Foster Youth High School Guide
Effective January 1, 2004, Assembly Bill 490 (Steinberg) imposes new duties and rights related to the education of dependents and wards in foster care.
Everyone shares the duty to promote the educational progress of children in out of home placements.
Educators, school personnel, social workers, probation officers, caregivers, advocates and juvenile court officers must all work together to serve the educational needs of children in foster care.
Foster youth must have access to the same academic resources, services, extracurricular and enrichment activities available to all students. EC 48850(a)
Role of the County Placing Agency
When making out of home placements, the placing agency must consider both the placement's proximity to the child's present school and the impact the placement will have on the child's educational stability. WIC 16501.1(C)
Role of the School
- Educational placements of foster youth must be made to ensure that youth have access to the same resources available to all students, that the educational placement in the least restrictive environment, and that the educational placement in the youth’s best interest. WIC 361,726, EC 48853
- If the child’s residential placement changes, the school district must allow the child to remain in his or her school of origin for the duration of the school year, provided it is in her best interest to do so. The child’s best interest is determined by the school district foster care liaison, the person who holds education rights, and the child. If a dispute arises, the child has the right to remain in her school of origin until the dispute is resolved. EC 48853.5.
Preference for Public School
Foster children must be enrolled in programs operated by the local education agency unless the child has an IEP requiring a different educational placement, or the person with education rights determines that it is in the child's best interest to attend a different educational program or to remain in the school of origin. EC 48853
The child has the right to be immediately enrolled in the new school without school records, immunization records, uniforms, etc. EC 48853(d)(4)(B)
Timely Transfer of Records
The timely transfer of records is the responsibility of both the placing agency and the school district.EC 49069.5
County Placing Agency
When the case worker or probation officer becomes aware of the need to transfer a student to a new school, he or she must:
- Notify the school of the student's last expected day of attendance
- Request the calculation of the student's educational information
- Request the student be transferred out. EC 49069.5
Case workers and probation officers may access the child's school records without parental consent or court order so that they may assist with school transfer or enrollment, compile the child's health and education summary, or fulfill educational case management duties. EC 49076
Within 2 business days, the old school must transfer the student out, and deliver the student's educational record to the next school. The record must include a determination of seat time, full or partial credits earned, classes, grades, immunizations and, if applicable, special education or 504 plans. EC 49069.5
The liaison for the new school shall, within 2 business days of the foster child's request for enrollment, contact the school last attended by the foster child to obtain all academic and other records. EC 48853.5(d)(4)(c)
Protection for Grades and Credits
A foster child's grades cannot be lowered due to absences caused by a change in placement, attendance at a court hearing, or a court ordered activity. EC 49069.5
Schools must award all students (not just foster youth) with credit for full or partial coursework satisfactorily completed at another public school, a juvenile court school, or a non-public, non-sectarian school. EC 48645.5