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Changes in Federal Law on Education Effective December 10 Affect Foster Children

On December 10, 2016, several changes in federal law that affect foster children go into effect as a result of provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that was signed into law on December 10, 2015. First, the McKinney-Vento Act will remove "children waiting for foster care placement" from the definition of homelessness. Educational stability for children in foster care will now be covered under Title I of ESSA. Notably, ESSA will strengthen the requirements of state and local education agencies to collaborate with child welfare agencies to promote school stability for youth in foster care. Local education agencies and child welfare agencies must work together to ensure that children are able to remain at their "school of origin", as long as it is deemed to be in the child's best interest, and the agencies must collaborate to ensure transportation to the child's school of origin is available. To view ESSA in its entirety, please click here (for issues related to educational stability for children in foster care, see 1112(c)(5), pp. 58-59). To read the ABA Letter, dated May 25, 2016, that addresses needs for clarification and further guidance, click here. To read "Non-Regulatory Guidance: Ensuring Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care", dated June 22, 2016, issued jointly by the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services, click here . To view a Dear Colleague Letter, issued jointly by the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services, dated June 23, 2016, click here. To view guidance by the School Superintendents Association, in partnership with the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, about LEA responsibility under ESSA, dated August 2016, click here . To view TEA's Administrative Letter, dated November 18, 2016, click here.


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