Frequently Asked QuestionsEvery Student Succeeds Act Transportation for Students in Foster Care and Identification of a Local Educational Agency Point of Contact.
What must local educational agencies (LEA) do in regards to transportation to school of origin for students in foster care, under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)?
Develop and implement clear written procedures governing how transportation to maintain students in foster care in their school of origin when in their best interest will be provided, arranged, and funded for the duration of their time in foster care, and ensure that students promptly receive that transportation.
In California, foster youth have the right to continue to attend their school of origin through the end of the school year for youth in grades one through eight, and have the right to complete high school for students already in high school when their case closes. California Education Code (EC) Section 48853.
Designate a “Point of Contact” (POC) if the corresponding child welfare agency notifies the LEA in writing that it has designated an employee to serve as a POC for the LEA.
What must the clear written procedures include?
These procedures must ensure that children and youth in foster care who need transportation to the school of origin promptly receive it in a cost-effective manner.
If there are additional costs incurred in providing transportation to the school of origin, school districts will provide transportation through one of the following methods: The child welfare agency agrees to reimburse the school district;
- The school district agrees to pay the costs; or
- The school district and the child welfare agency agree to share the costs.
Do local educational agencies need to identify a Point of Contact?
California is already a leader in supporting the educational stability for students in foster care and every LEA has identified a POC in accordance with EC Section 48853.5, irrespective of the corresponding identification of a POC by the corresponding child welfare agency. The California Department of Education (CDE) encourages LEAs to build upon this success, by proactively reaching out to the local child welfare agency to begin or continue a process of ongoing interagency collaboration, which may or may not include child welfare appointing a POC.
When must these Every Student Succeeds Act requirements be implemented?
These educational stability requirements for students in foster care took effect on December 10, 2016, one year after the enactment of ESSA. This timeline has been documented in two “Dear Colleague Letters” from the U.S. Department of Education.
Are there regulations for these Every Student Succeeds Act foster youth educational stability provisions?
No. For more information regarding these provisions, please consult the non-regulatory guidance document released by the federal Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services (PDF) in June 2016. Transportation is specifically addressed in pages 15–20 of this guidance.
The CDE also recommends that LEAs review the guidance and sample transportation agreements included in the ESSA implementation toolkit developed by the Legal Center on Foster Care and Education , specifically in pages 33–42.
In California, foster youth have the right to continue to attend their school of origin through the end of the school year for youth in grades one through eight, and have the right to complete high school for students already in high school when their case closes. EC Section 48853.
Please note that ESSA transportation requirements apply even if an LEA does not otherwise provide transportation to students who are not in foster care; also note that the ESSA educational stability provisions apply to preschool-age children in foster care, in addition to older students. If an LEA offers a public preschool education, the requirements must be met for pre-school age foster youth as well. Elementary and Secondary Education Act Section 1111(g)(1)(E).
See the December 2016 joint Dear Colleague Letter issued by the U.S. Department of Education and Health and Human Services .