Connections Vol. 6, 7.8.10
Fostering Connections to Educational Success
This newsletter focuses on the education provisions of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (FCA). It describes resources currently available on the educational provisions of the FCA and additional resources that will shortly become available from the Legal Center on Foster Care and Education. The Legal Center on Foster Care and Education partners with the Fostering Connections Resource Center to share information related to implementing the education provisions in FCA.
The FCA builds on prior law by adding new requirements that each state has, as part of its Title IV-E plan, a plan for ensuring the educational stability of children in foster care, and that each state's Title IV-E plan shows that every child receiving a Title IV-E foster care, adoption or guardianship payment is a full-time school student, or is incapable of attending school due to a documented medical condition. The FCA also broadens the definition of "foster care maintenance payments" made under Title IV-E to include "reasonable travel for the child to remain in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement". Information regarding the school transportation provisions of the FCA will be shared during our July 13th Webinar, "Fostering Connections and Education: Funding Transportation."
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Array of resources on the education provisions of Fostering Connections
A number of resources are available to provide states and tribes with information on what is required under the FCA, and assist them in implementing the education provisions of the Act.
State Implementation Checklists - Two checklists designed to assist states with implementing the education provisions of the Fostering Connections Act.
- Checklist 1: Setting the Stage lays out the foundational questions for implementing Fostering Connections: What do child welfare agencies, education agencies, courts and legislators need to do to prepare for implementing the Act?
- Checklist 2: Education Obligations and Considerations under the Fostering Connections Act details the responsibilities of the various agencies under Fostering Connections, and suggests questions and considerations for each.
Q&A: Education Provisions of the Fostering Connections Act - A brief factsheet that outlines the education requirements of Fostering Connections.
Enacted State Legislation and Policy that Promotes School Stability and Continuity - This chart of federal and state laws or policies that promote school stability analyzes each by the following categories: 1) Right to remain in school of origin, 2) Right to transportation to school of origin, 3) Right to immediate enrollment, 4) Right to expedited records transfer, and 5) Identified point of contact (liaison) in school or child welfare agency.
These resources and others are made available by the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education (Legal Center FCE) is a partnership between the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law, the Education Law Center-PA and the Juvenile Law Center, in collaboration with Casey Family Programs, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The Legal Center FCE serves as a national technical assistance resource and information clearinghouse on legal and policy matters affecting the education of children in the foster care system. It provides expertise to states and constituents, facilitates networking to advance promising practices and reforms, and provides technical assistance and training to respond to the ever-growing demands for legal support and guidance. The Legal Center FCE builds on the ever-increasing momentum behind meeting the education needs of children in foster care, a focus on which can help establish safety, permanency and well being for children involved with the child welfare system.
The Legal Center FCE offers a number of resources to policymakers and advocates, including:
- Technical guides and information
- Advocates Listserv
- Conference Calls
- Blueprint for Change and Searchable Database
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Federal laws on education stability and continuity: The overlap between the McKinney-Vento ACT and FCA
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act are important federal laws the can support success for all children in out-of-home care. Both laws recognize the need for school stability and continuity for these highly mobile children. However, each provides a different set of rights and responsibilities. The Legal Center FCE has developed a series of publications to assist advocates with understanding how these two laws overlap, and to highlight the critical importance of collaboration between the education and child welfare systems to appropriately serve the needs of all children in out-of-home care. Each of the following are available at:
Also part of the series, developed collaboratively with the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), are the following publications:
- School Selection for Students in Out-of-Home Care - This brief provides a framework for local homeless education liaisons, educators, child welfare caseworkers, and other child welfare advocates for assessing best interest when selecting a school for students in out-of-home care.
- Clearing the Path to School Success for Students in Out-of-Home Care - This brief provides basic information about the McKinney-Vento Act and Fostering Connections Act and provides case studies to outline the overlap of these laws in providing for school success.
- When Working Together Works - This brief is designed to help educators and child welfare advocates work together to support the academic success of children and youth in out-of-home care. The brief offers practical, proven strategies for implementing the Fostering Connections and McKinney-Vento Acts collaboratively.
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Youth Voice Resonates at Senate HELP Hearing in April
In April, eighteen-year-old Kayla Van Dyke of Minnesota provided powerful testimony about her experiences in foster care before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Ms. Van Dyke, who is a FosterClub All-Star 2010, spent 14 years in foster care. She spoke passionately and persuasively about the need for improved educational stability for foster youth, and the need for McKinney/Vento to be strengthened. During her testimony, Ms. Van Dyke said, "I'm not an expert on policy but I have been affected by child welfare policies and I hope my experiences can help you make choices that will improve the system." Ms. Van Dyke attended ten different schools while in foster care and was moved into seven placements. She will be attending Hamline University in the fall as a freshman.
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