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Powerful Partnerships: How Local Systems Can Work Together to Create Educational Stability for Kids

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Title: Powerful Partnerships: How Local Systems Can Work Together to Create Educational Stability for Kids


1
Powerful Partnerships How Local Systems Can Work
Together to Create Educational Stability for Kids
Presented at Child Welfare, Education and the
Courts A Collaboration to Strengthen Educational
Successes of Children and Youth in Foster
Care November 4, 2011
2
Workshop Learning Objectives Participants will
learn strategies to
  • develop partnerships between schools, courts and
    child protection agencies to enable win-win
    working relationships
  • recruit and engage a diverse collaborative of
    multi-disciplinary representatives to create
    school stability for youth in out-of-home
    placements
  • implement creative cross training approaches
  • improve school connections and achievement for
    children and youth in the child welfare system.

3
Our Panel
  • Anne Comstock (Moderator), Associate Director,
    National Child Welfare Resource Center for
    Organizational Improvement
  • The Honorable Suzanna Cuneo, Commissioner, Pima
    County Juvenile Court
  • Carol Punske, Assistant Program Manager, Pima
    County Juvenile Court Child Protective Services
  • Elaine E. Fink, Managing Attorney, Childrens
    Advocacy Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio
  • Carla Guenthner, Administrative Magistrate,
    Hamilton County Juvenile Court

4
Strategies to Support School Stability and
Continuity The Pima County Experience
The Honorable Suzanna Cuneo, Commissioner Pima
County Juvenile Court Carol Punske, Assistant
Program Manager Pima County Juvenile Court Child
Protective Services November 4, 2011
5
Pima County Juvenile Court Committee to Improve
Education Outcomes for Court-Involved Youth
  • Established January 2003 as
  • Model Dependency Court Subcommittee
  • Began with 12 members representing Child
  • Protective Services, several school districts,
  • Casey Family Programs, Juvenile Court Staff,
  • CASA Program and the Attorney Generals
    Office.

6
Pima County Juvenile Court Committee to Improve
Education Outcomes for Court-Involved Youth
  • Initial focus was education issues affecting
    youth
  • in foster care primarily in the areas of
    education
  • records, enrollment and school stability.
  • Committee expanded its focus in 2005 to include
  • all court-involved youth, including
    delinquencies.

7
Pima County Juvenile Court Committee to Improve
Education Outcomes for Court-Involved Youth
  • Currently has approximately 100 participants
    representing numerous school districts, Pima
    Community Superintendents Office, Pima Community
    College, County Attorneys Office, Public
    Defenders Office, group care facilities,
    attorneys, Child Protective Services, CASA,
    Attorney Generals Office, Probation and
    Detention.

8
Pima County Juvenile Court Committee to Improve
Education Outcomes for Court-Involved Youth
  • Following a community-wide education summit in
    October 2007, the committee converted its format
    to an education forum which meets 3-4 times per
    year and focuses on cross training and
    collaboration in two areas Keeping kids in
    school and alternatives to suspension/expulsion/ar
    rest.

9
Past Projects Addressing School Stability and
Continuity
  • School records Created court order for release
    of school records to child welfare case managers.
    Order signed by dependency judge same day
    dependency petition is filed.
  • Linking with McKinney-Vento Ensure school-aged
    children placed out of home remain in their home
    schools when appropriate.

10
Past Projects Addressing School Stability and
Continuity
  • Training community educators focusing on
    McKinney-Vento liaisons and unique educational
    issues affecting children in out-of-home care
    (Endless Dreams).
  • Training child welfare case managers on the
    rights of children in out-of-home care to remain
    in their home schools or to immediate enrollment
    if there is a change in school placement
    (McKinney-Vento).
  • Development of an Education Advocacy Manual.

11
Past Projects Addressing School Stability and
Continuity
  • Accountability Conferencing as alternative to
    suspension and expulsion.
  • Training on modified version of Judicial
    Checklist in dependency cases commencing with
    first Preliminary Protective Hearing.
  • Training out-of-home placement units to locate
    emergency placements for children within their
    home school district or as close geographically
    to that district whenever possible at the time of
    the childs removal.

12
Past Projects Addressing School Stability and
Continuity
  • Development of the position of Juvenile Court
    Education Programs Coordinator within the
    Juvenile Court to assist both Child Protective
    Services case managers and Probation Officers on
    education issues primarily in the area of
    enrollment and school records.

13
Child Protective Services Working Collaboratively
with the School
  • Develop relationships
  • Recognize the expertise of each system partner
  • Meet regularly
  • CPS staff meet quarterly with the School District
    Homeless Liaisons and periodically conduct
    trainings together.

