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Ensuring Educational Success for Children and Youth in Foster Care


Ensuring Educational Success for Children and Youth in Foster Care NAEHCY Pre-Conference November 5, 2011 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ensuring Educational Success for Children and Youth in Foster Care

  • Ensuring Educational Success for Children and
    Youth in Foster Care
  • NAEHCY Pre-Conference
  • November 5, 2011

Outline for Presentation
  • Child Welfare 101
  • Overview of Blueprint for Change Education
    Success for Children in Foster Care (Goals 1
    through 8)
  • School Stability and Continuity (Goals 12)
  • McKinney-Vento Act
  • Fostering Connections Act
  • Case Scenarios
  • Tools and Resources

Who are the children and youth in out-of-home
  • Approx. 800,000 youth a year (1 of all US
    youth) over 500,000 on any day.
  • Disproportionately children of color
  • 71 school age 29 under age 5
  • 20,000-25,000 young people emancipate from the
    foster care system each year

The Whirlwind of Out-of-Home Care
  • Removed from home/parents/siblings
  • May not have had chance to say goodbye
  • Uncertain about where parents/siblings are
  • Living with strangers
  • In strange house/room/bed
  • Different customs/routine
  • Other children in home
  • Few or none of your possessions
  • Lucky to have trash bag of belongings
  • Uncertainty about future
  • Where will I live?
  • Will I return home?
  • Where will I go to school?


How the Child Welfare System WorksFROM CPS
Permanency Planning
72 hours Shelter Care Hearing
30 days Dependency Case Conference
45 Days 1st Set Fact-Finding
Dependency Petition
Placement Options Return to parent(s) Receiving
Home Care Assessment Center Family Foster
Care Licensed Relative Care Unlicensed Relative
Care Crisis Residential Center Therapeutic Foster
Care Hospitalization Group Care Preadoptive Home
75 Days Fact-Finding Dependency Established by
trial or agreement Disposition Hearing
Return Home Guardianship Third Party Custody
6 Months Review Hearing
Dependency Guardianship Long Term Foster
Care (Youth ages out of system)
12 Months Permanency Planning Hearing
Parents Relinquish
Termination Trial Parental Rights Terminated
Dependency Dismissed Case Closed
Adoption Guardianship
Dependency Guardianship Long Term Foster
Care (Youth ages out of system)
Some Important Distinctions
  • Child Welfare system involvement
  • Court Involvement
  • Entry into state custody and placed in
    out-of-home care

Child welfare system involvement
  • Report of abuse
  • Investigation
  • Child welfare agency finding
  • Unsubstantiated
  • Substantiated

Court Involvement
  • Removal of children (or sometimes not)
  • Filing of a petition (emergency or non-emergency)
  • Preliminary Protective Hearing (Initial hearing)
  • Adjudicatory hearing
  • Dispositional hearing

Once a case exists
  • Review hearings at least once every 6 months
  • Permanency hearings minimum of once every 12
  • Must establish what the permanency plan for the
    child is at each hearing
  • Must make a finding that reasonable efforts to
    finalize the permanency plan have been made

Permanency Options
  • Reunification
  • Adoption
  • Legal guardianship
  • Another planned permanent living arrangement

  • Child Welfare and Education

Studies across the country, show children in
foster care are struggling academically
  • Approximately 54 of young adults discharged from
    care have completed high school.
  • Fifteen-year-olds in out-of-home care were about
    half as likely as other students to have
    graduated high school 5 years later, with
    significantly higher rates of dropping out (55)
    or incarcerated (10).
  • Midwest Study showed youth in foster care on
    average read at only a seventh grade level after
    completing 10th or 11th grade.
  • Two to four times more likely to repeat a grade.
  • Only 2 obtain bachelors degree.

What are the educational experiences of students
in out-of-home care?
  • Of more than 1,000 foster care alumni surveyed in
    a Casey Family Programs national study, 68
    attended 3 or more elementary schools 33
    attended 5 or more.
  • One study showed that over two thirds of children
    in care changed schools shortly after initial
    placement in care.
  • A University of Chicago study found that, by the
    6th grade, students who had changed schools 4 or
    more times had lost approximately one year of
    educational growth.
  • A New York study found 42 of children did not
    start school immediately upon entering care half
    of those did not start due to lost or misplaced
  • In a national study of 1,087 foster care alumni,
    youth who had even one fewer placement change per
    year were almost twice as likely to graduate from
    high school before leaving care.

