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Educational Stability for Children Placed in Resource Homes.

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Presentation on theme: "Educational Stability for Children Placed in Resource Homes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Educational Stability for Children Placed in Resource Homes

2 Federal Requirements Requires that each child receiving foster care, adoption, or KLG payments is a full-time elementary or secondary school student, unless unable to attend school due to documented medical condition. Documentation of enrollment and attendance is required. Requires that a child removed from home remain in the school he/she was attending prior to placement in foster care, unless contrary to the childs best interests. Presumption that child should remain in the same school he/she attended prior to placement. If remaining in the same school is not in the childs best interest, the case plan must provide immediate and appropriate placement. Allows federal matching for the cost of reasonable travel for a child to remain in the same school he or she was attending prior to placement in foster care.

3 Characteristics of Children in Out of Care on 10/1/09 8326 children were in foster care placement. Median length of stay was 15.7 months. 49.1% Black, 24.3% White, 15.6% (8.3% were unknown). 44% were school age (between ages 5 and 18). 27.6% of children who were in foster care more than 12 months but less than 24 months had 3 or more placements.

4 Impact on Education Outcomes For every change in foster placement, a child loses an estimated 4-6 months of school. A number of studies have shown that children in foster care have higher absenteeism, truancy, grade retention and dropout rates; lower scores on standardized tests and lower reading abilities. Repeating a grade, changing schools and behavior problems are red flags that a student is likely to leave school without a traditional diploma. School mobility is a risk factor for all of the above.

5 Educational Stability in New Jersey A child placed in a resource home should always remain in the school he/she attended before the placement while DYFS considers which placement is in the childs best interest unless the following exception applies:

6 Immediate Change in School Placement Exception - if remaining in the present school is not in the childs best interest and if there is a safety concern or a significant detriment exists (ie; extraordinary distance), the child will be immediately enrolled in school where the resource home is located. If making the exception, DYFS has 2 business days from date of enrollment to notify the parent (or guardian) and law guardian. Notice must include the new school placement (unless safety issue) and the basis for the decision. Once school placement is made via the exception, the decision is final. Provide notice to schools of the decision to enroll child in new school.

7 Best Interest Determination DYFS must make a best interest determination within 5 days of placement in resource family home (based on the best interest factors). DYFS must make reasonable efforts to consult with: Parent or guardian of child The child Childs law guardian Representative from school child attended at removal School district considering for placement At any time if the parties (parent, child or law guardian) agree to move the child to another school, DYFS must obtain written confirmation.

8 Best Interest Factors DYFS and court to consider (but not limited to): 1.Safety considerations 2.Proximity of the resource family home to childs present school 3.Age & grade level of child as it related to other factors 4.Needs of child, including social adjustment & wellbeing 5.Childs preference 6.Childs performance, continuity of education & engagement in present school 7.Childs special education programming 8.Point of time in school year 9.Childs permanency goal & likelihood of reunification 10.Anticipated duration of current placement; and 11.Other factors provided by regulation of DCF Commissioner

9 Decision to Keep Child in Current School District If the determination is that the child remains in the same school he/she was attending, the decision is conclusive. Immediately provide written notification to the parent and law guardian of the decision. Notify school district (s) and continue to provide or arrange for transportation for five school days after the notice was provided. The notification must include that decision is final.

10 Decision to Place in Resource Home District If the decision is that the child will attend school in the resource home district, immediately provide: Written notice by fax, email, hand deliver or regular mail to parent (or guardian) and law guardian. Notice must include: 1.Basis for decision 2.The right to file an application for judicial determination. 3.All dates (date of placement, final date to file an application)

11 If Parent or Law Guardian Challenges the Decision to Change School Placement If the parent or Law Guardian disagrees with the decision to change the school placement, he/she may apply to the family court (hearing the FN case). Application to the court must be made within 5 days of the date of notice of the DYFS decision. While awaiting the judicial decision, DYFS is responsible for transportation from the resource home to the original school. Once final court decision is made, send notice to schools advising that they are responsible for providing transportation in 5 school days.

12 Decision Tree 1. Best interest + 2. Safety or detriment 5 days To file Immediate written notification to all parties including the current district & foster parent school district of residence Application to Court- continue to provide transportation No Application Decision becomes final Resource parent enrolls child in school of resource parent Final Judicial Decision Notify schools and enroll in school ordered by Judge Immediate notification to all parties. Notice must include actual date to make application with court Immediate enrollment including notice to school district of residence Provide transportation If child is to remain in same school for the first five days after notification Resource Family school Continue transport for 5 days after school is notified Best interest determination & transportation Child remains in same school 5 days Notice to parent & Law guardian 2 days PLACEMENT Child remains in school while conducting best interest EXCEPTION Child enrolled in school of Resource parent

13 Transportation Funding A child placed in resource family home after the effective date of law - the school district (of residence) of the parent or guardian with whom the child lived prior to the childs placement is responsible for all costs associated with schooling. If a child moves from one resource home to another-funding for schooling is paid by the district where the parent/guardian resides regardless of whether the child attended the school district.

14 Securing Transportation DYFS responsible for transportation for 5 school days after school district is notified. On the 6 th day, the school district assumes transportation responsibility unless awaiting a judicial decision. DYFS continues to provide or arrange for transportation until there is a final court decision.

15 How Are We Doing? % of children who remained in their pre placement school Factors that resulted in a change in school placement Ongoing work

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