Pennsylvania State Education Agency Foster Care Point of Contact

Matthew Butensky
Center for Schools and Communities, 275 Grandview Avenue, Camp Hill, PA 17011

717-763-1661, ext. 171

570-238-0258 cell

[email protected]

Working Together to Ensure Educational Stability

In December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Protections for students in foster care found under ESEA, as amended by ESSA, aim to enhance collaboration and align both education and child welfare systems to improve educational outcomes. For the first time, ESSA embeds federal education law provisions that promote school stability and success for children and youth in foster care.

Children and youth in or entering foster care frequently change schools, which is disruptive to their education and makes it difficult to develop supportive relationships with teachers, peers and relationships within their communities. Unplanned school changes may be associated with delays in children’s academic progress, leaving highly mobile students more likely to fall behind their less mobile peers.

ESSA amends the ESEA to include educational stability for children and youth in foster care exclusively under Title I, Part A. Title I educational stability provisions for students in foster care were required to be implemented within one year of the federal law’s passage on Dec. 10, 2016.

Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, and Center for Schools and Communities are working together to promote school stability and success for children and youth in foster care.

School stability promotes resilience for students in foster care.
Listing of keywords: Community, Resilience, Collaboration, Opportunity, Belonging, School Stability, Being Understood and Access
More than 21,000 children and youth experienced foster care in Pennsylvania in 2021.
Find mental health resources to support the more than 391,000 U.S. children and youth in foster care.
Over 30 percent of Pennsylvania’s foster care population are Transition Age Youth (ages 14-21)
Up to 80 percent of children and youth in foster care face significant mental health challenges.