In December 2015, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Two parts of the updated law are particularly relevant to children in foster care: Title I, which now provides school stability rights for children in foster care, and Title IX, the McKinney-Vento statute, which provides similar school stability protections to homeless students. For more information about the McKinney-Vento statute, click here. Some of the changes to McKinney-Vento went into effect in October 2016. The Title I changes related to foster care took effect December 10, 2016.
Key changes under the ESSA:
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 already required the child welfare agency, the Department of Children and Families (DCF), to do its part to ensure school stability for children in foster care. With the enactment of the ESSA, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the local school districts, and DCF all have federal mandates that require them to work together to ensure school stability for children in foster care.
Please note update in Massachusetts: On February 2, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) issued guidance stating that school districts should continue to transport children "awaiting foster care" (i.e., in STARR or emergency placements) as they had under McKinney Vento. This guidance also reiterates the school districts' responsibility under ESSA to continue enrollment of and to provide transportation to students in foster care so that they may attend their school of origin. You can find the guidance here.
For more information or if you have questions, please contact us:
Children's Law Center of Massachusetts (CLCM)
The EdLaw Project (a project of CLCM / CPCS)
|last updated: February 11, 2017|