School districts and Children's Division must ensure that a child in foster care enrolls or remains in his or her school of origin unless a determination is made that it is not in the child's best interest. (ESEA section 1111(g)(1)(E)(i). School of origin is defined as the school in which a child is enrolled at the time of placement in foster care. If a child's foster care placement changes, the school of origin would then be considered the school where the child is enrolled at the time of the placement change.
Certain factors should be considered when determining if it is in a child's best interest to remain in his or her school of origin; the Foster Car Liaisons between the two districts, the Children's Division case manager, foster parents, biological parents (if applicable), juvenile officer, etc. take into consideration all factors relating to a child's best interest.
These factors include the appropriateness of the current educational setting and proximity of placement. Though the specific factors may vary depending on the context, a variety of student-centered factors should be considered to make a holistic and well-informed determination. These may include:
- Preferences of the child
- Preferences of the child's parents(s) or education decision maker(s)
- The child's attachment to the school, including meaningful relationships with staff and peers
- Placement of the child's siblings
- Influence of the school climate on the child, including safety
- The availability and quality of the services in the school to meet the child's educational and socio-emotional needs
- History of school transfers and how they have impacted the child
- How the length of the commute would impact the child, based on the child's developmental stage
- Whether the child is a student with a disability under the IDEA who is receiving special education or related aids and services, and if so, the availability of those required services in a school other than the school of origin
- Whether the child is an EL and is receiving language services, and, if so, the availability of those required services in a school other than the school of origin, consistent with Title VI and the EEOA
- Transportation costs should not be considered when determining a child's best interest.
Foster Care Liaison
Cherie Magueja, MSW,LCSW
Foster Care Liason
Parkway School District
760 Woods Mill Drive
Ballwin, MO 63011
State Foster Care Coordinator
Grants and Resources Mainline: 573-526-3232
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