Foster Care Children in Special Education: Keeping Them on the Radar
Partner Elizabeth Rho-Ng's article on Foster Care Children was published in the December 2012 edition of LACOE Bridges to Success, a publication from the Division of Support Services.
As you may have noticed, lawmakers and educators alike are placing an increasing emphasis on children in California‘s foster care system. No one disputes the evidence-based correlation between stability in residential and educational placements for these children and a better chance of their success in school.
In recent years, the state legislature has crafted more and more legislation to ensure the educational rights of foster care youth are enhanced. For example, effective January 1, 2013, any foster child who remains in his or her ―school of origin‖ is deemed to satisfy the residency requirements for school attendance in that district. Therefore, these foster youth will be afforded the same rights as resident students. This legislative development should not come as a surprise to anyone as the Education Code already provided that residency within a district could be established by a child‘s placement within a licensed children‘s institution or a foster family home pursuant to a juvenile court placement for the health and safety of the child. (Ed. Code., § 48204(a)(1)(A).) While this new amendment to Education Code section 48204 may be clear, what may not is how foster youth who are eligible for special education are to be treated given the various Code sections that apply to them.