The nonregulatory guidance for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) describes how a State education agency must coordinate with the State or Tribal child welfare agency to ensure that the local education agencies implement the educational stability requirements for children in foster care as stated in title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. To do this, child welfare agencies, courts, and local education agencies must work together and use data to ensure that there are minimal interruptions to a child's learning, which often means that children and youth entering foster care remain in the same school unless it is determined to be in the child's best interests to transfer to a different school. These provisions help support positive educational outcomes for children and youth in out-of-home care. Below, find resources about the specific provisions included in ESSA, along with general resources to support educational stability for children and youth in foster care.
- Immediate enrollment
- Best-interest decision-making and dispute resolution
- School transportation
- Joint collaboration
- Data sharing
Best Practices: Immediate Enrollment for Children and Youth in Foster Care (PDF - 154 KB)
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Foster Care Education Program (2016)
Examines the statistics regarding the educational success of children in foster care and offers strategies for reducing the barriers that hinder educational opportunities for children involved with the child welfare system.
Enrolling Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness in School
National Center for Homeless Education at SERVE (2018)
Explains key provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act related to enrolling students experiencing homelessness immediately in school and connecting them with appropriate resources.
Best-interest decision-making and dispute resolution
Better Decisions for Better Results
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2019)
Presents information on how two county agencies applied a quality improvement process to improve their decision-making processes and achieve better outcomes for children and families.
Determining the Best Interests of the Child
Title I, Part A Foster Care Sample Dispute Resolution Process (PDF - 317 KB)
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (2016)
Outlines a sample that can be used to resolve disputes related to best-interest decision-making for youth experiencing educational instability.
Considerations for Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in Developing Transportation Procedures for Students in Foster Care Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (PDF - 217 KB)
The School Superintendents Association & National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (2016)
Discusses the transportation requirements for local educational agencies to obtain Every Student Succeeds Act title IA funds, including having enough buses and drivers and providing comparable transportation services to all students.
Implementing ESSA’s Transportation Procedures: How Local Education Agencies Can Work With Child Welfare to Ensure School Stability (PDF - 365 KB)
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Juvenile Law Center, Education Law Center (2017)
Addresses the transportation requirements of local education agencies under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The report also explains the duties and responsibilities of local education agencies and provides a step-by-step plan to implement ESSA’s transportation requirements.
Transportation for Students in Foster Care: A Legal and Practical Reference Tool
School House Connection (2018)
Reviews transportation requirements for child welfare and educational agencies. This resource includes information on the development of transportation procedures for youth in foster care and samples of transportation guidelines and procedures.
Fostering Success in Education: National Factsheet on the Educational Outcomes of Children in Foster Care (PDF - 511 KB)
National Working Group on Foster Care and Education (2018)
Summarizes the changes in educational policies and practices that have taken place over the past decade—as well as the growing number of Federal and State laws that provide rights and protection to children in foster care—in order to enhance the efficiency of data sharing and collaboration between educational and child welfare agencies.
The Most Frequently Asked Questions on the Educational Rights of Children and Youth in Homeless Situations (PDF - 1,185 KB)
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty & National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
Describes the school selection, transportation, enrollment, and best-interest decision-making guidelines associated with educational stability to support related professionals in partnering with the child welfare system.
Beyond ESSA: How to Use Your Data to Make Informed Decisions
Presents tools and processes to effectively manage data used in best-interest decision-making.
Data and Information Sharing
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Legal Center for Foster Care and Education
Provides resources and State and local examples to describe the types of data that can best describe the educational needs of children and youth in foster care.
ESSA Resources to Make Data Work for Students
Data Quality Campaign (2019)
Provides resources that State and local child welfare and school agencies can use to meet educational goals, including report card and achievement gap data.
Roadmap for Foster Care and K–12 Data Linkages: Key Focus Areas to Ensure Quality Implementation (PDF - 414 KB)
Data Quality Campaign & American Bar Association Center for Children and the Law, Legal Center for Foster Care and Education (2017)
Highlights the importance and benefits of child welfare and educational agencies sharing data and working together to improve educational outcomes for children in foster care. This resource provides suggestions for ways to improve and build linkages between agencies when additional resources are available.