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Jamey Bell CT Voices for Children Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative Symposium April 7, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Jamey Bell CT Voices for Children Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative Symposium April 7, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jamey Bell CT Voices for Children Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative Symposium April 7, 2010

2 I. Federal law requirements 1986 McKinney Vento Act: Requires school stability for homeless children “homeless children” includes children living in emergency or transitional shelters, and those awaiting foster care placement

3 Federal requirements cont Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act states must adopt educational stability system by July 1, 2010, factoring in appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled into all placement decisions

4 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act child welfare department must coordinate with local education agencies to keep children in their school of origin, as long as it is in their best interest. where remaining in the school of origin is not in best interest, child welfare department and local education agencies required to immediately and appropriately enroll child in the new school and assure prompt transfer of educational records.

5 II. Why youth need stability frequent moves often required by foster care system create barriers to school success, i.e. takes a child approximately three to six months to recover academically from each school transfer students who changed schools even once during high school are less likely to graduate than their peers who remained in the same school school mobility also affects younger children

6 Why youth need stability frequent school changes linked to increased risk of failing a grade, repeated behavior problems, and dropping out. other children in classroom also experience interruption of instruction, and teachers rarely provided with sufficient training to prepare for integration of new students mid-year Educational stability is element of life stability and fostering emotional connections

7 Connecticut’s Efforts 2005 school stability initiative (instigated by youth voice, implemented by state agencies and youth advocates); MOU re expansion of McKinney-covered children/youth 2008 proposed CT legislation (pre-dating Fostering Connections Act) to cover children in CW system Immediately after FC Act passed, Joint Task Force created; worked from Dec to present to draft implementing legislation and anticipate systems change needed

8 III. Cost Fostering Connections Act puts responsibility of arranging and paying for transportation on state’s child welfare agency Portions of Title IV-E of Social Security Act (re federal reimbursement to states for costs of children placed out-of-home by courts) amended to allow states to collect on reasonable costs associated with the implementation of educational stability requirement.

9 Cost, including challenges Political and financing issues between child welfare and education depts. McKinney Vento systems already operating If need state legislation, TIME challenges

10 IV. Necessity NOW (even with states’ fiscal crises) FISCAL/POLICY ARGUMENT (Invest now or pay later): Long view: communities need well-educated and competent adults to sustain them Short view: when children who switch schools mid- year fall behind and are retained or must attend summer school, towns and taxpayers left paying for additional schooling

11 Necessity NOW (even with states’ fiscal crises) Pragmatic: At stake is the more than $XXXX million dollars of Title IV-E reimbursement from the federal government and the risk of noncompliance with federal law

12 For more information: Jamey Bell, JD, Executive Director CT Voices for Children 33 Whitney Avenue, New Haven CT


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