WCSD recognizes that foster youth are our most vulnerable students, and as such they may require additional interventions and supports to ensure success. Assembly Bill 490 (2003) created new rights and duties related to the education of dependents and wards in foster care:
- Educators, school personnel, social workers, probation officers, caregivers, advocates and juvenile court officers must all work together to serve the educational needs of children in foster care. EC 48850(a)(1)
- Students in foster care must have access to the same academic resources, services, extracurricular and enrichment activities available to all students. All educational and school placement decisions must be based on the child's best interests and consider, among other factors, educational stability and the least restrictive educational setting necessary to achieve academic progress. EC 48850(a)(1), 48853(h); WIC 361(a)(5), 726(c)(2)
- If a foster child’s residence changes, the LEA must let the child remain in his/her school of origin for as long as the court has jurisdiction over the child’s placement.
- Each LEA must designate an educational liaison for foster children, whose duties include the following:
- Ensuring proper educational placement, school enrollment, and checkout from school.
- Assisting with the transfer of grades, credits, and records when there is a school change.
See EC 48853.5(b)-(d), (e)(8)(C)
Local Public School Preferred
- Students in foster care must attend programs operated by the LEA unless the child remains in the school of origin, the child has an IEP requiring a different educational placement, or the educational rights holder determines it is in the child’s best interest to attend a different educational program. EC 48853(a)-(c)
- If a foster child changes schools, s/he has a right to be enrolled in the new school immediately, even if there are outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other items or money due to a school or if s/he does not have the clothing or records normally required for enrollment, including but not limited to academic records, medical records, proof of immunization history, proof of residency, or school uniforms. EC 48853.5(e)(8)(B)
- A student shall not be denied enrollment or readmission to a public school solely on the basis that s/he has had contact with the juvenile justice system, including but not limited to arrest, adjudication by a juvenile court, supervision by a probation officer, detention in a juvenile facility, or enrollment in a juvenile court school. EC 48645.5(b)
Timely Transfer of Records
- Within two business days of receiving a school transfer request, the current LEA must transfer the child out and deliver his/her records to the new school. The LEA must compile the child’s complete educational record, including a determination of seat time, full or partial credits earned, classes and grades, immunization records, and, if applicable, special education or Section 504 records. EC 49069.5(d)-(e).
- All records must be provided regardless of any fees, fines, textbooks, or other items or money owed to the last school. EC 48853.5(e)(8)(C).
- Within two business days of receiving a request for enrollment, the new school’s foster youth educational liaison must contact the last school to obtain all of the child’s records. EC 48853.5(e)(8)(C)
Grade and Credit Protections
- LEAs must accept coursework satisfactorily completed by a foster child while attending another public school, a juvenile court school, or a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, even if the child did not complete the entire course; must issue full or partial credit for the coursework satisfactorily completed; and must not require the child to retake a course already satisfactorily completed in one of these settings.
- Any credits accepted must be applied to the same or equivalent coursework, if applicable.
- If partial credit has been awarded in a particular course, the child must be enrolled in the same or equivalent
course, if applicable, so that s/he may continue and complete the entire course; the child must not be required to retake the portion of the course already completed unless the LEA, in consultation with the educational rights holder, finds that the child is reasonably able to complete that portion without causing a delay in meeting the other requirements for his/her graduation from high school.
- Notwithstanding the above, a foster child may not be prevented from retaking a course s/he needs to meet the admission requirements for California State University or the University of California. EC 51225.2, 48645.5(a)
Sports and Activities
- Students in foster care must have access to the same extracurricular activities and interscholastic sports that are available to all students. If a court or child welfare agency changes a child’s residence, s/he immediately is deemed to meet all residency requirements for participation in interscholastic sports and other extracurricular activities. EC 48850(a)
(Source Document: California Foster Care Education Law Fact Sheets, Fifth Edition, February 2014)
Foster Youth Educational Liaison:
Gladys Huerta/Christine Becerra-Watts
Click here for Los Angeles County Office of Education Resources Page