Texas Education AgencyFoster Care & EducationPEIMS Stakeholder TrainingJuly 31, 2013
Texas Education Agency: TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED (TAA)Letters regarding students in foster care: • Subject: Foster Care Awareness, May 17, 2013 available online: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=25769804968 • Subject: Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Requirements, March 6, 2013 available online:http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=25769803997 • Subject: Importance of Maintaining the Education Stability for Children and Youth in the Foster CareSystem, August 22, 2012 available online:http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=2147508587 • Subject: Attendance, Admission, Enrollment, Records and Tuition, August 2, 2012 available online: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=2147508100 • TEA Listserv sign-up: http://miller.tea.state.tx.us/list/select ‘To the Administrator Addressed Correspondence.’
What is foster care? • Foster Care is the temporary placement of youth outside of their own home because they have been abused or neglected. • Child Protective Services petitions the court to remove the children from their home and receives legal control via a court order. • Foster care is meant to be a temporary situation for a child until a permanent living arrangement can be obtained. • Terms: Department of Family & Regulatory Services, conservatorship, and substitute care are used in the Texas Education Code when referencing students in foster care.
Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, 2008 • Emphasizes the importance of school stability, maintaining the students school placement, importance of coordination between child welfare and education agencies. • Assurance that the placement take into account appropriateness of current education setting & proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement. • If not in the best interest – state & local education agency provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in new school with ALL of the education records of the child provided to new school.
Amendment to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) • Uninterrupted Scholars Act: Permits educational agencies and institutions to disclose education records of students in foster care to State and county social service agencies or child welfare agencies. The statute also amended the requirement that educational agencies and institutions notify parents before complying with judicial orders and subpoenas in certain situations. http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/hottopics/index.html
School District Foster Care Liaison: “Each School District and open enrollment charter shall appoint at least one employee to act as a liaison officer to facilitate the enrollment in or transfer to a public school of a child in the district who in the conservatorship of the state. (TEC 33.904)” • Must now also inform TEA or your liaison appointment – (83R).
Identifying Students at Enrollment: • Districts should ask as part of the enrollment process if student is currently in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services for the new PEIMS Foster Care Status Indicator Code. • Acceptable means to verify foster care status at enrollment: DFPS Placement Authorization Form 2085 & Court Order • Maintaining confidentiality and sensitivity is of the utmost importance! • Documents are FERPA protected. Must store securely.
Identifying Students at Enrollment: • Districts should begin asking foster care status beginning 9-1-2013 as part of the enrollment process. • Districts will need to ask if student is currently in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services. • Acceptable means to verify foster care status at enrollment: DFPS Placement Authorization Form 2085 or a Court Order • Districts will determine locally what form to use to ask the question. • A Few Suggestions: • May be implemented similar to the question and coding for McKinney-Vento using the Student Residency Questionnaire • Enrollment Checklist • Enrollment Card identifying the parent/guardian/caregiver
Texas Education Code - recognizes students in foster care: • Immediate school enrollment - TEC 25.002 • Timely Records transfer - TEC 25.002(a-1) • Students are entitled to remain in school they were enrolled at the time of placement in foster care - TEC 25.001(g) • Free eligibility for PRE-K - TEC 29.153 • Accelerated Instruction (At-risk indicators and Compensatory Education) - TEC 29.081 (Code #11) • Transition assistance from one school to another of students in foster care - TEC 25.007 • Free College Tuition & Fees Waiver – TEC 54.366 • School District Foster Care Liaisons - TEC 33.904
New Laws: 83rd Legislative Session • Identify students in foster care in PEIMS - TEC 7.029 • DFPS must notify school of child’s education decision maker – TFC 263.004 • All Districts and Charters must appoint a liaison and inform TEA of their district liaison’s appointment. TEA is required to develop and provide training – TEC 33.904 • Develop procedure for awarding course credit, including partial credit, if appropriate, for work completed while enrolled at another school – TEC 25.007. • If a student in grades 11 or 12 transfers to a different school district and the student is ineligible to graduate at the district in which the student transfers, the district from which the student transferred, if they are eligible, shall award the high school diploma – TEC 25.007
New Laws Continued: 83rd Legislative Session • Allow a student in substitute care, who is enrolled in a required course for graduation, the opportunity to complete the course at no-cost to the student before the beginning of the next school year – TEC 25.007 • Ensure that students in grades 11 or 12 are provided information on the tuition & fees waiver – TEC 25.007 • Require school districts to provide notice the students education decision-maker and caseworker regarding events that may significantly impact the education of the child - TEC 25.007 • All appointments mandated through court order and case-plans are excused - TEC 25.085(b)
TEC 25.007: Transition Assistance for Students in Foster Care The agency shall assist the transition of substitute care students from one school to another by: • Ensuring that school records for a student in foster care are transferred to the student's new school not later than the 10th day after the date the student begins enrollment at the school; • Developing systems to ease transition of a student in foster care during the first two weeks of enrollment at a new school; • Developing procedures for awarding credit and partial credit for course work, including electives, completed by a student in foster care while enrolled at another school; • Promoting practices that facilitate access by a student in foster care to extracurricular programs, summer programs, credit transfer services,electronic courses provided under the Texas Virtual School Network, and after-school tutoring programs at nominal or no cost;
TEC Section 25.007 continued: • Establishing procedures to lessen the adverse impact of the movement of a student in foster care to a new school; • Entering into a memorandum of understanding with DFPS regarding the exchange of information as appropriate to facilitate the transition of students in foster care from one school to another; • Encouraging school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to provide services for a student in foster care in transition when applying for admission to post-secondary study and when seeking sources of funding for postsecondary study; • Requiring school districts, campuses, and open-enrollment charter schools to accept a referral for special education services made for a student in foster care by a school previously attended by the student; and • Providing other assistance as identified by TEA. • Additional provisions passed during the 83rd Legislative Session.
TEA and Liaisons: Building Capacity • Identifying district liaisons and developing a contact list. • TEA Website: Foster Care & Student Success http://www.tea.state.tx.us/FosterCareStudentSuccess/ • Webinar Trainings (Foster Liaison 101, CPS/Court overview) • Foster Care Education Listserv http://miller.tea.state.tx.us/list/ - sign-up to receive updates. • Email: Fostercareliaison@tea.state.tx.us • Foster Care Education & Policy Coordinator, email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; 512-463-9235
Thank you! Kelly Kravitz, TEA Foster Care Education & Policy Coordinator Kelly.email@example.com (512) 463-9235 Julie Wayman, TEA Director, Student Success Programs Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org (512)936-6403