IDOE Charter School Training – ESSA and Foster Youth as Students

all right so there’s my contact information I don’t have quite as much time to talk as James did but no no that you are good we knew that was going to happen that way so please feel free to contact me I’ll have my information on the very last slide that you can also call me I’m the state point of contact for foster care so just if you have any questions regarding foster care please feel free to contact me why foster care what about foster care is different than homeless kids well children in foster care are some of the country’s most educationally disadvantaged studies show students at foster care experience school suspensions and expulsions at higher rates lower standardized test scores in reading and math high levels of grade retention and dropout and far lower high school and college graduation rates so President Obama decided these kids are concerned for us and we want to do something about that so that’s why I so really takes and and grasps this foster care population and tries to do help them out so what essa does that is different from before before the mckinney-vento person would also kind of handle foster care at the state level and for our purposes at the Department of Education the Polly Janney is our mckinney-vento person and when essa came out they said there has to be a separate person separate and apart from mckinney-vento to deal with foster care and so that’s what I do I’m the state point of contact at the Department of Education for foster care issues now what it does is the local Education Agency meaning charter schools public schools things like that they don’t have to have a separate person as a point of contact they just have to have a point of contact so the same person that deals with mckinney-vento could also deal with foster care james at warren how does that work it’s you too so that’s a difference that the state has to be separate people at the local education agency it can be the same person if you want it can be a different person but what we ask is that there is one person for your entire district or your entire school corporation that is the point of contact and then if you have different people at different buildings that take care of homeless or take care of foster care then you can decide how that gets there we just want one person to simplify it okay SSO removes the status of a waiting foster care James and one his slides had that as part of the homeless definition now it’s not so if you’re if you are awaiting a foster care placement and you’re with with a friend or with a family you’re still considered a foster child and entire entitled to supportive services under that under essa the new definition of foster care at this point is 24-hour substitute care for children placed away from their parents or guardians for whom the child welfare agency has placement and care responsibilities this includes children in foster family homes shelters relative foster homes group homes and residential facilities regardless of whether the foster care facility is licensed or whether payments are made by the state so that’s that the federal definition for foster care okay so the educational agencies have a point of contact and again for us we asked you just have one point of contact we have districts that try to say well at the elementary school it’s this and at the high school it’s this we just say no we want one person and then you can get it to the right people in the right buildings we just want to know who to let know there’s a foster child in your district oh there’s a foster child moving in or foster child changing placement things like that but I want to encourage you to understand is the Department of Education and the Department of Child Services the state child welfare agency are working very closely on the issues of foster care so we are collaborating very very closely we want your input and your involvement in the department the processes of determining best interest placements transportation and things like that so as we move forward understand this isn’t something that we’re telling you you have to do do it doesn’t matter what you think we’re trying to say there was a lot to consider here and we want your input as part of that process so the best interest educational placement James mentioned that before some things to consider the best interest of for education placement determination is initiated by the Department of Child Services so their family case manager will be aware that one of their kids in their custody is moving into a into a foster home in their area and the foster home might be in yours in your school district might be in your in your charter school and the they’ll simply let you know that this child is a foster child and they’ll send you a document the document is called in most cases it’s called a school notification form these documents are available on on our website but just to show you the school notification form should be any time there is a new placement or anytime there’s a change in placement for a child this form should go out to you from the Department of Child Services notifying you that something’s changing and this child is a foster child and what you’ll see is one of the new things from essa is that it requires schools to report who are foster children that you served at any point during the year and it doesn’t mean that it’s a one subject if a cut child comes in as a foster child and then goes home to his parents or go home goes home with a parent it doesn’t mean that they’re not a foster child it’s that if they came to you as a foster child at any point during the year at the end of the year we need your reporting you’re gonna mark yes and that will help us flag information and the Department of Child Welfare to flag information to look at more data for those foster children okay that’s that’s the PERT in the perfect world that’s what happens the the second step to that is make sure you’re asking so most of a lot of times they don’t tell you cuz they don’t want to tell you the kids nor the families so you’d be lucky to get this form sometimes depends on who your point