The American Bar Association has published a list of benchmarks related to informing and empowering foster youth to be self-advocates regarding their education.
1.) Youth Identified Educational Needs and Preferences
It’s important to note that, while some foster youth prefer to remain in the same school, others might wish to change schools. What if the new school has more opportunities than their old one?
Section 12a of the Foster Youth Bill of Rights states that Ohio foster youth have, “The right to provide their input regarding selection of schools consistent with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) 2015.”
2.) Youth Educational Rights
Section 12b of the Foster Youth Bill of Rights states that Ohio foster youth have, “The right to participate in educational and school related activities, without any barriers to access.”
The Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) supports the educational stability of foster youth by focusing on identification, enrollment, transfer of records and transportation. This includes a checklist for schools, a flowchart that maps out school and child welfare responsibilities and the responsibilities of the Foster Care Liaison.
To contact the Foster Care Liaison in your area:
- Go to the OEDS Directory
- Search the school district name and then click on the district.
- Once on the district’s page, select “personnel” from the top search bar.
- In “Roles Available to this Organization,” search: Foster Care Contact – ESSA.
For additional questions, please reach out to Thomas Capretta, (614) 752-1615, firstname.lastname@example.org
3.) Youth Voice in Court
Section 8 of the Foster Youth Bill of Rights states that Ohio foster youth have, “The right to have their opinions heard and be included when any decisions are being made affecting their lives. As age or developmentally appropriate, this includes the right to be invited to and prepared for meetings and court hearings including information about their permanency options.”
4.) Include Youth in Meetings
The American Bar Association recommends that foster youth be invited and allowed to participate in school and child welfare meetings and planning about their education and their future.
5.) Work as a Team
6.) Special Education
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires states to provide students with a free, appropriate, public education tailored specifically to their individual needs.
This federal legislation is based on six pillars to ensure a child or teen’s education needs are met:
- Individualized Education Program (IEP). The roadmap of the student’s educational program. It is designed to meet the child’s unique educational needs as determined by parents, educators and others who can assist in designing an appropriate course of study.
- Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Assurance that the student, regardless of disability, receives the same general education as his peers.
- Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Integrating special needs students into regular classrooms to the maximum extent possible.
- Appropriate Evaluation. Evaluation standards that ensure the student is placed correctly, his/her progress assessed at regular intervals and receives additional help as needed.
- Parent and Teacher Participation. Regular, consistent and cooperative communication between parents and educators, with an eye towards student progress and growth.
- Procedural Safeguards. Parents understanding their rights and responsibilities and the mechanisms by which they may review progress, be involved and mediate disputes.