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School & Education > Enrollment and Transfers > Education of DCFS-Supervised Children

Education of DCFS-Supervised Children

0700-500.10 | Revision Date: 07/01/14

Overview

This policy guide provides information on the educational rights of DCFS-supervised children and instructions on how to ensure that the educational needs of these children are met.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Child/Youth Educational Rights

Immediate Enrollment

School-of-Origin

Public School Preference

Calculation of School Credit

California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE)

Early Care and Early Education Services

Early Head Start (0 – 36 Months)

Head Start (3 – 5 Years Old)

Los Angeles Universal Pre-School (LAUP) (4+ Years Old)

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Early Childhood Education Division (ECED) (0 – 5 Years Old)

Accredited Child Care Programs (0 -13 Years of Age)

School Attendance Review Board (SARB)

The SARB Process

Referral Process to the SARB

SARB Chairperson

Managing Cases to Achieve Successful Educational Outcomes

Procedure

Continuing at or Changing the School-of-Origin

CSW Responsibilities

Preparing for a Hearing Regarding a Child/Youth's School-of-Origin after Placement

CSW Responsibilities

Transferring Students and their Records

CSW Responsibilities

Determining School Credit, Appropriate Coursework Exemptions, and College Admission/Transfer Opportunities

CSW Responsibilities

Receiving a Referral Regarding a Child who is Not Attending School

Child Protection Hotline (CPH) CSW Responsibilities

Responding to a Child's Referral to SARB

CSW Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Forms

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 11/19/13 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan. This policy incorporates content from Procedural Guide 0700-506.10, Referrals to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) for DCFS-Supervised Children, thereby cancelling that policy guide. The title of this policy guide has been changed from "Youth Development: Education."

POLICY

Child/Youth Educational Rights

DCFS and educational providers are legally obligated to ensure a child/youth's educational stability. All information related to educational stability must be documented in the Case Plan. DCFS-supervised children/youth have the right to the same educational opportunities as all students, consistent with their age and developmental level. A child/youth's rights include:

 

School Transitioning to

Required Local Educational Agency (LEA) Actions

School between grade levels

  • The LEA must allow the child/youth to continue in the school district of origin in the same attendance area.

Middle school or high school

AND

Is in another school district

  • The LEA must allow the child/youth to go to the designated school in that other district.

 

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and DCFS operate the electronic data sharing system, Student Information Tracking System (SITS). SITS is only available for LAUSD students but is expected to expand to include all school districts within Los Angeles County.

 

Additionally, the following resources may be helpful to meet the educational needs of the child/youth:

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Immediate Enrollment Requirement

LEAs and school districts are required, by law, to immediately enroll all DCFS-supervised children/youth regardless of whether the school has received a child/youth's school records, immunization records, or other documents required for enrollment.

 

By law, children/youth may not be denied immediate school enrollment, including for outstanding fees or textbooks owed to the former school or for the lack of a school uniform. If barriers to enrolling a DCFS-supervised child/youth are encountered, the Holder of Educational Rights, the child/youth's attorney, and the County Counsel must be contacted immediately.

 

CSWs and LEAs are jointly responsible for the timely transfer of children/youth and their records when a change of schools is in the children/youth's best interest.

 

The school to which a child/youth is transferring is required, by law, to ensure the immunization of a DCFS-supervised child/youth when there is not a record of him/her being immunized.

 

A placement may not temporarily enroll a child/youth in a Non Public School (NPS) while awaiting the outcome of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). If a child/youth does not have a valid signed and consented IEP from the Holder of Educational Rights (HER), he/she must remain enrolled in his/her school-of-origin, whenever possible, or be immediately enrolled in the local public school.

