The Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) will make every effort to ensure a child’s educational stability and will document those efforts. Federal law requires that those efforts include:
DCBS recognizes schools may have legitimate interest in reports of abuse or neglect of school aged children.
- Agency attempts to ensure the child can remain in the same school that they attended prior to removal;
- Documentation around educational assessments and services to support the child’s educational needs; and
- The appropriate transfer of school records when a change in schools is necessary.
The child’s needs are assessed at every case conference. Case plan objectives and action steps are developed accordingly. The SSW encourages the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian to permit the inclusion of the child’s teacher, school social worker, and any other identified educational supports in case plan conferences/family team meetings. The SSW advises the parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s) of their right to approve the foster parent(s) to co-serve as a parent with respect to educational decisions and release of the child’s educational records. 1
DCBS does not authorize children in out-of-home care (OOHC) to be home-schooled without court authorization, except for homebound programs that are administered by a public or private school. DCBS does not authorize children in OOHC to enroll in non-accredited educational programs that are not recognized by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).
- School disruption can cause extreme emotional stress for a child and may affect his or her academic performance, development, and/or overall well-being. There are ways DCBS can attempt to minimize the effects on the child, including:
- Collaborating with school staff and utilizing the educational passport as early as possible in determining best educational placement to meet the child's needs;
- Placing a child with a foster/adoptive family living in the same school district;
- Assisting the foster/adoptive family who lives in a different school district with arranging transportation for the child so that he or she can continue to attend the same school;
- Delaying a change in placement until the end of a school semester or year, when appropriate;
- Scheduling visitation with parents, medical, and court appointments during non-school hours, whenever possible; and
- Contacting other schools in the same or an adjoining school district regarding the requirement for and the availability of school-provided transportation between the school and the family foster/adoptive home.
- If the child in OOHC has been placed with a DCBS foster/adoptive family outside the attendance area for the school where the child was previously attending, the SSW may complete a special expense for mileage reimbursement for transportation to the child's previous school to support educational continuity for the child.
- If the child in OOHC has been placed in a private child caring (PCC) facility or private child placing (PCP) home outside of the attendance area for the school, the child's SSW may request mileage reimbursement for transportation to the child's previous school in order to support educational continuity for the child. This applies only at the request of the SSW. The PCC/PCP will submit a request to the billing specialist for payment. The DCBS SSW will complete a special expense for the mileage reimbursement and submit it to the billing specialist who will authorize the payment.
- The SSW should incorporate, into the case planning discussion appropriate use of the DPP-330-Educational Advocacy Request Form, if the parent(s) agrees to allow the foster/adoptive parent(s) to make educational decisions on behalf of the child as outlined in SOP 4.28.2 Providing Educational Services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). The SSW continues to engage the parents in decision-making regarding the child’s educational services. Although many children in OOHC will be reunified, alternative permanency planning will be pursued beginning no later than at the six (6) month periodic review to ensure that all children have a permanent family as quickly as possible.
- Assistance may be requested from the Kentucky Suppporting Kentucky Youth (SKY) MCO to identify and address health issues in the child’s individualized education plan (IEP) for a child designated as medically complex.
- When school is in session and the child is of school age, the SSW notifies the school within two (2) working days:
- At the beginning of an investigation or assessment, when the child is a victim of alleged abuse or neglect; and
- At the conclusion of the agency’s work with the family.
- Notifies verbally and via e-mail or fax, the principal or assistant principal and the district school director of pupil personnel of the school in which the child is enrolled, when custody of a child is granted to the cabinet through an emergency, temporary, or permanent court order:
- On the day a court order is entered; and
- On any day a change is made regarding who is authorized to contact or remove the child from school grounds, or on the following school day if the court order or change occurs after the end of the current school day.
- Provides written notification via email, fax, or by hand delivery a copy of the court order within ten (10) calendar days following a change of custody or change in contact or removal authority, if notification is not provided on the day of removal.
- Works with school personnel and foster/adoptive parents, upon entry into OOHC, to ensure that the child may remain in the school he or she attended prior to removal;
- If a transfer of schools is necessary, enrolls a child of school age in a public school within three (3) working days of the child’s placement when offices are open for enrollment.
- The SSW immediately contacts the receiving school district to inform of the pending enrollment changes.
- The SSW, in coordination with the PCP worker will determine which one will accompany the child and the foster parent, or caregiver, if applicable, to the new school to enroll the child.
- If the SSW or PCP worker is unable to accompany the foster parent or caregiver, if applicable, to the school for enrollment, the SSW will contact the applicable school staff by phone during the day of enrollment to advise of information pertaining to the child's unique needs, (i.e., current support services, medical and behavioral health history, individual service plans) to prevent disruption in educational support services for the child.
- The foster parent will promote educational stability by collaboration with the SSW and district while the child is placed in the home.
- Does not enroll a child of school age in a public school when one of the following exists:
- An alternative education plan has been recommended by the child's home school and approved by the court; or
- The child/youth has a medical condition, which prohibits them from attending school.
- Reviews the assessment and any other available information regarding the child’s developmental or educational background prior to the case planning conference;
- Leads the family’s team in a review of the child’s developmental and educational history, functioning, and needs during the initial case planning conference and periodic reviews;
- Documents plans for educational stability during initial and periodic case conferences. Education information should include but is not limited to:
- A determination of whether the child will attend the same school previously attended prior to any placement change; and
- If the child must transfer to a different school:
- Efforts made to allow the child to remain at the school he or she attended at the time of removal or any placement change;
- Arrangements for transportation when appropriate;
- Distance of the school the child will be attending from the child’s current placement;
- Documentation supporting the determination that a transfer of schools is in the best interest of the child;
- The name of the school the child will be attending while in OOHC; and
- Arrangements for enrollment with new school including transfer of education records.
- Regularly updated medical documentation that verifies that a child is incapable of attending school; 2
- Any assessed needs on the child/youth action plan;
- Discusion of the appropriateness of pursuing a high school equivalency diploma, if the child is designated as a state agency child as defined in SOP 4.28.3, who is seventeen (17) years old; and
- Discussion with the child that attainment of a high school equivalency diploma does not exempt the child from compulsory attendance.
- Makes a referral to Early Start, Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT), or other appropriate foster/adoptive programs for a developmental screening within thirty (30) working days for any child under the age of five (5);
- Facilitates an educational assessment through the local education agency (LEA) to be completed and submitted to the court of competent jurisdiction within sixty (60) working days of commitment;
- Incorporates appropriate contacts with teachers or school staff member to gather information as part of ongoing assessment and service delivery;
- In cooperation with the caregiver, maintains contact with the child’s early intervention service provider or school staff to:
- Determine the child’s level of functioning;
- Identify current or potential problems; and
- Review the progress report or report card;
- Informs staff of a school or educational facility that the SSW will make a request for a completed educational passport for a child when the child moves from one school to another.