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Policy 3116

Students in Foster Care

The board recognizes that students in foster care experience mobility in and out of the foster care
system and from one home placement to another that disrupts their education, thereby creating
barriers to academic success and on-time graduation. Through collaboration with state, local
and/or tribal child welfare agencies, the district will strive to minimize or eliminate educational
barriers for students in foster care, particularly with regard to enrollment, transfer of student
records, and transportation to their school of origin. The superintendent or designee is authorized
to establish procedures and/or practices for implementing this policy.

Point of contact
The superintendent or designee will designate an appropriate staff member to serve as the
district’s point of contact for local child welfare agencies if such agencies notify the district in
writing that they have designated a point of contact for the district. The point of contact will
work with appropriate state, local and/or tribal child welfare agencies to receive notifications and
share information regarding the status and progress of students in foster care. The point of
contact will also work collaboratively with the district’s Title I coordinator to provide supports
for students in foster care that are enrolled or seeking to enroll in the district.
Enrollment
Whenever practical and in the best interest of the child, children placed into foster care will
remain enrolled in the school they were attending upon entering foster care. When a
determination of the student’s best interest is necessary, it will take into account a number of
factors as described in the procedures that accompany this policy, including concern for the
student’s safety as well as the availability of supports for the student’s educational success. Such
a determination should involve a district representative, a representative of the appropriate child
welfare agency, the student, and the student’s biological and foster families, if reasonably
feasible.
If remaining in the school of origin is determined not to be in the student’s best interest, the
district will immediately enroll that student in their new school. Enrollment may not be denied or
delayed based on the fact that documents normally required for enrollment have not been
provided.
A school may not prevent a student in foster care from enrolling based on incomplete
information of any history of placement in special education, any past, current, or pending
disciplinary action, any history of violent behavior, or behavior listed in RCW 13.04.155, any
unpaid fines or fees imposed by other schools, or any health conditions affecting the student’s
educational needs during the ten (10) day period that the Department of Social and Health
Services has to obtain that information. Upon enrollment, the district will make reasonable
efforts to obtain and assess the child’s educational history in order to meet the child’s unique
needs within two (2) school business days.
Records Transfer
When a student in foster care transfers schools, whether within the district or to another school
district, the enrolling school will immediately contact the sending school to obtain academic and
other records. The sending school will respond as soon as possible to requests it receives for
records of students in foster care.
Additionally, upon receipt of a request for education records of a student in foster care from the
Department of Social and Health Services, the district will provide the records to the agency
within two (2) school days.
Transportation
By December 10, 2016, the district will collaborate with state, local or tribal child welfare
agencies, as appropriate, to implement a written transportation procedure by which prompt, costeffective
transportation will be provided, arranged and funded for students to remain in their
school of origin when in their best interest for the duration of their time in foster care.
The written procedure will ensure that if additional costs are incurred in providing transportation,
the district will provide transportation to the school of origin if: 1) the child welfare agency
agrees to reimburse the transportation; (2) the district agrees to pay for the cost of the
transportation; or 3) the district and the child welfare agency agree to share transportation costs.
Dispute resolution
In the event that a caregiver or education decision-maker disputes a district decision regarding
the best interest of the student in foster care with regard to enrollment or the provision of any
other education-related service, including transportation, the caregiver or education decisionmaker
may use the three-tiered appeals process outlined in the procedure that accompanies this
policy. The district will make all reasonable efforts to collaborate with appropriate agencies and
aggrieved parties to resolve the dispute at the local level.
In the event that a dispute occurs between the district and a child welfare agency with regard to
issues that do not involve educational placement or the provision of educational services (e.g.,
transportation reimbursements, failure to collaborate), such disputes may be forwarded to the
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for resolution.
Review of unexpected or excessive absences
A district representative or school employee will review unexpected or excessive absences of
students in foster care and those awaiting placement with the student and adults involved with
the student, including their caseworker, educational liaison, attorney if one is appointed, parent,
guardian and foster parents. The purpose of the review is to determine the cause of the absences,
taking into account: unplanned school transitions, periods of running from care, in-patient
treatment, incarceration, school adjustment, educational gaps, psychosocial issues and
unavoidable appointments during the school day. The representative or employee will take
proactive steps to support the student’s school work so the student does not fall behind and to
avoid suspension or expulsion based on truancy.
Facilitating on-time grade level progression
The district will: 1) waive specific courses required for graduation for students in foster care if
similar coursework has been satisfactorily completed in another school district; or 2) provide
reasonable justification for denial of the waiver. In the event the district denies a waiver and the
student would have qualified to graduate from their sending school district, the district will make
best efforts to provide an alternative process of obtaining required coursework so that the student
may graduate on time.
The district encourages consolidation of unresolved or incomplete coursework and to provide
students in foster care with opportunities to accrue credit though classroom hours,
correspondence courses, or portable assisted study sequence units designed for migrant high
school students.
In the event a student is transferring at the beginning of or during their junior or senior year of
high school and is ineligible to graduate after all alternatives have been considered, the district
will work with the sending district to ensure the awarding of a diploma from the sending district
if the student meets the graduation requirements of the sending district.

Cross References:

2418 – Waiver of High School Graduation Credits
3115 – Homeless Students- Enrollment Rights and Services
3120 – Enrollment
3122 – Excused and Unexcused Absences
3231 – Student Records
6100 – Revenues From Local, State and Federal Sources

Legal References:
RCW 28A.150.510 Transmittal of education records to
department of social and health services – Disclosure of
educational records – Data-sharing agreements – Comprehensive
needs requirement document – Report
RCW 28A.225.023 Youth dependent pursuant to Chapter 13.34
RCW – Review of unexpected or excessive absences – Support
for youth’s school work
RCW 28A.225.215 Enrollment of children without legal
residences
RCW 28A.225.330 Enrolling students from other districts—
Requests for information and permanently records—Withheld
transcripts-Immunity from liability—Notification to teachers and
security personnel—Rules
RCW 28A.320.192 On-time grade level progression and
graduation of students who are dependent youth
RCW 74.13.550 Child placement – Policy of educational
continuity
20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq. Elementary and Secondary Education Act
of 1965 as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA]
Management Resources: 2016 – November Issue
OSPI list of Foster Care Liaisons/DSHS Contacts

 

 

La Center School District Adopted: January 24th, 2017

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