Data sharing between child welfare and educational agencies can greatly improve communication and collaboration among the agencies as well as education outcomes for children in foster care. Access to children’s education records can help caseworkers monitor and support children's educational success, assist with supporting them through transitions, and ensure children receive appropriate services and interventions. When a local education agency knows which children are in foster care, it helps education professionals better understand each child’s unique needs and assist them in reaching their full academic potential. The resources below provide additional information about how to promote and implement data sharing.
Collecting Data to Improve Educational Outcomes for Children in Out-of-Home Care (PDF - 101 KB)
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Education Law Center, & Juvenile Law Center (2011)
Presents frequently asked questions and answers related to data collection, sharing, and analysis regarding the educational outcomes of children in foster care.
Data Exchange and Performance Measurement for Educational Well-Being
Flango, Kennedy, McInerney, & Davis (2011)
Presents education well-being measures, including two case studies of communities exchanging information effectively to better attend to youths' emotional and educational needs. The materials also address questions relating to privacy concerns and measuring performance in order to influence better service delivery and decision-making. This workshop was presented at a conference co-sponsored by the Children's Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education. Workshop materials include the following:
- Workshop Video
- Measuring Educational Well-Being (PPT - 226 KB)
- Solving the Data Puzzle: A "How To" Guide for Cross-System Collaborations: Effective Models for Sharing Data & Improving Child Welfare Outcomes (PPT - 1,572 KB)
- Foster Focus: Data Sharing of Individualized Student Information (PDF - 7,711 KB)
- Proposed Well-Being Measures for Courts: Education (DOC - 1,470 KB)
Education Information Sharing
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Division of Safety and Permanence (2015)
Notifies agencies about two tools that are available for child welfare staff to increase information sharing between child welfare agencies and schools. The first is a caseworker desk guide that is intended to assist child welfare staff in collaborating and sharing information with schools. The second is the Education Passport form that can be generated from the State automated child welfare information system and provided to schools, alerting them of a student's enrollment into or disenrollment out of school. The form also provides other pertinent information that can help facilitate a student's academic success.
Foster Focus Data System to Capture Educational Data of Students in Foster Care (PDF - 972 KB)
Stewards of Change
Outlines how the Sacramento County Office of Education automates data entry of a child’s school and academic information across school districts in multiple California counties. Data can be uploaded nightly to the Foster Focus system, which is a secure web-based system that assures information is current and nightly uploads eliminate the need for manual data entry by staff. Currently, 23 California counties and 105 agencies use Foster Focus and the network is expanding throughout the State. Foster Focus supports bidirectional data exchange between child welfare and education. First, child welfare provides data that identifies youth, and then education matches their data to the child in care so education agencies can better determine whom they are responsible for serving and maintain a history as the youth change placements or schools. Child welfare can access academic history and securely communicate with the education agencies by logging into the system.
Guidance on the Amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (PDF - 135 KB)
U.S. Department of Education (2014)
Provides guidance about how to implement the changes made by FERPA.
Information Sharing to Improve Educational Outcomes for Children in Out-of-Home Care (PDF - 98 KB)
American Bar Association and Casey Family Programs (2008)
Includes frequently asked questions and answers related to information and data sharing regarding the education of children in foster care.
San Diego County Interagency Agreement for Providing Educational Support to Students in Foster Care (PDF - 6,320 KB)
San Diego County (2015)
Describes the interagency agreement among the Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program of the San Diego County Office of Education (FYSCP) and other San Diego County agencies, organizations, and school districts. The agreement created a web-based information sharing network for youth in foster care. The program, the Foster Youth – Student Information System (FY-SIS©), is designed to improve educational outcomes by gathering and transferring placement, health, and education records. FY-SIS© receives downloads of student information directly from school districts, child welfare, and probation and juvenile court. The ongoing operation and maintenance of FY-SIS© is governed by the FY-SIS© Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
Supporting Students in Foster Care: Collaboration Between Education and Child Welfare Agencies Is Key
Legal Center for Foster Care and Education & Data Quality Campaign (2015)
Highlights the importance of child welfare and education agencies sharing education data across systems so that children in foster care receive the support and services they need to achieve success in school. This factsheet also provides information about which States securely link their K–12 and foster care data systems.
Understanding Confidentiality and Education Decision Making for Youth in Foster Care
Campbell, Sanchez, Spak, & McNaught (2011)
Addresses Federal legal requirements, strategies for sharing information, and ways to identify who is making the education decisions. This workshop was presented at a conference co-sponsored by the Children's Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education. Workshop materials include the following:
- Workshop Video
- Understanding Confidentiality and Education Decision Making for Youth in Foster Care (PPT - 454 KB)
- Confidentiality and Educational Decision Making for Foster Youth With Disabilities (PPT - 1,353 KB)
- IDEA Regulations: 34 CFR Parts 300 and 301: Assistance to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities and Preschool Grants for Children With Disabilities: Final Rule (DOC - 52 KB)