Foster Care Point of Contact Mid-Year Check-In Featured Resources
This website is a hub for foster care education resources in Pennsylvania, including guidance and tools from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services as well as statewide directories of points of contact assigned to education-related issues for students in foster care.
The ABA’s Legal Center for Foster Care and Education is the premier national source for foster care and education information, data and resources.
Ensuring Educational Stability
This ABA guide provides basic practice tips for teachers and administrators, including checklists for new students, school stability and collaboration.
This one-page ABA overview reviews how strong school system-level support, paired with student-specific advocacy, can lead to comprehensive support for students in foster care.
This Pennsylvania document reviews the purpose, knowledge, roles and responsibilities of assigned local education agency (LEA) foster care points of contact.
This hub has online directories of school and child welfare points of contact, assigned to education-related issues for students in foster care.
LEAs are required to maintain a collaborative transportation plan with county children and youth agencies (CCYAs) to ensure transportation is provided for students in foster care. Pennsylvania provides a template for local use and design.
This Pennsylvania guide outlines strategies to fulfill transportation requirements that both LEAs and CCYAs must provide to ensure educational stability for students in foster care.
Best Interest Determination (BID)
This Pennsylvania form serves as a guide and tool to be used in the school placement BID process. By using this tool, relevant parties can meaningfully participate in the BID.
The ABA provides guidance on the BID, including a framework of questions to consider as local education and child welfare partners establish or revise mechanisms to hold BIDs.
This Pennsylvania tool enables school points of contact to record school stability-related information for every student in foster care enrolled, educated or residing in their LEA.
This guide walks through how to thoughtfully share information between child welfare agencies and schools while ensuring privacy is being protected.
Strategies for Success and Engagement
The ABA provides tips to partner, connect and target support for students in foster care during the ongoing response to COVID-19.
Foster parents participate in the well-being of the children in their care, including ensuring their educational needs are met. This ABA guide reviews the possible role of foster parents in the education of their students in foster care.
Six Strategies for Success and Engagement Shared by Pennsylvania School Foster Care POCs
- “We try to work as closely as possible with the team in the best interest of the student. While we have differing opinions at times, the focus is always on the student.”
- “Communication, flexibility and options for students and families.”
- “Frequent check-ins moved to a texting app instead of email, provided internet hotspots, food drive for families, and free breakfast/lunches provided for students.”
- “We work collaboratively with registration to make sure any students in foster care are introduced to the POC at entry. Current students are referred to a social worker and POC.”
- “We have learned to involve the student as well as their teachers. This has given us a complete picture of the student’s needs.”
- “We always work with foster families of students to connect them with resources that may be beneficial to the child, including trauma-informed counseling options.”
Accelerating Learning and Narrowing Learning Gaps
High-Quality Tutoring: A Pennsylvania Example
The Region 5 Office, located at Midwestern Intermediate Unit 4, for the Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program (ECYEH) and Educational Stability for Children and Youth in Foster Care Program, is offering a virtual tutoring program. The program partners with Slippery Rock University to provide student tutors who are screened, have clearances and offer a wide range of subjects for tutoring. The program is funded through the American Rescue Plan and demonstrates an innovative partnership with higher education and community-based organizations. The program also connects and exposes participating students to higher education pathways.
A sample form from Region 5.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education developed an ARP ESSER plan that includes a description of education needs, the intended uses of the funds, and plans for supporting school entities in their planning for and use of federal ARP ESSER funds.
This document from the United States Department of Education focuses on strategies to support state and local efforts in effectively using ARP ESSER funds to address the impact of lost instructional time on underserved and disproportionately impacted students.
While specific uses of funds depend on the local context and the unique needs of students and caregivers, funds may be used to support the following activities for children and youth in foster care:
- Transport students in foster care to their respective schools of origin where LEAs offer in-person learning, hybrid learning or supplemental instruction/coaching opportunities.
- Purchase technology (including laptops, WiFi hotspots, tablets) that enable students in foster care to consistently access instruction.
- Provide academic supports (including tutoring, supplemental instructional opportunities) to meet the unique learning needs of students in foster care.
- Help students/caregivers meet their basic needs (including access to meals, hygienic supplies — e.g., masks, hand sanitizer).
A national repository of school district practices, resources and strategies identified for their innovative education practices. Categories of practices include accelerating learning, supporting students, families and staff, and promoting family engagement.
A recent study by the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice and Research at the University of Pennsylvania of 18-23-year-old youth in foster care and aged out of foster care during the COVID-19 crisis.