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School-of-Origin

DCFS-supervised children/youth have the right to remain in their school-of-origin following a change in his/her placement:

 

In the following circumstances, the school-of-origin will be determined by the school district's Educational Liaison for Foster Youth, in consultation and agreement with the child/youth and his/her Holder of Educational Rights (HER):

 

The child/youth, may elect to continue to attend the school-of-origin for the remainder of the school year, even when jurisdiction is terminated. This wish must be communicated through his/her parent/legal guardian under the following circumstances:

 

A JV-539, Request for Hearing Regarding Child's Education, should be filed to request a hearing regarding a child/youth's right to remain in the school-of-origin.

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Public School Preference

All DCFS-supervised children/youth are to be enrolled in a public school. These children may only attend a nonpublic school (NPS) under the following two (2) circumstances:

 

A residential placement facility or group home is legally prohibited from requiring a child/youth to attend a nonpublic school as a condition for placement. The County Counsel should be contacted immediately if this is encountered.

Calculation of School Credit

LEAs and school districts are required to calculate and accept credit for full or partial coursework satisfactorily completed by a DCFS-supervised child/youth that was earned while attending a public school, juvenile court school, nonpublic, or nonsectarian school. Schools are legally prohibited from lowering grades based on placement or court-related absences.

 

If a DCFS-supervised youth, in the eleventh (11th) or twelfth (12th) grade, transfers from another school district or between high schools within the same school district, the school district is required to exempt him/her from all statewide required coursework and all additional, school district governing board requirements. These exemptions will not be granted, however, if the school district finds that the youth is reasonably able to complete the additional requirements in time to graduate from high school while he/she remains eligible for foster care benefits.

 

If any waived requirement will affect a DCFS-supervised youth's ability to attend a four (4) year college/university upon graduation from high school, his/her school district is required to do the following:

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California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE)

All California public school students are required to pass the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) to earn a high school diploma. Students must also meet all other state and local requirements. The court must be informed of the following at each status review hearing for a DCFS-supervised child/youth that has entered the tenth (10th) grade:

 

The State of California requires that all schools provide tutoring, modifications, and assistance for the CAHSEE at no cost to a student with special needs. Youth with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) who do not pass the CAHSEE may qualify for a diploma but not a certificate of completion.

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Early Care and Early Education Services

Enrolling children in early care and education opportunities helps ensure that they are ready for school. It is strongly encouraged that DCFS-supervised children who are five (5) years of age or younger be enrolled in an appropriate early care or early education program.

 

For information on the Healthy Start program, see Referring Children to Healthy Start.

Early Head Start (0 – 36 Months)

Early Head Start gives priority enrollment to the following types of individuals and families:

 

Early Head Start services include:

Head Start (3 – 5 Years Old)

Head Start programs provide services to prepare children for a school environment. Head Start Early Childhood Education Programs are federally funded and serve children three (3) and four (4) years of age. The Los Angeles County Office of Education , and not the Regional Center, is the grantee for most Early Head Start and Head Start services in Los Angeles County.

 

All DCFS children with open cases qualify, have priority, and if selected may receive services at no cost for Head Start programs. Services available through Head Start Programs may include:

Los Angeles Universal Pre-School (LAUP) (4+ Years Old)

Los Angeles Universal Pre-School (LAUP) provides children, ages (3) and four (4), and their families with voluntary, high-quality preschool in Los Angeles County regardless of family's income. It is an independent public benefit corporation that is funded by First 5 LA.

 

All DCFS-supervised children with open cases qualify, have priority, and if selected may receive services at no cost for the following LAUP programs:

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Early Childhood Education Division (ECED) (0 – 5) Years Old)

The Early Childhood Education Division (ECED) of the Los Angeles County School District (LAUSD) provides quality, early education experiences to children (infant to five (5)) to prepare them for school. Most ECED programs are free or low cost to DCFS families and operated at or near elementary schools.

Accredited Child Care Programs (0 -13 Years of Age)

Child care programs that provide quality learning environments are usually accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) or an affiliate organization. The Steps to Excellence Program (STEP) is the Los Angeles County accreditation program.