Examples of the Barriers to Educational
Achievement for Children in Care
  • Lack of placement stability
  • Delayed enrollment
  • Children with special education needs do not
    access/receive services
  • Over-representation in alternative education
  • Confusion about legal rights

Blueprint for Change Education Success for
Children in Foster Care
  • 8 Goals for Youth
  • Benchmarks for each goal indicating progress
    toward achieving education success
  • National, State, and Local Examples

  • Stakeholders Those who affect the lives of
    children in foster care and must be involved in
    any reform
  • Family
  • Children, youth alumni
  • Caregivers including parents, foster parents and
  • Child Welfare
  • Caseworkers
  • Child Welfare Agencies
  • Education
  • Teachers school staff
  • School systems
  • Court
  • Judges Magistrates
  • Attorneys for all parties
  • Guardians Ad Litem
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA
  • Special advocates
  • Tribal partners
  • Policymaker
  • Advocates
  • State or federal legislative staff

How To Use the Blueprint
  • Tool for direct case advocates- to enhance the
    education opportunity and achievement for
    children they serve.
  • Guide system reform efforts identify strengths
    and areas that need improvement
  • Starting point for cross system collaboration
    identify what each stakeholder can do to address
    particular issues

Goals for Youth
  • Goal 1 Remain in the Same School
  • Goal 2 Seamless Transitions Between Schools
  • Goal 3 Young Children Are Ready to Learn
  • Goal 4 Equal Access to the School Experience
  • Goal 5 School Dropout, Truancy, and
    Disciplinary Actions Addressed
  • Goal 6 Involving and Empowering Youth
  • Goal 7 Supportive Adults as Advocates and
  • Goal 8 Obtaining Postsecondary Education

Goals 1 2
  • McKinney-Vento Act
  • Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing
    Adoptions Act of 2008
  • How do these laws overlap?

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act 42 U.S.C.
11431 et. seq.
  • Rights -
  • School of Origin
  • Transportation (districts split if disagree)
  • Immediate enrollment
  • Eliminates typical obstacles (records,
    immunication requirements)
  • McKinney-Vento liaisons and state coordinators

Children in Foster Care and Eligibility for
  • Currently, some children who are, or who have
    been, in out-of-home care are eligible for the
    benefits of the McKinney-Vento Act.
  • Children living in emergency or temporary
  • Youth who have run away from foster placements
    and are living in a homeless situation.
  • Youth who have been abused or neglected and are
    living in a homeless situation, but have not been
    placed in the custody of the child welfare
  • Youth who have aged out of foster care and are
    living in a homeless situation, but have not
    graduated from high school.
  • The definition of children eligible under the
    McKinney-Vento Act includes children awaiting
    foster care placement.

Definitions of AFCP (Spectrum)
  • When child is in foster care they are not
    awaiting foster care placement and therefore
    are not McKinney eligible
  • Children in foster care in certain particularly
    unstable placements (such as shelter placements)
    are considered McKinney eligible
  • All children pre-adjudication or disposition are
    considered McKinney eligible
  • Children in placements expected to last less than
    6 months
  • All children pre-finalization of permanency plan
    (e.g. adoption guardianship) are McKinney
  • All children in foster care are McKinney eligible

State examples of McKinney application
  • Delaware defines awaiting foster care placement
    as all children in foster care.
  • Massachusetts and Connecticut have reached state
    level agreements between their education and
    child welfare agencies to include certain
    children in foster care under McKinney Vento.
  • Other states and local jurisdictions have chosen
    to have informal policies to determine when a
    child in foster care is eligible under McKinney

Creating State Foster Care/Education Policies
  • Some states continue to debate which children in
    care are eligible under McKinneys awaiting
    foster care placement and others have limited
    eligibility to certain subset of children in care
  • However, almost all agree that similar
    protections are NEEDED for all children in care.
  • Many states have sought other means of
    establishing these McKinney-like protections for
    all children in care. (Example California AB
    490- Jan. 2004)
  • Now with Fostering Connections, a new wave of
    state foster care/education legislation is

Foster Care and McKinney-Vento
  • What we know
  • Many children in the foster care system are being
    served under McKinney-Vento, but the numbers and
    the childs situation vary by state.
  • All children in foster care need the kinds of
    protections provided in McKinney-Vento
  • McKinney-Vento is not currently designed to serve
    all youth in the foster care system

Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing
Adoptions Act of 2008
  • Amends Title IV (Parts B and E) of the Social
    Security Act
  • Broad-reaching amendments to child welfare law
    requires court oversight
  • Important provisions promoting education
    stability and enrollment for youth in care
  • Changes child welfare law, but cannot be fully
    realized without collaboration from education

Appropriateness and Proximity
  • The childs case plan must include assurances
    that the placement of a child in foster care
    takes into account the appropriateness of the
    current educational setting and the proximity to
    the school in which the child is enrolled at the
    time of placement.
  • 42 U.S.C.A. 675(1)(G)(i)

School Stability
  • The childs case plan must include
  • (I) an assurance that the state or local child
    welfare agency has coordinated with appropriate
    local education agencies to ensure that the
    child remains enrolled in the school in which the
    child was enrolled at the time of placement
  • 42 U.S.C.A. 675(1)(G)(ii).
  • Unless moving is in the childs best interest
    in which case go to part II (immediate

ACYF-CB-PI-10-11 July 9, 2010 Program
  • Education Stability Plan must be a written part
    of the case plan, reviewed every 6 months.
  • Agency could invite school personnel, agency
    attorneys, guardians ad litem, youth, etc. to
    discussions about the education stability plan.
  • Agency is encouraged to develop standard and
    deliberate process for determining best interest
    and properly documenting the steps taken to make
    the determination.

