The JCPS District is committed to increasing educational stability and improving educational outcomes for students in foster care. Studies show that students in foster care have an increased risk of unfavorable educational outcomes, including lower graduation rates, gaps in academic achievement, and lower rates of postsecondary enrollment. Recognizing these risks, Congress enacted the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which instituted new protections for children in foster care. You may view the federal nonregulatory guidance for this law here.
Under ESSA, child welfare agencies and local educational agencies are required to collaborate to promote school stability and success. Students in foster care have certain educational rights. These include:
- Remaining in the same school when in the student’s best interest—“School of origin” is defined as the school in which a child is enrolled at the time of placement in foster care. It is presumed to be in a child’s best interest to remain in the school of origin. If a determination is made that it is not in the child’s best interest to remain in the school of origin at the time of a change in placement, the school of origin would then become the new school in which the child is enrolled. If a student must change schools, an educational passport form must be completed by the current school and provided to social worker in compliance with FERPA.
- Immediate enrollment in school and transfer of school records—Students can enroll immediately in a new school even if the student cannot produce normally required documents and school records. Enrolling schools must immediately contact the school last attended by the student to obtain relevant academic and other education records.
- School transportation when necessary—JCPS must collaborate with child welfare agencies to ensure transportation to the school of origin for students in foster care is provided, arranged, and funded. If transportation is needed to maintain the student in the school of origin, schools can contact the district Point of Contact for assistance in exploring options.
The Point of Contact will explore the following options:
- A bus stop currently exists that will accommodate the student.
- A bus stop can be added to accommodate the student.
- A district van can be utilized to transport the student.
- A foster parent or another approved adult is willing to transport the student.
- The student is eligible for special needs transportation.
JCPS Point of Contact: Lindsay Bale, (502) 485-6358 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kentucky House Bill 33 and KRS 620.146 require that “if, as a result of dependency, neglect, or abuse, custody of a child is granted to the CHFS through an emergency, temporary, or permanent court order, the cabinet must verbally notify the principal, assistant principal, or guidance counselor of the school in which the child is enrolled of the names of persons authorized to contact the child at school, in accordance with school visitation or communication policy, or remove the child from school grounds."
Upon receipt of the verbal notification, the principal, assistant principal, or guidance counselor must document verbal notifications (house bill 33 form). Changes in contact or removal authority should be noted in hard copy format or electronic records maintained by the district and communicated to other district personnel as appropriate Click here for the form.
In the state of Kentucky, everyone is a mandated reporter. If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, you must call the Child Protective Services hotline at (502) 595-4550 to make a report, or you may make a report online.
- Child trauma toolkit for educators
- Postsecondary education resources for foster youth
- UK Embrace Program for students at University of Kentucky
- JCPS free tutoring
- Legal Center for Foster Care and Education
- Indicators of Abuse and Neglect
- Educational Decision Maker form
- Educational Passport form
- House Bill 33 form
- Kentucky Department of Education: Foster Care