 

Child care is provided through DCFS, and many children and families qualify and receive priority for free or low cost care based on their income and/or family situation. DCFS-supervised children in child care programs also generally receive a higher financial assistance level rating. Parents may be encouraged to contact their local Resource and Referral agency to enroll in child care services.

School Attendance Review Board (SARB)

The School Attendance Review Board (SARB) assists children with attendance, enrollment, and/or behavior problems related to public schools and their parents/caregivers. The SARB provides a continuum of services and funds solutions to unresolved child attendance.

 

The SARB includes the following individuals and entities:

 

The SARB is responsible for the following:

 

The SARB may take the following actions to maximize attendance and reduce school dropout:

 

DCFS provides supportive services by collaborating with the SARB to develop plans and strategies to maximize attendance and to reduce school dropout. DCFS staff members contribute to the identification of child safety issues. If a family has a history with DCFS, DCFS must maintain the confidentiality of that history.

The SARB Process

The SARB process begins with the School Attendance Review Team (SART) and the School Success Team (SST) located at the school. The SART focuses on children who have attendance problems. The SST addresses children's behavior, attendance, and academic problems.

 

These Teams may proceed to the district-level Resource Panel if efforts to work with a child and his/her family are unsuccessful. The Resource Panel forum discusses former attempts to work with the family and identifies possible interventions. During this Panel, DCFS involvement is determined, and the case-carrying CSW is identified.

 

If necessary, a SARB meeting is scheduled by the Resource Panel. The case-carrying CSW is invited and encouraged to attend. All SARB meetings are confidential and may vary in frequency.

Referral Process to the SARB

All concerns relating to a child's attendance, enrollment, and/or behavior problems in public schools should be addressed to the school district office where the child was or is currently enrolled.

 

Concerns of excessive absenteeism, tardiness, or habitual truancy are reported to a Pupil Services and Attendance (PSA) or Child Welfare on Attendance (CWA) counselor who serves the school where the child is enrolled. The PSA and CWA counselors work with the Dependency and Juvenile Court Liaisons when a child has an active case in either court and has been referred to the SARB.

 

The SARB referral process may vary for children who are attending schools outside of the Los Angeles County. The administrative staff at the child's school should be contacted for more information if the school if out-of-county.

 

The SARB referral process occurs in the following order:

 

  1. The referral process may be initiated by any one (1) of the following individuals, entities, or situations:

 

  1. A PSA/CWA counselor is assigned to work with the child and his/her family.

 

  1. The PSA/CWA counselor holds a conference and develops a plan of action with the family to resolve the poor attendance and improve academic achievement.

 

  1. The family signs a contract indicating their agreement with the plan of action.

 

  1. PSA/CWA counselors provide preventive services at the local school level by referring to health, psychological, academic, and community resources, based the child and his/her family's needs.

 

  1. The plan of action is implemented.

 

  1. If the child continues to exhibit poor attendance after the school has provided intervention services, the case is referred to the SARB.

 

  1. The SARB recommends alternatives to legal action to the family at the hearing.

 

  1. If the family does not follow the SARB's recommendation, the case is referred to the DATMP.

SARB Chairperson

The SARB chairperson assists school personnel and other PSA/CWA counselors in selecting and preparing cases for the SARB board. The SARB chairperson ensures that all district-wide and local district remedial measures are attempted through discussion at the local Resource Panel.

 

The SARB chairperson is also responsible for all of the following:

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Managing Cases to Achieve Successful Educational Outcomes

Case-carrying CSWs are required to assist DCFS-supervised children/youth in achieving successful educational outcomes in the following, additional ways:

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PROCEDURE

Continuing at or Changing the School-of-Origin

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Discuss with the Holder of Educational Rights (HER) and the DCFS-supervised child/youth whether it is in the best interest of the child/youth to remain in the school-of-origin by considering:
  1. The importance of educational stability;
  1. The least restrictive educational setting possible to achieve academic progress; and
  1. The availability of travel reimbursement provided by DCFS.

