The resource provider provides transportation with no reimbursement for mileage from the school district.
In the event that the school is unwilling to provide transportation for the child to remain in their school district, the resource parent should be approached about providing this transportation. Mileage reimbursement for transportation costs will include reimbursement for resource providers transporting foster children to the school they were enrolled in at the time of placement into foster care. Resource providers may receive mileage reimbursement at the current state mileage rate for each mile over a 10 mile round trip per day. The mileage will be reimbursed by completing a payment request in FACES and using the service code TRED.
The resource provider will complete the Travel Expense Log, CD-106, and submit it to the local CD staff for approval within thirty (30) days of the month that the trip occurred.
Foster Care Education Bill of Rights
(Section 160.1990, Section 167.018, 167,019 and 210.1050 RSMo.)
When remaining in the same school district is not in the best interest of the child, it shall be documented with an explanation as to why the child should not remain in the school district of origin. The Resource Provider/Children's Division staff should enroll the child in their new school and minimize the disruption to their educational needs through the Foster Care Educational Bill of Rights:
- Requires school districts to designate a staff person as the educational liaison for foster children. The liaison shall do the following in an advisory capacity:
- Ensure and facilitate the proper educational placement, enrollment in school and checkout from school of foster children;
- Assist foster care pupils when transferring schools by ensuring proper transfer of credits, records and grades;
- Request school records within two business days of a foster child in a school; and
- Submit records of a foster child within three business days of receiving a request for school records.
- Requires child-placing agencies to promote educational stability by considering the child’s school attendance when making placement decisions. The foster care pupil shall have the right to remain enrolled in and attend his or her school of origin pending resolution of school placement disputes or return to a previously attended school in an adjacent district.
- Provides that each school district shall accept for full or partial credit course work satisfactorily completed by a pupil attending public school or nonsectarian school according to district policy.
- Provides that if a pupil completes graduation requirements while under juvenile court jurisdiction the district shall issue the pupil a diploma from the school the pupil last attended.
- Prohibits the school district from lowering the grade of a foster child if the child is absent from school due to a change in placement or due to a court appearance, Grades and credits shall be calculated as of the date the pupil left school.
- Gives school districts the authority to authorize access of a pupil’s school records to any child placing agency to fulfill educational case management requirements.
- Education Records
Keeping educational records is necessary for educational stability of foster children. Educational information is assessed and captured in the usage of the Child Assessment and Service Plan (CS-1) and the Family Functioning Assessment/ReAssessment (CD14a). Additionally, staff are required to include in a child‘s case file the following:
- Name and address of current educational provider;
- Child’s current grade level performance (Grade Card);
- Child’s school record (previous schools of attendance);
- Educational needs, including but not limited to: special education documents and summaries of efforts to address those needs;
- Educational plans based on individual need, including an IEP; and
- School picture for each school year.
- Free Nutritional Food Access
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the Act), Public Law 111-296, provides categorical eligibility for free meals to foster children. The Act, in Section 102, a key provision of the National School Lunch Act allows any foster child to be categorically eligible, without the necessity of an application, for free school meals. The Children’s Division will need to provide the school or other child nutrition program institution documentation indicating the child as a foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State.
The Educational Enrollment Letter (CD-179) can be used as documentation to allow a foster child to be categorically eligible for free meals without further application.
Chapter Memoranda History: (prior to 1/31/07)