Every Student Succeeds ActThe Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Child and Family Services program is committed to ensuring and enhancing educational stability for children and youth in foster care. To aid in this commitment, federal legislation passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which becomes effective in Idaho on December 10, 2016. The Every Student Succeeds Act formalizes processes between the Department, the State Department of Education, and Idaho’s schools to further assist in promoting educational stability and enhance well-being for students in care. ESSA impacts ALL school-age foster children when either entering foster care or moving to a new placement which may impact the children’s school placement. ESSA provides all children and youth in foster care with core protection for school stability, separate from the McKinney-Vento, and outlines clear, distinct and appropriate responsibilities for both the education and child welfare agencies. The key principles of ESSA include:
- Allows youth to remain in the same school when entering foster care and when their foster home placement changes.
- Requires schools to enroll children in foster care immediately if a change in schools is due to a move in placement.
- Requires state education agencies, school districts and child welfare agencies to provide a point of contact for communication and support.
- Requires education agencies and child welfare agencies to work together to determine if it is in a child’s best interest to remain in their school of origin (not to be decided based on transportation costs).
- Requires state education agencies and child welfare agencies to collaborate making transportation plans for children in care.
- Requires tracking of achievement outcomes for children in foster care.
These simple protections have the potential to prevent many unnecessary school moves and ensure when transitions do occur, they are as smooth as possible and do not result in missed school days, placement in the wrong school or classes, or disruptions in special education services. Supporting school stability will promote overall enhanced well-being and better educational outcomes for children and youth in care!
If you have any questions regarding ESSA, please don't hesitate to contact your case worker or your RC!