 

  1. If there are any barriers to the child/youth remaining in their school-of-origin, contact the following individuals:

 

  1. If the LEA Education Liaison recommends a waiver, as allowed by law, of the child/youth's right to attend the school-of-origin after obtaining agreement from the HER:
  1. Obtain a copy of the Liaison's written statement, which explains the basis for this recommendation.
  1. Attach a copy of the statement to the next court report.

 

  1. If it is determined that the child/youth's change in placement, including both initial placement and replacements, will result in the child/youth being removed from the school-of-origin, notify the following individuals:
  1. The child/youth's attorney via DCFS 5402, Notice of Child's AttorneyThe term "child’s attorney" refers to the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles (CLC) attorneys as well as the Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers (LADL) attorney appointed to represent the child in dependency proceedings. In addition, the term also refers to a paralegal, social worker or any other person working for that attorney. This also includes a youth’s delinquency attorney. RE: Child's Case Status, within one (1) court day.
  1. The court via an Ex Parte Application and order, within one (1) court day.
  1. The HER via telephone (or voicemail), email, or in-person. Only notify the HER by first class mail if his/her telephone number or an email address is not known.
  1. If the child/youth receive special education services, notify the school district of the intended placement change ten (10) days prior to his/her planned removal from the school-of-origin, as required by law.
  1. If ten (10) days' notice is not possible (e.g. an emergency placement), notify the LEA or school district within one (1) court day.

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Preparing for a Hearing Regarding a Child/Youth's School-of-Origin after Placement

CSW Responsibilities

  1. When a hearing has been scheduled regarding a child/youth who has changed placements and who wishes to stay at his/her school-of-origin, provide an Interim Report at least two (2) court days after the JV-539, Request for Hearing Regarding Child's Education, is filed.

 

  1. Include all of the following information in the Interim Review Report:

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Transferring Students and their Records

CSW Responsibilities

  1. If the Holder of Educational Rights (HER) decides to transfer a child/youth to a new school, immediately notify the school-of-origin in writing.
  1. Use the DCFS 1399, Notification to School of Pupil's Foster Care Status, and the DCFS School FAX Cover Sheet to:

 

  1. Work with the new school and care provider to ensure:

 

  1. When immunization records are not immediately available, make every effort to assist the school in locating them for the child/youth to avoid duplication of records.

 

  1. Request educational records for the child/youth either by obtaining a signed DCFS 179, Parental Consent and Authorization for Medical Care and Release of Education Records, from the parent/legal guardian or the HER, or by a court order.

 

  1. Document the basis for changing schools in the Education Notebook, the Case Plan, and the next court report.

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Determining School Credit, Appropriate Coursework Exemptions, and College Admission/Transfer Opportunities

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Verify with the new school that all transferred credits have been received and accepted. If a DCFS-supervised child/youth transfers schools during a semester, he/she is entitled to receive full or partial coursework credits for coursework satisfactorily completed.

 

  1. If full or partial coursework credits have not been applied towards the child/youth's graduation requirements, consult with the Education Consultant and/or the DCFS Education and Mentoring Section staff.

 

  1. For a DCFS-supervised youth in eleventh (11th) or twelfth (12th) grade who transfers from another school district or between high schools within the same school district, advocate for appropriate exemptions for him/her if the Holder of Educational Rights (HER) and the child/youth agree.

 

  1. If any exemptions or waived requirements will affect a child/youth's ability to gain admission to college:
  1. Ensure the school district notifies the child/youth and the HER;
  1. Advise the child/youth and the HER that graduating while using an exemption does not necessarily mean the child/youth has completed the coursework required to apply to a California State University, a school in the University of California system, or another four (4) college/university.

 

  1. Ensure that the school district provides the child/youth with information about transfer opportunities available through the California Community Colleges.