Key Questions to Consider When Making a Best
Interest Determination
  • How long is the childs current placement
    expected to last?
  • What is the childs permanency plan?
  • How many schools has the child attended over the
    past few years? How many schools has the child
    attended this year? How have the school transfers
    affected the child emotionally, academically and
  • How strong is the child academically?
  • To what extent are the programs and activities at
    the potential new school comparable to or better
    than those at the current school?
  • Does one school have programs and activities that
    address the unique needs or interests of the
    student that the other school does not have?
  • Which school does the student prefer?

Key Questions to Consider When Making a BI
determination cont.
  • How deep are the childs ties to his or her
    current school?
  • Would the timing of the school transfer coincide
    with a logical juncture such as after testing,
    after an event that is significant to the child,
    or at the end of the school year?
  • How would changing schools affect the students
    ability to earn full credits, participate in
    sports or other extra-curricular activities,
    proceed to the next grade, or graduate on time?
  • How would the length of the commute to the school
    of origin impact the child?
  • How anxious is the child about having been
    removed from the home and/or any upcoming moves?
  • What school do the childs siblings attend?
  • Are there any safety issues to consider?

ACYF-CB-PI-10-11 July 9, 2010 Program Instruction
  • Examples of Best Interest Factors
  • Childs preference
  • Safety of the child
  • Appropriateness of current educational programs
    in current or other school and how the schools
    can serve the childs needs (including special

  • The term foster care maintenance payments
    includes reasonable travel for the child to
    remain in the school in which the child is
    enrolled at the time of placement. 42 U.S.C.A.
  • July 2010 Program Instruction reiterates previous
    guidance that Title IV-E administrative costs
    can be used for school transportation.

Transportation Considerations
  • Permissible use of Administrative Costs or Foster
    Care Maintenance Payments (only applies to IV-E
    eligible children in care).
  • Can be paid to childs provider or separately to
    the transportation provider.
  • Some children may already be receiving
    transportation from other sources (M-V, IDEA,
  • State match required.
  • Reimbursement to foster care provider or
    caretaker, transportation provider, etc.
  • Extracurricular transportation, school meetings,

Enrolling in a New School
  • If remaining in the same school is not in the
    best interest of the child, the childs case plan
    must include
  • (II) assurances by the State agency and the
    local education agencies to provide immediate and
    appropriate enrollment in a new school, with all
    of the education records of the child provided to
    the school. 42 U.S.C.A. 675(1)(G)(ii).

Enrollment In New School Issues
  • How are immediate and appropriate defined?
  • Requires collaboration between school and child
    welfare agency.
  • How to ensure records follow student?

State Implementation of Education Provisions of
Fostering Connections
  • Many states have or will pursue legislation or
    other policy changes to be in compliance with
    Fostering Connections
  • Provides an opportunity to incorporate some of
    the known strengths of McKinney-Vento into child
    welfare/education state policy such as
  • Creation of a liaison or key point of contact in
    both child welfare and education agencies
  • Requirement for education agency to coordinate
  • Consider state funding streams to support school
    of origin transportation for children in foster
    care who are not McKinney eligible
  • Creation of protocols for best interest
    determinations as well as process for dispute
  • Identifying role of the court in these processes
    given the children in care are court involved.

Fostering Connections Myths
  • Children in foster care wont be MV eligible
    anymore, now that there is Fostering Connections.
  • False. Children in foster care can be eligible
    under both laws. McKinney eligibility is
    determined by state interpretation of MV and AFCP
  • Children in foster care dont need MV eligibility
    anymore, now that there is Fostering Connections.
  • False. MV provides far greater rights and
    protections for eligible children, so the
    greatest protection for children in foster care
    is eligibility under both.