14
Key Partners for Collaboration
Attorneys, guardians ad litem, CASAs, surrogate
parents, juvenile judges and court personnel,
post secondary educators and administrators
  • School staff,
  • teachers,
  • principals,
  • social workers,
  • nurses, etc.
  • CPS case workers
  • Foster parents
  • Relative caregivers

15
Talk About Education from Day One Team Decision
Making
  • Team Decision Making is a strength based process
    addressing the safety and placement of children.
  • Meetings include
  • Family, CPS staff, family support, community
    members, partnering agencies and, as applicable,
    tribal representatives
  • If children/youth are attending school, a
    teacher, counselor or school representative may
    be invited to the meeting.

16
Talk About Education from Day One Team Decision
Making Meetings
  • Emergency removal or
  • Considered removal
  • A report is given to participants at the
    conclusion of TDM meeting and includes the name
    of the school that the child attends.
  • Report identifies if the child is receiving
    exceptional education services.
  • CPS can work to keep the child in same school and
    identify special needs.

17
Critical Issues Provide School Placement
Stability
  • Allow youth placed in out-of-home care to attend
    home school when it is safe to do so and in the
    childs best interest.

18
Critical Issues
  • Records and School Enrollment
  • Ensure youth in out of home care are not denied
    school enrollment because their records are not
    immediately available (including immunization
    records and birth certificates)
  • Ensure that records and information are
    promptly obtained/exchanged between CPS and the
    schools, whether case is still under
    investigation or child is already receiving CPS
    services

19
Challenges
  • Challenges faced by foster when changing schools
  • All youth face challenges in adjusting to
    different curricula, teacher, peers, and
    expectations, yet

20
Foster Youth Challenges
  • Missed school days due to enrollment delays
    because of lack of information/records (some
    students may initially be denied enrollment)
  • Missed school days due to appointments for social
    or medical services or even court
  • Lack of consistent advocacy for education needs,
    including special education
  • Simultaneously dealing with significant personal
    and familial issues

21
Successes
  • Agree that children removed form their homes
    will generally qualify under the McKinney-Vento
    Act for the remainder of that school year
  • Agree that the Homeless Liaison will consider
    children to be eligible for transportation if
    there is a planned placement move during the
    current school year
  • Exploring how Title 4-E funds can be used to
    provide transportation for children after the
    first year following removal, with a focus on
    older youth

22
Successes
  • School Districts are providing school supplies
    for the children/youth who are living in shelters
    and group homes
  • CPS staff are trained and periodically reminded
    to contact the School District Homeless Liaison
    as soon as a dependency petition is filed, even
    if transportation is not immediately needed
  • Developed a collaborative relationship with the
    School District Homeless Liaison and the staff at
    the state Department of Education for problem
    solving and education

23
  • Education future

Their future is in our hands. It is imperative
that CPS continues to work collaboratively with
schools and the court system to promote the
educational well-being of all the youth in our
care.
24
Resources
  • Casey Family Programs
  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Court
    Judges
  • Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
    Prevention

25
Contacts
  • Judge Suzanna Cuneo
  • Pima County Juvenile Court Commissioner
  • sue.cuneo_at_pcjcc.pima.gov
  • CPS Carol Punske
  • Assistant Program Manager
  • cpunske_at_azdes.gov
  • Court Cathleen Fitzgerald
  • Education Programs Coordinator
  • cathleen.fitzgerald_at_pcjcc.pima.gov

26
Questions and Comments?
27
IMPROVING EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES FOR STUDENTS IN
FOSTER CARE
  • Elaine E. Fink
  • Carla Guenthner

Hamilton County Cincinnati, Ohio
28
Cincinnati Public Schools
  • 57 schools
  • High Schools 16
  • Elementary Schools 38
  • Combined 3
  • Race
  • African American 68.8
  • Caucasian 23.7
  • Multi-racial 4.6
  • Hispanic 1.9
  • Free lunch 68.7

29
Cincinnati Public Schools Special Education Work
Group
  • A grassroots and multi-disciplinary community
    group
  • Works collaboratively to address systemic gaps
    and barriers
  • Focus is on students with special needs
  • A sub-committee was created to examine and
    improve foster care outcomes

30
Key Stakeholders
  • Hamilton Co. Dept. of Job Family Services
  • Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Hamilton Co. Juvenile Court
  • Legal Aid Society of SW Ohio
  • Public Defender GAL Office
  • ProKids CASA Agency