of contact is to get the forms we’re just such a large school we don’t know half the time who are off the kids are so we may enroll if you have a question ear they might identify themselves or caseworkers sometimes we’re coming to work so when people enroll they because there’s three people three different entities that can withdraw or enrolling kid one could be family member which is called relative care to could be capable and three could be a guardian in life so any of those entities can come in and talk to you all about the kids all three are considered people who are looking after the character foster kids yeah and they have the ability to make decisions on the child’s behalf so the point of contact for DCs as I said usually will be the family case manager but every region has an educational liaison for the Department of Child Services and so if if you’re not here in that term or person educational liaison I want to encourage you to ask about that because the educational liaison is a more seasoned educationally focused and and has a good history in education and they’re going to make better educational decisions and the family case manager might now the family case manager might be a fantastic person have wonderful background and so on but it might be a person fresh out of school and not have the information so the educational liaisons in my opinion are going to be a great source a great resource for you for continuity of care for things as far as establishing best interest placement and things like that so please if a child’s come to you as a foster child and you’re only hearing from the family case manager ask about the educational liaison and whether they’re involved in the process of deciding best interest placement for the child and again you’re part of that equation too so don’t just let them come to you and say this is what we versus what we’re doing here you go if you agree with that that’s okay but know that you don’t have to just take it you can be part of the process to engage in deciding how the best interest is determined the Department of Child Services their family case manager will probably start by filling out what’s called a point of contact checklist and it looks it’s a two or three page form that kind of systematizes the process of considering different factors for a child and that form is available on the DOA website and so I want you to you know just go there VCS will probably send that to you but you can go and access that from our diely website now the completed point of contact checklist will probably go from the family case manager to the educational liaison they should both sign off on that and then it should come to the school district and that’s at the point where you say okay I knew the kid was coming okay here’s good information and makes sense what they’re deciding we’re we’re in full agreement we’re gonna sign this and it’s that’s the plan or you can say wait a second this this is an hour bus ride for this kid and I don’t think that’s in their best interest so I want to talk about this some more and please raise those questions and so on and engage and dialogue about that because there’s other points that you don’t know maybe it’s an hour bus ride but maybe this is gonna be a short term placement for two weeks until the dad comes home from you know from the military and once he gets back there’s gonna be more stability the family will be able to be together and so there’s no use uprooting a child from an educational placement for two weeks yes it’s an hour but an hour is doable for two weeks and when the kid gets back and he’ll be in you know in this area again dad will be able to you know take care of things so DCs will bring to the table some factors that you might not be considering would not know about but please engage in that process the next thing that they’ll deal was once they decide that the best interest placement is in your school is the sigh hey where what where did they come from where was the school of origin and do we have to arrange transportation and if transportation is necessary that partner child services has a transportation form which is also available on our website and that trams transportation form will decide kind of who’s involved in the decision making process where is the child living what are the arrangements for and how long is this kind of gonna be as far as we can tell right now and so again that’s a collaborative process that’s not done to you it’s done with you and well James said earlier is keep in mind the decisions were making are based on the best interest for the kid what is best for the kid where is the best place for the child to be it may be an inconvenience financially and timewise for us but if it’s in the best interest of the kid that’s what always goes back to you what’s in the kids best interest transportation to be provided for as long as the child is in foster care and it is in the child’s best interest to attend the school so if the child all of a sudden is getting in fights all the time at your school it might be time for a kind of a to convene a conference with the Department of Child Services and say look this was it was nice on paper but it’s not working out so well they’re not getting here on a regular basis they’re always fighting they’re out there expelled things like that let’s consider it whether this is still the best interest of the child so because it was determined best interest at one time doesn’t mean it always stays that way okay like mckinney-vento you don’t have to have all the documentation to get kids in for foster care you get them in immediately and then you work behind the scenes to get all the documents dead-on for foster kids at the end of the school year there was a one time report and you’ll list on there any child that was a foster child during that point of the year if they were in your district and you serve them that’s a yes if they weren’t a foster child and you serve them there are no and then we’ll use the information on the Department of Child Welfare we use the information to get further data on those kids okay any questions

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