WASHINGTON, D.C. [10/3/2019]—This week, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues released a report on how the federal government can better help ensure a stable education for students in foster care who are far too often bounced from school to school.
Sen. Smith—a member of the Senate Education Committee—said that these new placements and disruptions can jeopardize students’ academic achievement. The federal law is clear that when children are brought into foster care or change placements, the state must ensure they remain in the school in which they are enrolled at the time of each placement so long as it is in the child’s best interest.
The report shows significant state—and district-level challenges to implementing current law meant to address this issue and concludes that the Department of Education (ED) can do more to support the state education and child welfare agencies tasked with collaborating to ensure students stay in their school of origin. The report recommends that ED take steps to provide states with the information and resources they need to ensure a stable education for students in foster care.
“When kids are in supportive homes and schools, it helps them thrive and sets them up for success in and out of the classroom,” said Sen. Smith. “When children in foster care have to change home placements, the question of where they go to school is an important one and they should at least have the option to remain in their school, if that’s what is best for them. This report outlines how the Department of Education can and should do more to make sure states and school districts in Minnesota and across the country are supporting all students, including those in foster care.”
You can read the full report here.