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.