Earlier this week, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) made additional materials on education of students in foster care available on its website. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires new guidelines and resources to ensure that students in foster care have improved educational outcomes. The purpose of the guidelines is to remove educational barriers faced by students in foster care, such as traumatization, high mobility, and undiagnosed behavioral and health conditions.
ESSA contains key provisions to promote educational stability and success for students in foster care. It requires state and local education agencies to collaborate with custodial agencies to effectively address the educational needs of children in foster care. The ESSA provisions related to education of students in foster care take effect on December 10. ODE has provided a wealth of documents, including the ODE and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Joint Guidance booklet, assisting districts in meeting their ESSA obligations.
Among the other available resources are:
- An implementation checklist, which details the steps each district must take before Dec. 10.
- A foster care student checklist, which lists the actions districts and custodial agencies must complete each time a child is either placed into foster care or changes placement.
- A model best interest determination form, to assist districts in determining whether the presumption that a student will remain in his or her current school is not in the student’s best interest.
- Guidelines for implementing a transportation plan for students in foster care. [ESSA requires districts and custodial agencies to have transportation procedures for arranging and funding transportation in place by Dec. 10.]
The website also includes presentations on educating students in foster care and links to other resources.