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Grassley introduces bipartisan bill aimed to help foster children

HomeworkFrom Press Release

 

U.S. Sens. Al Franken (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have introduced a key bipartisan measure to help give children living in foster homes the best opportunity to get a good education.

The legislation, called the Educational Stability of Foster Youth Act, would support students in the foster care system by strengthening connections between child welfare agencies and state and local education institutions. Often, schools may be the only familiar place for a child in foster care, and the Senators’ measure will help make sure that those kids can go to school in a safe, stable environment.

“A quality education in a trusting environment can help children in foster care overcome the abuse, neglect, and instability that many of them may have experienced,” said Sen. Franken, a member of the Senate Education Committee. “Our bipartisan legislation will help support the education of kids in the foster care system. It’s far past time that we take steps to ensure that children have access to an equal education.”

“It’s important to remember that kids in foster care often don’t have school stability. That can put them behind in their education, and getting behind can be hard to overcome,” said Sen. Grassley, founder and co-chairman of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth. “In the worst case, older kids drop out of school altogether. This bill will help make sure that school stability is at the forefront for foster kids.”

The Educational Stability of Foster Youth Act was also backed by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). You can read a summary of the bill here and you can download a copy of the bill here.

The bill does the following:

  • Ensures that children can remain in their original school when it is in their best interest—when they enter foster care and move from placement to placemen;
  • Allows children to immediately enroll in a new school when it is not in their best interest to remain in their original school;
  • Gives students prompt access to their educational records when they must change schools;
  • Requires local educational agencies and child welfare agencies to work together to develop a process and ensure that funding for transportation is available;
  • Assures that a point of contact for education of foster children is appointed in the local educational agency when there is also a point of contact in the corresponding child welfare agency; and
  • Requires a report by the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services on implementation of these new assurances for foster children, including on the progress made and remaining barriers.