Legislative Milestones for the Educational Stability of Foster Care Youth
Together, these legislative milestones provide greater school stability for foster care youth and place youth on a path towards a brighter future.
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act was signed into law on October 7, 2008. Fostering Connections requires child welfare agencies to collaborate with educational agencies to keep children in foster care in the same school when living placements change if remaining in that school is in their best interest. The U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) issued guidance on the Fostering Connections Act in July 2010.
The Uninterrupted Scholars Act was passed by Congress in January 2013, which amended the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The Act permits educational agencies and institutions to disclose education records of students in foster care to child welfare agencies, without parental or eligible student consent. The Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Human Services (formerly Public Welfare) issued a joint statement regarding the Uninterrupted Scholars Act in February 2013.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015. The ESSA reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. For the first time in federal education law, state and local education agencies are required to provide specific protection for youth in foster care. Read the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by The Every Student Succeeds Act.