Arkansas Department of Education New Submission Requirement to Identify a Foster Care Liaison to Ensure Continuity of Educational Services to Foster Children

Memo Information

Memo Number
LS-14-015
Memo Date
8/13/2013
Memo Type
Informational
Section
Learning Services
Regulatory Authority
Ark. Code Ann. § 9-28-113
Response Required
NO
Attention
Co-op Directors; Elementary Principals; Middle School Principals; High School Principals; Superintendents; Councelors; Special Education Supervisors

Contact Information

Memo Text

Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann.§ 9-28-113, every school district must identify a foster care liaison and must provide annually to the Arkansas Department of Education the name of each foster care liaison and his or her contact information.   To comply with this requirement, districts will now submit this information via Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN) by entering the name and contact information of the foster care liaison into the Statewide Information System (SIS), Contact Person (CO) Table. Please refer to the 2013-2014 SIS Manual for further information on this submission.   The duties of the foster care liaison are specified in the statute and include assisting foster children when transferring schools by ensuring the transfer of credits, records, grades, etc., and expediting the transfer of such records. The statute provides that individuals who are directly involved in the care, custody and education of foster children work together to ensure the continuity of education services so that foster children:   1.   remain in their schools of current enrollment whenever possible,   2.   are moved to new schools in a timely manner when it is determined to be necessary, appropriate, and in their best interests, by the court.   3.   participate in appropriate educational programs and have access to the academic resources, services and extracurricular activities available to all pupils.   The local school district must allow the foster child to remain in the child’s current school and continue his/her education, unless the court finds that such placement is not in the child’s best interest and that it conflicts with any other provision of current law, except the residency requirement. To the extent reasonable and practical, the school district is encouraged to work out a plan for transportation for the child to remain in his/her current school.   If a foster child is subject to a school enrollment change, then the foster child’s caseworker must contact the school district in a timely manner and the new school must immediately enroll the foster child, even if the foster child is unable to produce any required clothing or records.   For foster children with disabilities, as identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a school district must recognize the rights of a foster parent to make education decisions for a foster child pursuant to the Act’s provisions. Additional requirements applicable to the continuity of education for foster children concerning grades, coursework credit, and completion of graduation requirements are addressed in this statute.