Fostering Connections Myths, cont
  • Child welfare agencies and advocates now get to
    determine which children are eligible under MV.
  • False. MV eligibility is still determined in the
    same way it has always been for all MV eligible
    students. Child welfare agencies are now focused
    on best interest determinations as well, as it
    relates to FC, but these determinations do not
    replace the MV eligibility process in place in
    states. Child welfare advocates views on best
    interest should be factored into MV eligibility

Fostering Connections Myths, cont..
  • Now that there is Fostering Connections, child
    welfare agencies automatically take the place of
    the parent when making education decisions for
    the child.
  • False. Nothing about Fostering Connections
    changes the role of parents to be involved in
    education decisions for the child. The parents
    role in MV decisions, before and after Fostering
    Connections, may be impacted by statute or court

Fostering Connections Myths, cont
  • Children in foster care who are eligible under MV
    now must have transportation costs to remain in
    their home school covered under IV-E child
    welfare dollars.
  • False. Children in care eligible under MV who
    require transportation to remain in their same
    school are still entitled to transportation by
    the school in accordance with MV, although child
    welfare agencies should collaborate to support
    those efforts as much as possible. All children
    in foster care are not eligible under IV-E,
    making MV support for transportation costs even
    more critical for those children.

How Can Fostering Connections Helps McKinney
Vento Liaisons?
  • For Children in Care who are McKinney-Vento
  • Requires child welfare agencies to focus on
    education stability for children care, including
    court oversight to ensure accountability
  • Child welfare agencies are a partner to the
    liaisons in ensuring school stability
  • Requires child welfare agencies to consider
    proximity to the childs home schools when making
    living placement changes- which may decrease
    school mobility
  • Opportunity to further stabilize children who
    fluctuate between foster care involvement and
    homeless situations.

How can McKinney Vento liaisons help with
Fostering Connections Implementation?
  • For children in care who ARENT McKinney Vento
  • While not part of official MV duties, you could
    be the critical link between child welfare and
    your school or district
  • Implementation of FC in your school or district
    can be benefited from successes learned from MV
  • Enrollment protocols and record transfer policies
  • Best interest determinations dispute resolution
  • Transportation arrangements or agreements
  • Helping to implement Fostering Connections for
    children in foster care, including use of IV-E
    maintenance dollars to support transportation
    needs, could help stabilize the child in a more
    permanent (non MV eligible living placement) and
    avoid a move to a temporary (MV eligible)

Case Scenarios
Case Example RICKY
  • Fourteen-year-old Ricky and his 8-year-old sister
  • have been in the custody of the Department of
  • Services for several years, placed in the same
  • home. Two weeks ago (October 15th), Rickys
  • family contacted his case worker to inform her
    they could
  • no longer have Ricky in their home. With little
    time to find
  • an alternate placement, the case worker has
    secured a
  • space for Ricky in the Capital City Youth Center.
    It is
  • unclear how long Ricky will remain at Capital
  • although his permanency plan calls for adoption.
    A court
  • hearing is scheduled for next month.

Is Ricky covered by the McKinney-Vento Act?
What school should Ricky attend?
Is Ricky covered by the Fostering Connections Act?
How should Ricky get to and from his school?
What can those working with Ricky do to ensure
his success in school?
Mariana, Age 17
  • Mariana is also staying at Capital City. She is a
  • 17 year old girl who ran away from her home
  • in another state several months ago because
  • her stepfather was abusing her. Marianas
  • mother believes it is better for the family if
  • Mariana stays away from home. Mariana is not
  • in the custody of the child welfare agency. She
  • been out of school and surviving on her own since
  • leaving home, but hopes to enter Capital Citys
  • transitional housing program and return to school

Is Mariana covered by the McKinney-Vento Act?
Is Mariana covered by the Fostering Connections
What school should Mariana attend?
How will Marianas new school ensure she can
participate fully in school?
Tools and Resources
Endless Dreams
  • Endless Dreams Video CurriculumCasey Family
  • These practice-oriented tools were designed to
    support educational advocates, education
    specialists, education liaisons, CASA volunteers,
    child welfare professionals, and others that
    assist youth in care with their educational
  • This curriculum was developed to educate
    educators about the unique educational
    needs of youth in foster care.
  • Access to the curriculum requires participation
    in a certified trainer of
    trainers program.
  • For free videos, and information about Endless
    Dreams, contact contactus_at_casey.org

  • Collaboration between ABA, Annie E. Casey
    Foundation and Casey Family Programs, in
    conjunction with the Juvenile Law Center and
    Education Law Center.
  • A national technical assistance resource and
    information clearinghouse on legal and policy
    matters affecting the education of children and
    youth in out-of-home care.
  • Website www.abanet.org/child/education
  • Listserv, Conference Calls, Publications,
    Searchable Database

Legal Center for Foster Care and Education
  • www.ambar.org/LegalCenterMATERIALS
  • Data and Information Sharing (Manual and Tools)
  • McKinney-Vento and Fostering Connections Overlap
  • Fostering Connections Toolkit
  • State Law Chart and AFCP Chart
  • Searchable Database

Contact Information
  • Kristin Kelly - ABA Center on
  • Children and the Law, Legal Center
  • for Foster Care and Education
  • Kristin.Kelly_at_AmericanBar.Org
  • Debbie Staub - Casey Family Programs
  • dstaub_at_casey.org
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