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Foster Care Information

Definition of a child in Foster Care

Non-Regulatory Guidance: definition of “child in foster care”

“24-hour substitute care for children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the child welfare agency has placement and care responsibility. This includes, but is not limited to, placements in foster family homes, foster homes of relatives, group homes, emergency shelters, residential facilities, child care institutions, and preadoptivehomes."

Read more about STATE COLLEGE AND TUITION WAIVER: College Programs and Resources for Foster Students

Every Student Succeeds Act Foster Care Provisions

  • Immediate enrollment: When a foster youth does not remain in the school of origin, the student must immediately be enrolled in a new school, regardless of whether the youth can produce the records typically required for enrollment.
  • Records transfer: When a foster youth changes schools, the enrolling school must immediately contact the previous school to obtain academic and other records.
  • State-level point of contact: State education agencies must designate a point of contact for child welfare agencies; this may not be the same person as the state’s McKinney-Vento coordinator.
  • Local-level point of contact: Local education agencies must collaborate with the state or local child welfare agency to designate a point of contact if the child welfare agency has given notice of designating its own point of contact.
  • Transportation: Local education agencies must collaborate with state or local child welfare agencies to implement clear written procedures as to how prompt, cost-effective transportation allowing youth to remain in their school of origin for the duration of their time in foster care will be provided, arranged, and funded.
  • Data disaggregation: States must provide disaggregated data on foster youth. Annual state report cards must contain information on student achievement for foster youth. The report cards must also contain information on high school graduation rates for foster youth.
  • Homeless definition: Students “awaiting foster care placement” are removed from the definition of homeless youth in McKinney-Vento. For states that have statutory laws that define or describe the phrase “awaiting foster care placement,” this change will take effect two years after ESSA’s enactment. For other states, this change took effect one year after ESSA’s enactment.