 

  1. Advocate for the youth's high school graduation by monitoring and providing services to assist him/her in preparation for the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), as required by law.

 

  1. Using established criteria, assess the youth's progress towards passing the CAHSEE and his/her progress towards obtaining a high school diploma.

 

  1. Inform the school where the child/youth is enrolled of any placement changes, court appearance dates, and court ordered related absences.

 

  1. Review the child/youth's attendance and grade records to ensure that a child/youth is and was not penalized.

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Receiving a Referral Regarding a Child who is Not Attending School

Child Protection Hotline (CPH) CSW Responsibilities

  1. Refer the reporting party to the school district office where the child is enrolled, provided that there are no allegations of abuse or neglect being reported.

 

  1. Advise the reporting party that he/she needs to provide the following information to make the report to the school:

 

  1. If there is an open referral or case with DCFS, document it by generating an "Information to CSW" report.

 

  1. If there is not an open referral or case with DCFS, document it by generating a "Consultation" report.

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Responding to a Child's Referral to SARB

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Attend the SARB meetings and conferences on behalf of a child, and advocate for him/her at the meeting.

 

  1. Request a copy of the SARB contract at the SARB meeting. If you are not at the meeting, complete and mail the DCFS 1727, Request for the Juvenile Court to Limit Parental Rights to Make Educational Decisions for Minor to all appropriate parties.

 

  1. Inform the court about the child's progress on the SARB's recommendations.

 

  1. Document the appropriate information in the Education Provider Notebook and in the Health and Education Passport.

 

  1. Complete and submit a DCFS 1361, Referral for Educational Consultant Services.

 

  1. Consult with the DCFS Regional Education Consultant if you encounter difficulties with the school district.

 

  1. Follow the recommendations made by the DCFS Regional Education Consultant, and document follow-up activities in the Contact Notebook. The individuals listed on the following attachments may also be contacted for assistance when foster children have education related issues:

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APPROVALS

SCSW Approval

HELPFUL LINKS

Forms

CWS/CMS

CSW Information/Consultation Call

DCFS 1727, Request for the Juvenile Court to Limit Parental Rights to Make Educational Decisions for Minor Health and Education Passport (HEP)A document that is generated on CWS/CMS that contains a summary of a child's health and education information. The caregiver keeps a current copy of the Passport, along with the health and education forms in a binder provided by DCFS. This binder shall follow the child to all placements. The Passport shall accompany the child to all medical, dental and educational appointments. The Passport binder in its entirety is given to the child upon emancipation.

Ex Parte Application

LA Kids

Co-Located Los Angeles County, Foster Youth Services

CSW Information/Consultation Call Form

DCFS 1361, Referral for Educational Consultant Services

DCFS 1399, Notification to School of Pupil's Foster Care Status

DCFS 1727, Request for the Juvenile Court to Limit Parental Rights to Make Educational Decisions for Minor

DCFS 5402, Notice of Child's Attorney RE: Child's Case Status

DCFS School FAX Cover Sheet

Foster Youth Liaison Contacts

JV-539, Request for Hearing Regarding Child's Education

Referenced Policy Guides

0050-502.10, Child Protection Hotline (CPH)

0070-516.10, Assessing a Child's Development & Referring to a Regional Center

0070-548.01, Child and Family Teams

0080-502.10, Case Plans

0080-505.10, Youth Development: Transitional Independent Living Planning

0080-505.20, Health and Education Passport (HEP)

0100-510.17, Placing a Child in Out-of-Home Care

0100-535.60, Youth Development: The 90-Day Transition Plan and Transitioning to Independence

0300-503.12, Health and Education Questionnaire

0300-503.97, Notice of Replacement Report

0300-506.05, Communication with Attorneys, County Counsel, and Non-DCFS Staff

0700-502.10, Referring Children to Healthy Start

0700-504.20, Referring Children for Special Education or Early Intervention Services

0700-507.10, Appointment of an Educational Representative, Educational Surrogate Parent, or Developmental ServicesServices provided by the Regional Centers, which include diagnostic evaluation, coordination or resources such as education, health, welfare, rehabilitation and recreation for persons with developmental disabilities. Additional services include program planning, admission to and discharge from state hospitals, court-ordered evaluations and consultation to other agencies. Decision-Maker

0900-520.20, Educational Travel Reimbursement

Statutes

All County Letter (ACL) 12-70 – Defines "educational stability" and provides instruction on how to ensure it is part of the child/youth's Case Plan.

