Every Student Succeeds Act

&

Other Federal Entitlements

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was enacted December 10, 2015 and reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (originally enacted in 1965 and last reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002). For the first time, it contains key protections for students in foster care to promote school stability and success, and required collaboration with child welfare partners.

Also see Best Interest Determination (BID), School Stability, and Transportation pages.

What are the ESSA provisions specific to students in foster care?

The provisions specific to students in foster care are designed to support school districts in their efforts to serve students in foster care effectively. Many of these provisions were granted to students in foster care in California under the passage of AB 490 in 2004. In fact, California affords students in foster care more extensive entitlements than ESSA. The ESSA provisions include:

  • School of origin: State plans must include assurances that students in foster care be enrolled or remain in their school of origin, unless there is a determination that it is not in their best interest to do so.

  • Immediate enrollment: When a student in foster care does not remain in the school of origin, the student must immediately be enrolled in a new school, regardless of whether the youth can produce the records typically required for enrollment.

  • Records transfer: When a student in foster care changes schools, the enrolling school must immediately contact the previous school to obtain academic and other records.

  • State-level point of contact: State education agencies must designate a point of contact for child welfare agencies; this may not be the same person as the state’s McKinney-Vento coordinator.

  • Local-level point of contact: Local education agencies must collaborate with the state or local child welfare agency to designate a point of contact if the child welfare agency has given notice of designating its own point of contact.

  • Transportation: Local education agencies must collaborate with state or local child welfare agencies to implement clear written procedures as to how prompt, cost-effective transportation allowing youth to remain in their school of origin for the duration of their time in foster care will be provided, arranged, and funded.

  • Data disaggregation: States must provide disaggregated data on students in foster care in their annual state report cards. These must contain information on student achievement and high school graduation rates for students in foster care.

  • Homeless definition: Students “awaiting foster care placement” were removed from the definition of homeless youth in McKinney-Vento.

What are the LEA requirements under ESSA?

ESSA requires LEAs receiving Title I, Part A funds to designate a point of contact and to collaborate with child welfare agencies to develop written procedures governing how transportation to maintain children in their school of origin will be provided, arranged, and funded. The follow are the requirements in ESSA:

  • LEAs shall collaborate with the State or local child welfare agency to designate a point of contact within the LEA if the corresponding child welfare agency notifies the LEA, in writing, that the child welfare agency has designated one of its employees to serve as a point of contact for the LEA. (20 U.S.C. § 6312[c][5][A])

      • An LEA shall collaborate with the State or local child welfare agency to develop and implement clear written procedures governing how transportation to maintain children in foster care in their school of origin when in their best interest will be provided, arranged, and funded for the duration of the time in foster care. The procedures shall ensure the following: (20 U.S.C. § 6312[c][5][B])

          • Children in foster care needing transportation to the school of origin will promptly receive transportation in a cost-effective manner and in accordance with § 475(4)(A) of the Social Security Act. (42 U.S.C. § 675[4][A]; 20 U.S.C. § 6312[c][5][B][i])

          • If there are additional costs incurred in providing transportation to maintain children in foster care in their schools of origin, the LEA will provide transportation to the school if any of the following agreements are in place: (20 U.S.C. § 6312[c][5][B][ii])

  • The local child welfare agency agrees to reimburse the LEA for the cost of such transportation; (20 U.S.C. § 6312[c][5][B][ii][I])

  • The LEA agrees to pay for the cost of such transportation; or (20 U.S.C. § 6312[c][5][B][ii][II])

  • The LEA and the local child welfare agency agree to share the cost of such transportation. (20 U.S.C. § 6312[c][5][B][ii][III])

Legislation & Non Regulatory Guidance

Every Student Succeeds Act (Public Law 114-95) (2015)

Non-Regulatory Guidance Ensuring Education Stability for Children in Foster Care (June 23, 2016)


CDSS Letters & Notices

ACL 17-24 (May 3, 2017)

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)


Other Federal Entitlements

Direct Certification

A federally mandated process that School Nutrition operators must use to certify child who are eligible for free milk or meals without completion the application.

Free Meal/Milk for Foster Youth


Web Links

USDE: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

CDE: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Information regarding CA's plan to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

CDE: ESSA Transportation & Point of Contact FAQ

Transportation for Students in Foster Care & Identification of LEA Point of Contact

Legal Center for Foster Care and Education, ESSA Implementation Toolkit


Documents & Training Materials

ESSA 101: Piecing it All Together Regional Symposium (May 4, 2017)