Top Stories of 2018: Educational Stability for Foster Youth

We’re counting down 10 of the biggest stories The Chronicle of Social Change published in 2018. Each day, we’ll connect readers with a few links to our coverage on a big story from 2018.

In 2015, Congress completed a long-sought update of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the law governing much of the federal role and funding for schools. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) included a new protection for foster youth: By 2016, school districts must be partners in transporting them to their school of origin, if that’s what they wanted and the courts agreed was in their best interest.

This was not a new concept. In 2008, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act required child welfare agencies to ensure foster youths a chance at remaining in their school, even if their foster care placement was in another county or school district. But child welfare agencies do not control school transportation, and the 2008 law did not address the role of school districts.

Two years after the 2016 deadline, Chronicle reporting on ESSA found a pretty murky picture when it came to compliance on the educational stability requirements.

Lead Read

The Case of ‘V. Doe’ Could Have Major Implications for the Education of Foster Youth Nationwide, by Daniel Heimpel, covered a case in which a school district had cut off support for a foster youth after she had moved placements to a new area of Rhode Island. The ensuing appeals made clear that Rhode Island was holding the school district of origin responsible.

A month later, a push in Rhode Island for a legislative solution on ESSA put the scarcity of resources in both the child welfare and education systems on full display.

Also Read

Daniel Heimpel on how at least 11 states were struggling to live up to the educational stability standards in 2018.

Christie Renick on whether the states that claim to be in compliance are living up to the spirit of the ESSA requirements.

John Kelly on a policy recommendation from one former foster youth: To ensure educational stability, just make better efforts to keep youth close to home.

Christie Renick on Colorado’s legislation aimed at guaranteeing educational stability for foster youth.

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John Kelly
About John Kelly 1135 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.