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Every Student Succeeds Act
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaces No Child Left Behind. It is the first federal education legislation that has specific provisions that address the needs of children and youth who are in foster care.
- State-level education department plans must describe the steps they will take to ensure collaboration with the State child welfare agency to ensure the educational stability of children or youth in foster care including assurances that:
- Foster youth remain in their school of origin, unless a determination is made that it is not in their best interest.
- The determination must be based on best interest factors, including consideration of the appropriateness of the current educational setting, and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.
- When a determination is made that it is not in the best interest to remain in the school of origin, the child must be immediately enrolled in a new school.
- The state education agency designates a point of contact for child welfare agencies.
- Local district plans must contain an assurance that districts will collaborate with the state or local child welfare agency to:
- Designate a point of contact if the corresponding child welfare agencies notifies the local school district that it has designated a point of contact for the LEA.
- Within one year of enactment, develop and implement procedures for how transportation to maintain foster youth in their schools of origin, when in their best interest, will be provided, arranged and funded.
School District Foster Care Liaisons
Every school district is required to identify a Foster Care Liaison to assist. This liaison is to be available to assist with ensuring that students who are in foster care are able to remain in the school of origin when found in the best interest. They may be helpful with developing transportation plans and making sure student are immediately enrolled.
School district Foster Care Liaisons can be found on the Educational Entity Master repository.
MDHHS Education Point-of-Contact
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has identified Education Points-of-Contact in each MDHHS county office. These Points-of-Contact can assist with directing school staff or others who may be involved with a foster care case, to the correct foster care case worker in that county. They may also be able to offer technical assistance with school placement issues or concerns.
Some counties have an identified Education Planner. Education Planners provide one-on-one assistance to older youth in foster care and act as a liaison between the child welfare system and the education system. Education planners are available to MDHHS, private agencies, and school systems to conduct presentations and training on policy requirements and specific educational needs of older youth in care. They are able to provide more support than the Education Points-of-Contact and they can be found here.