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Foster Youth

Every student in our district is ensured access to the same opportunities for academic achievement and supports, including children and youth in foster care.  Foster youth have educational rights established through Assembly Bills 167, 216, and 490 to help eliminate barriers to education and ensure school stability.  These rights are now part of California Education Code. 

It is important for school staff to be fully aware of these rights as well as parent/guardians and foster youth themselves.  See below for a summary of some key educational rights of foster children and youth.  For more information, contact the Office of Children & Youth in Transition.

Educational Rights of Children and Youth in Foster Care

Educational Right Description
Immediate Enrollment in School. Students must be enrolled in school immediately following any change in schools even without academic and medical records, immunization records, proof of residency, school uniform, or fees/material owed to the sending school.
Educational Placement Decisions based on school of origin and child’s best interest. Foster youth and homeless youth have the right to remain in their school of origin for the duration of the school year. Students experiencing homelessness may attend either the local attendance area school (any public school that students living in the same attendance area are eligible to attend) or his or her school of origin (the school the child attended when permanently housed, or the school in which the child was last enrolled.)
Grades Protected. Grades of foster youth cannot be lowered due to absences caused by a change in placement, a court appearance, or a court-ordered activity and schools must award credit for full or partial coursework
Equitable Access to Educational Services. Students in foster care and students who are homeless must have equitable access to academic resources, services, enrichment, and extracurricular activities that are available to all other students
Caseworker and Probation Officer Access to Educational Records (students in Foster Care). A foster youth’s case worker and probation officer may access a student’s school records without parental consent or a court order.
Timely Transfer of School Records. Schools and county agencies must collaborate to ensure that a child’s school records, i.e. complete education record of the pupil including a determination of seat time, full or partial credits earned, current classes and grades, immunization and other records, and, if applicable, the child’s special education Individual Education Program (IEP).
Educational Rights of Parent/Guardian or other educational rights holder. Parents have the right to make educational decision for their child unless their child is in a legal guardianship or the parent’s rights have been terminated, or the court has limited the parent’s educational rights. To determine the educational rights holder of a specific child, please contact Children & Youth in Transition for assistance.
Option for Eligibe 11th and 12th Graders to Meet Modified Graduation Requirements. Eligible foster and homeless youth in grades 11 and 12 have the option of meeting state rather than district graduation requirements if the student has transferred schools and is not reasonably able to complete district requirements and graduate on time.


 

To learn more about the educational rights of foster youth, click here.