Coordinated Student Services
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)
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)
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)
The timely transfer of records is the responsibility of both the placing agency and the school district.EC 49069.5
When the case worker or probation officer becomes aware of the need to transfer a student to a new school, he or she must:
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