31
Traveling Road Show
  • A Multi-Disciplinary Team delivers information
    about the child welfare system to teachers and
    administrators through participation in staff
    meetings at individual schools

32
Two Way Process is Required
SCHOOLS
CHILD WELFARE
Seek Input
Exchange Feedback
Share Information
33
Back to the drawing board
34
Why did Cincinnati Public Schools Participate?
  • Involved from the beginning
  • School district input and feedback was valued
  • All parties remained flexible
  • Had little to lose
  • Willing to take a risk

35
Role for the Project Champion
  • Understands both systems
  • Demonstrates fairness
  • Defends each system to the other
  • Holds each system accountable
  • Identifies problems without blaming
  • Suggests solutions

36
Building a Collaboration Staged Process for
Creating Systemic Change
  • Establish a sense of urgency
  • Develop and communicate a vision for change
  • Create a guiding coalition
  • Agree upon shared priorities and strategies
  • Generate short term wins
  • Consolidate gains and work toward long term goals
    and outcomes
  • Dont let perfect be the enemy of good

37
Hamilton County Child Protection Report Card
  • Children in Care or Under Agency Supervision
    1732
  • Placements 60 experience one or more placements
  • Grade Level 32 at appropriate grade level
  • Mental/Behavioral Health 48 diagnosed

38
Target Population
  • Kindergarten through 12th grade
  • Children in agency custody
  • Children attending one of the 22 participating
    schools (identified through mapping)
  • Minimum of 100 children in the pilot

39
Prioritize Education
  • Steering Committee
  • Execution of a MOU
  • Inclusion of Schools/Education Representatives on
    Model Court Team
  • Cross-Training
  • Judicial Checklist
  • Court Reports on Education
  • Youth Engagement

40
Improve Communication and Systems Coordination
  • Immediate School Enrollment
  • 2 child protection caseworkers serve as Education
    Specialists to the participating schools
  • One representative at each school serves as the
    School Liaison to Childrens Services
  • Access to Power School a web-based parent
    communication tool

41
Create School Stability
  • Development of strategies for maintaining
    stability in school and substitute care
    placements
  • (e.g. prioritization within UM/UR trauma
    informed services)
  • Creation of plans for maintaining school
    stability if agency placement disrupts
  • (e.g. Project Connect-McKinney Vento liaisons)
  • Development of seamless transition plans when
    change in school placement cannot be avoided

42
Reform Policies and Practices
  • Create visitation plans/policies that avoid
    school disruption
  • Implement case plan services during
    non-traditional hours or access school-based
    services to minimize school disruption

43
Enhance Supportive Services
  • Education Advocacy and Legal Representation
  • Interventions and Supports to Promote Academic
    Success and Achievement
  • Tutoring
  • Mentoring
  • Higher Education Mentoring Initiative
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Summer Reading Program

44
Collect Data and Measure Program Outcomes
  • Key Outcome Measures
  • 1. Youth in foster care will experience
    increased stability in their placement and at
    school.
  • 2. Youth in foster care will demonstrate
    improved school attendance.
  • 3. Youth in foster care will achieve school
    promotion and grade advancement.
  • 4. Youth in foster care with identified special
    needs will receive appropriate and supportive
    educational services.
  • 5. The public and private partners will create
    a collaborative structure that enhances the
    coordination and implementation of plans designed
    to achieve education success for youth in foster
    care.

45
Data/Evaluation (continued)
  • Critical but often elusive
  • Persevere
  • Document small successes
  • You can do it!

46
Looking Ahead.
  • Staged Expansion
  • All Cincinnati Public Schools (district-wide)
  • Youth in custody AND under agency supervision
  • Inclusion of Dually Involved Youth
  • Crisis Intervention Services and Consultation
  • Local Training and On-Site TA regarding Fostering
    Connections
  • Enhanced data collection and exchange
  • Program Evaluation
  • Supported by HHS funding

47
Nine tenths of education is encouragement.

Anatole France, writer
  • He who opens a school door, closes a prison.
  • Victor Hugo, poet

48
Contact Information
  • Elaine E. Fink
  • Managing Attorney, Childrens Advocacy
  • Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC
  • 215 E. 9th Street, Suite 500
  • Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
  • 513.362.2821
  • efink_at_lascinti.org
  • Carla Guenthner
  • Chief Magistrate
  • Hamilton County Juvenile Court
  • 800 Broadway
  • Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
  • 513.946.9381
  • Carla.Guenthner_at_juvcourt.hamilton-co.org

49
Questions and Comments?
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