 

California Rules of Court (CROC) 5.651(e) – States, in part, that if a child/youth is in special education classes and must change schools, the court must find that DCFS notified the school district of the intended change ten (10) days prior to the intended removal from the school-of-origin.

 

Education Code (EDC) Section 48263 – States, in part, that habitually truant and habitually insubordinate students may be referred to the Student Attendance Review Board (SARB).

 

EDC Section 48292 – States that failure to attend school as required may result in the filing of a complaint against the parents with the District Attorney's Office.

 

Education Code (EDC) Section 48645.5 – States that full or partial coursework satisfactorily completed by a student while attending public school, juvenile court school, or nonpublic, nonsectarian school must be accepted by the school district and county office of education. Addresses the requirement that schools provide diplomas to students who complete graduation requirements of his/her district of residence while being detained.

 

EDC Section 48850 – Requires each student be placed in the least restrictive educational program and have access to the academic resources, services, and extracurricular and enrichment activities that are available to all students, and must be based on the best interests of the child.

 

EDC Section 48852 – Requires DCFS to notify the local educational agency when a child is placed in out-of-home care and to provide available educational information on past education placements to facilitate prompt record transfer and appropriate education placement.

 

EDC Section 48853 – States the exceptions to a child in out-of-home care attending programs operated by the local educational agency.

 

EDC Section 48853.5 – Allow foster children to remain in the school-of-origin until jurisdiction is terminated or, if terminated, until the end of the academic school year. Requires that the foster child have the benefit of matriculating his/her peers under specifically stated circumstances. Addresses continuation in the school-of-origin even during educational placement disputes as well as the waiver of the right to continue in the school-of-origin. Specifies requirements for when an Educational Liaison is recommending a foster child be moved from the school-of-origin. States the requirement for immediate enrollment of a student and provides a definition of "school-of-origin."

 

EDC Section 48856 – Requires that the local educational agency collaborate with the placing agency in the monitoring of a placement in a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.

 

EDC Section 49069.5 – States that both the LEA and DCFS are responsible for the proper and timely transfer of students in foster care between schools. Sets for the transfer notification requirements of DCFS to the LEA. Also states the LEA requirements for timely transfer of student's educational information and records to the new school. State that there may be no lowering of grades based on placement or court-related absences.

 

EDC Section 51225.1 – States the circumstances that a school district will and will not exempt a student in foster care.

 

EDC Section 51225.3 – Requires school districts to provide transferring foster children/youth with appropriate coursework exemptions, notifications of the impact this may have on his/her college admission, and information on the California Community Colleges.

 

EDC Section 56026 – Defines individuals with "exceptional needs."

 

EDC Section 56055 – State the circumstances under which a foster parent/caregiver may grant authority to consent to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and/or other related services.

 

Health and Safety Code (HSC) Section 120341 – Requires that when a foster child is transferred to a new school, the new school must ensure the immunization of the foster child if absent any record of his/her immunizations have been previously provided.

 

Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 16001.9 – States that all foster children have the right to attend school and to participate in extracurricular, cultural, and enrichment activities consistent with their age and developmental level with minimal disruption to his/her school attendance and educational stability.

 

Public Law (PL) 112-278 – Permits educational agencies and institutions to disclose a student's education records without parental consent to a representative of a local child welfare agency when such an agency is legally responsible for the care and protection of the student.

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