Foster Care

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) emphasizes the educational stability of vulnerable students, including those in foster care. Children in foster care face many educational barriers, including traumatization, high mobility, and undiagnosed behavioral and health conditions.

ESSA requires guidelines and resources to ensure improved educational outcomes for children in foster care. These provisions took effect on December 10, 2016.

Federal Law Guidance

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Role of District Foster Care Liaisons

District Foster Care Liaisons are responsible for:

  • Coordinating with the corresponding child welfare agency point of contact on the implementation of the Title I, Part A provisions
  • Coordinating with the Foster Care Program Supervisor at NDDPI
  • Attending training and professional development opportunities to improve district implementation efforts
  • Facilitating training at district level for administration, educators, and school personnel
  • Serving as the primary contact person for custodial agencies
  • Participating in and documenting the best interest determinations
  • Facilitating the transfer of records
  • Facilitating immediate enrollment
  • Facilitating data sharing with the child welfare agencies, consistent with FERPA and other privacy protocols
  • Developing and coordinating local transportation procedures
  • Managing best interest determinations and transportation cost disputes
  • Ensuring that children in foster care are enrolled in and regularly attending school
  • Providing professional development and training to school staff on the Title I, Part A provisions and educational needs of children in foster care, as needed
Identification of Youth in Foster Care and Collaboration between CWA and LEA

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction requires immediate identification of students who are in the foster care system. 

Local education and child welfare agencies need to work systematically, both separately and together, to ensure that children in foster care benefit from the educational provisions of the Fostering Connection to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.

The LEA, CWA, and Tribal CWA must work closely to implement the Title I educational stability provisions. (ESEA section 1111©(5)). Together they should decide what documentation or records should be shared, establish criteria to be used in any decision-making process, and identify a structure, such as regularly scheduled meetings, in which relevant individuals can participate in a particular process.

  • The school Notification of Placement Form (SNF18119) is completed by the representing child welfare custodial agency for all students in foster care
  • The LEA foster care liaison ensures the custodial agencies are immediately providing the district with their point of contact and receiving the foster care student’s ID number
  • Custodial agencies cannot submit the online notification until they have provided the district with their point of contact and received the student’s ID number
  • District liaisons can access the student ID number through PowerSchool
  • Districts must have a process in place for custodial agencies to obtain student ID during the summer months
  • Custodial agencies should invite the district liaison to the child’s family meeting
  • District liaison should invite the custodial agency to the child’s individualized plan meetings
  • All meetings and correspondence between custodial agencies and district liaisons should be documented and attached to the state monitoring report

Placement Information:

  • Purpose: Initial & Annual & Change
  • Placement Date
  • Student Placement: Foster Family or Relative
  • Residency Determination: Resident or Nonresident or Termination
  • Notifications: Agency & Educational & Financial
  • District Liaisons: Ensure the youth has been identified in NDTeach

Notification to the school allows for collaboration, oversight, and case planning by the district foster care liaison in partnership with the foster care case manager from the public agency (County, Tribe, or DJS).

Transportation Guide for Students in Foster Care under ESSA

The Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 requires districts to work closely with Child Welfare Agencies (CWAs) to tailor transportation processes and procedures to their unique local contexts. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and CWAs must collaboratively establish procedures which facilitate immediate transportation needed to ensure educational stability for students in foster care

Under ESSA, transportation procedures for children in foster care must:

  • Ensure that children in foster care needing transportation to the school of origin will receive cost-effective transportation in accordance with the CWA’s authority to use child welfare funding for school of origin transportation.
  • Ensure that, if there are additional costs incurred in providing transportation to the school of origin, the LEA will provide transportation when the following negotiations take place:
    • The local CWA office agrees to reimburse the LEA for the cost of such transportation;
    • The LEA and local CWA agree to share the cost;
    • The LEA agrees to pay for the cost of such transportation;
    • The school of origin, local CWA, school of residence and/or placing CWA share costs.

Development of the transportation plan should include both districts LEA’s and CWA’s point of contacts (POC).

In the event of a transportation dispute, local transportation plans should include a dispute resolution process to address how the transportation requirement will be met if parties cannot come to an agreement. LEAs must ensure that a child in foster care remains in the school of origin while any disputes regarding transportation costs are being resolved. ESEA 1111(g)(1)(E)(i) and 1112©(5)(B)(i)

Points of Contact

The District Foster Care Liaisons Contact List is in a downloadable excel document on the NDDPI website at https://www.nd.gov/dpi/data.  Scroll down to a gray box and click the “School Directory Contact Information.”  Within this excel file, there are multiple worksheets at the bottom.  Scroll left and right to find the Foster Care Liaisons tab.

  • County Social Service Board Directory
  • Division of Juvenile Services
  • Tribal Social Service Contacts