Presentation on theme: "Supporting Foster Care Students. Improving Outcomes for Foster care Students Nationally, less than half of youth in foster care complete a regular high."— Presentation transcript:
Improving Outcomes for Foster care Students Nationally, less than half of youth in foster care complete a regular high school diploma Only 7% of foster care youth matriculate to college 2% of foster care youth graduate from college Many services and service providers are in place for youth but there is a lack of coordination and communication between the systems and the services
Main Objective The Fostering Connections Act requires that the child welfare agency coordinate with local educational agencies to ensure educational stability for every child in foster care. The LDSS and the schools must collaborate in determining the school placement that is in every child’s best interest when his or her home changes
Fostering Connections: Where to Start? School Implementation Cross Agency Implementation
School Division Implementation School division regulation FAQ’s Point of Contact training for all school social workers Trainings for school registrars and administrative staff
What is a “Point of Contact” Having one Point of Contact (POC) at each site is intended to serve as a vehicle to coordinate the efforts of school staff, ensuring that all foster care and homeless students are provided with needed support.
Why do we need a POC at each school? Homeless and foster care students have high mobility. Homeless and foster care students may need additional educational and emotional support. Historically, homeless and foster care students sometimes “fall through the cracks.” Importance of school connection.
What are the expectations for the POC? The POC would maintain the list of identified foster care and homeless students by requesting a monthly list from the SASI operator.
POC Expectations, continued The POC would work with the school administration to determine which specific staff member will share responsibilities for individual students, i.e., counselor, teacher, other staff member. Appropriate communication between the person working with the student and the POC will ensure that each identified student has access to needed support.
POC Expectations, continued The POC would work with appropriate school office staff to be apprised when there are attendance concerns or withdrawals from school and will provide follow up on those concerns. The POC may be in communication with other agencies working with the youth or family such as shelter staff, foster care case worker, foster parent, or guardian at litem. The POC provides updates to the homeless office as needed.
School Procedures for Children in Foster Care Immediate enrollment foster care form The Fostering Connections law REQUIRES that placing agencies, local department of social services (LDSS), provide the state enrollment form to every school when a child enters care or has a change of placement.
School Procedures School immediately sends a copy of this form to the homeless office and maintains a copy of this form. The school POC should maintain a copy of this form. The homeless office will initiate free lunch immediately upon receiving this form.
Agency Procedures for Children in Foster Care The placing agency will provide school with the state notification form at registration of a foster student or at the time of a placement change. They have a 72 hour requirement for school enrollment. If a student in foster care WILL NOT be returning to his/her school of origin, a best interest determination meeting will be convened.
School Foster Care Program Responsibilities: Collaboration with placing agencies regarding best interest determinations. Transportation coordination assistance. Communication with school POC. Maintenance of required forms. Arranging free meals at school.
How school counselors can help Collaborate with school social workers (POC) Understand the unique needs of foster care students Encourage flexibility with school issues impacted by home instability
Cross Agency Implementation Understanding Fostering Connections Relationship Building Roles and responsilbitiies Training, training, training
How can DSS help? Reinforce Fostering Connections requirements regarding immediate enrollment and best interest determinations Communicate with school social workers and the foster care liaison regularly Meet to cross train Include foster care youth
Challenges Transportation to school of origin Understanding system differences and terminology Considering educational best interest Finding local foster homes within the community
Contact Us Kathi Sheffel Homeless Liaison / Foster Care Liaison KLSheffel@FCPS.edu