5254 Ensuring Educational Stability

Child Welfare Case Management Provider (CWCMP) staff shall work with the school system to ensure children in the custody of the Secretary receive educational resources according to individual need.  The coordination shall include a discussion of how to ensure the child’s stable placement in school, and if needed, how transportation will be provided to assure that the child can stay in the same school.  

 

A. All school-age children in foster care shall attend school as required by state law. The school shall be accredited by the Kansas State Department of Education. The CWCMP, the child's parents, and the child’s foster, adoptive, or relative placement shall help children in care achieve the highest level of formal education the child is capable of completing. 

 

B. When placed in foster care, initially or subsequent foster care placement changes, school-age children shall be maintained in their own school whenever possible. Placement in foster care shall take into consideration the child’s proximity to their school of origin (sending school), the appropriateness of the educational placement, and whether transportation to the school of origin (sending school) is necessary to achieve educational stability for the child.

 

C. When the CWCMP is informed of a child’s placement change, which may involve moving from the school of origin (sending school), the CWCMP shall reference the Educational Stability Process Map (Appendix 5P). The CWCMP shall immediately contact the Point of Contact (POC) for the school district (also referred to as the Local Education Authority) for the school of origin (sending school) to inform them of the child’s move and potential change in school location. The school district POC will then designate an individual with knowledge of the child’s educational background and needs to participate in the Best Interest Determination (BID) staffing.  Once the potential new placement and school district is identified, the CWCMP must contact the school of origin (sending school) and promptly schedule the BID staffing to determine if the child should stay at the school of origin or transfer to the new school.

 

D.  A Best Interest Determination (BID) staffing, as defined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), shall occur with the school of origin (sending school) prior to each move to ensure educational stability and decide whether it is in the best interest of a child to remain in their school of origin (sending school). 

 

1.  The staffing, at a minimum, should include the CWCMP and the school district point of contact, or designee for the school district to discuss what is needed to ensure educational stability based on the needs and the best interest of the child.  In an emergent or time limited situation, a BID may be held in the form of a phone call. 

 

2.    Additional persons with knowledge pertinent to the child’s case may be invited to participate in the BID staffing in person or by providing written input to be considered.  The additional persons may include:

a.    Biological Parents, if parental rights are still intact

b.    Foster Parents

c.    Guardian Ad Litem

d.    Educational Advocate

e.    DCF Staff

f.     Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)

 

Participants in the BID staffing should consider:

1.    Length of Time Enrolled in School of Origin

2.    Learning Behaviors/Disabilities

3.    Safety Factors

4.    Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities

5.    Distance of New Placement from School of Origin

6.    IEP and 504 Plan Services

7.    Child Preference

8.    Parent Preference, if parental rights are still intact

9.    Child’s Attachment to School of Origin

10. Placement of Siblings

11. Influence of School Climate

12. Availability and Quality of Services

 

The staffing decision and participants shall be documented on Part A of the Educational Enrollment Information for School Placement Form (PPS 5254).    

 

E. Potential BID Outcomes: 

 

1.    If it is determined to be in the best interest of the child to stay at their school of origin (sending school), then the school district and CWCMP must develop plans for providing cost-effective transportation for the student to remain in the same school.  The CWCMP must negotiate the transportation as needed by the child with the school district.  Considerations when negotiating the necessary transportation include:

a.    Age of child

b.    Type of transportation available

c.    Flexibility in school schedule

d.    Impact of extracurricular activities on transportation options

e.    Maturity and behavioral capacity of the child

f.     Traffic patterns

g.    Additional needs of the child (i.e. presence of paraprofessional, car lifts, etc)

 

If there are additional costs incurred in providing transportation to the school of origin, the school district will provide the transportation if 1) CWCMP agrees to reimburse for additional costs 2) district agrees to pay for additional costs or 3) the school district and CWCMP agree to share costs.

 

2.    If it is determined to be in the best interest of the child to leave their school of origin (sending school), then the CWCMP must inform the receiving school of the decision and shall forward the PPS 5254 to the receiving school.  The PPS 5254 shall include the following:

a.    child’s name

b.    new school of enrollment and placement information

c.    prior last two schools and placement information

d.    educational advocate (name, address, phone number), if applicable

e.    assigned CWCMP case manager (name, address, phone number)

f.     CWCMP supervisor (name, address, phone number)

g.    DCF FC Liaison/ DCF Administrator (name, address, phone number)

 

The CWCMP will ensure once the move occurs the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan is transferred to the receiving school and refer appropriate children for Education Advocates. 

 

The CWCMP will update the PPS 5254 and PPS 5120 each time a child experiences a change in school, even within the same district. This includes placements where the school is on-site, such as correctional facilities, detention centers, state hospitals, and some residential facilities. This update is not required when the child is moved back to the parent, as the child is no longer in out of home placement.

 

F. Children who are in the custody of the Secretary with parental rights terminated may be approved to be home schooled when they are in a home that has signed an Adoptive Placement Agreement, and based on approval from the Case Planning Team and the court.

 

1.Two separate releases of information shall be signed before a child's information may be added to this database:

a The Appendix 5Q- Authorization to Disclose Information Including Children's Individually Identifiable Health Information, and the

b Appendix 5H KSDE Consent for Release of Information form (this form authorizes the school to release information to DCF and other agencies involved with the child's care).

1)     DCFstaff shall attempt to obtain the parent's signature on these two releases prior to the time the child is referred to the CWCMP. It is always preferred that the parent sign these forms, but if DCF staff are unable to obtain the parent's signature, Child Welfare Case Management Provider staff or DCF are authorized to sign the Appendix 5Q and the Appendix 5H KSDE Consent for Release of Information form for those children who do not have an IEP.

2)    For children with an IEP, only the parent, a relative caregiver, or Education Advocate is authorized to sign the Appendix 5H KSDE Consent for Release of Information form. State statute and KSDE allow relatives to act as parents in educational decision making. Therefore, children receiving Special Education services who are placed with a relative will not need an Education Advocate appointed when parental rights have been terminated or the parents have been determined to be unavailable per Section 5257. The relative can sign the Appendix 5H KSDE Consent for Release of Information form.

 

G. Graduation Requirements – Kansas statute requires the board of education of a school district to award a high school diploma to any person requesting a diploma if the person is at least 17 years of age, is enrolled or resides in such school district, is or has been a child in the custody of the Secretary of DCF at any time after turning 14 years of age, and has achieved the minimum high school graduation requirements adopted by the State Board of Education.