A Manual for Foster Parents & Case Managers in Orange & Osceola Counties
This reference manual was made possible by Family Services of Metro Orlando, incollaboration with Intervention Services, I...
July 12, 2010To our Community Partners and Advocates:On behalf of Family Services of Metro Orlando, I am pleased to announ...
BIRTH PARENTS ............................................................................. 11FOSTER PARENTS/RELATIVE CARE...
MAGNET SCHOOLS .......................................................................... 30CHARTER SCHOOLS .................
TIPS FOR STUDENTS WITH A TRANSITIONAL IEP ....................................... 56TOP 10 ITEMS THAT MUST BE INCLUDED IN ...
The State of Florida‟s child welfare                                                    system is organized through a     ...
Family Services of Metro Orlando has contracts with four Case ManagementOrganizations (CMOs) which provide direct services...
Children who have been removed from their birth parents have endured some type ofphysical abuse, sexual abuse and/or negle...
Not only are children in out-of-home care more likely to be behind their peersacademically, but they also are at a higher ...
Birth ParentsAlthough the child may not be living with his/her birth parent, the parent does maintainlegal rights to the c...
Roles of Foster Parents Related to Education   Register child for school                     Be the first line of contact ...
States that are not in compliance risk losing certain federal funds. The CFSRexamines outcomes related to safety, permanen...
Complete a Foster Care Designee Checklist for each foster care student at         the school.         Identify foster care...
independent living skills and provide advice and resources to help prepare theyouth to live independently when they exit t...
Why Would a Child Need a Surrogate Parent?If a child may have a disability, then a parent or person acting in the parental...
Child‟s goals and choices for learning and goals for the future        Teach the child how to be a self advocate:         ...
Foster Care Designees and the Education Liaisons can provide critical support to thesharing of information, including answ...
Head StartHead Start is a federal program designed for preschool children from low-incomefamilies. The program fosters chi...
Preschool ESEBased on an evaluation, children in pre-school with special needs can qualify for arange of services. If a ch...
Osceola County – Preschool Evaluation Education Program      www.osceola.k12.fl.us      1200 Vermont Ave., St. Cloud, FL  ...
home care (In Osceola this form is called the Fast Pass for Foster Care and inOrange it is called the Orange County School...
delay. In Osceola this form is called the “Fast Pass” and in Orange County it isreferred to as the “Orange County Registra...
Application for AssistanceIn some cases the school may require the foster parent/case manager to completethe form for free...
School Selection: A Checklist for Decision Making(adapted from the Texas Homeless Education Office)School of Origin Consid...
Transportation and McKinney-VentoChildren can often remain in their previous school through transportation assistanceprovi...
When School Transfers are NeededIf it is necessary for a child to change schools, there are some basic things that canmake...
the state child welfare agency has coordinated with appropriate local       educational agencies to ensure that the child ...
How does the McKinney-Vento act and Foster Connections support school success for all                                     ...
Additional ResourcesThe following organizations provide additional resources on the McKinney-Ventoand Foster Connections A...
There are charter schools for children of all ages and they offer unique programs forspecific populations. Although there ...
student. Students must agree to stay for a minimum of one calendar year.   Students may remain at the newly assigned schoo...
A computer is necessary to apply and to complete the course work; instructorsinteract with students through web conferenci...
If a child is experiencing difficulty in their current setting, expelled or suspended,an alternative education program mig...
MAGNOLIA SCHOOLMagnolia school serves students with severe to profound mental handicaps that alsohave special medical or b...
Listed below are some of the alternative schools in Osceola County:NEW BEGINNINGS EDUCATION CENTERNew Beginnings (formerly...
daycare is divided into five developmental areas which include newborns, infants,crawlers, toddlers and munchkins. Babies ...
program prepared to start a career. There are no tuition fees for youth thatare enrolled in high school. Online course cat...
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care
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Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care

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Family Services of Metro Orlando created an innovative partnership in 2004 with Orange County public schools on promoting enhanced coordination and education attainment for foster care youth.

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Education Manual for Youth in Out of Home Care

  1. 1. A Manual for Foster Parents & Case Managers in Orange & Osceola Counties
  2. 2. This reference manual was made possible by Family Services of Metro Orlando, incollaboration with Intervention Services, Inc., Orange County Public Schools and theSchool District of Osceola County. Data and information has also been obtained from theDepartment of Children and Families.Broward County Public Schools‟ technical assistance manual, Fostering Student Success,provided the framework for its development.A significant amount of information included in this manual came from the OrangeCounty Public School System‟s website: https://www.ocps.net/Pages/default.aspx.Additional resources and publications including a Parent Guide can be downloaded.We extend a special thank you to the members of the Family Services of Metro OrlandoEducation and Mentoring Subcommittee who have been integral in creating this manual.Please note that this manual is intended for use as a general reference source for casemanagers and foster/adoptive parents. It is not meant to provide legal opinions oradvice and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel. 2
  3. 3. July 12, 2010To our Community Partners and Advocates:On behalf of Family Services of Metro Orlando, I am pleased to announce the second edition ofthe Achieving Educational Success: A Manual for Foster Parents and Case Managers in Orangeand Osceola County. We are pleased to incorporate educational information specific to OsceolaCounty into the manual this year. This manual is an example of the exciting collaboration thathas been taking place between organizations such as Family Services of Metro Orlando,Intervention Services, Inc., Orange County Public Schools, the School District of Osceola Countyand the Florida Department of Children and Families. The first edition of this manual was madepossible through the members of the Family Services of Metro Orlando Education and MentoringSubcommittee. This Subcommittee along with the Osceola Education Subcommittee helpedreview the second edition of the manual. The agencies represented on these subcommitteesinclude: City of Life Foundation Community Vision Great Oaks Village Intervention Services, Inc. Orange County Public Schools Orange County Public Schools Special Education Network Orange County Public Schools Career and Technical Education Osceola County Guardians ad Litem Program School District of Osceola County School District of Osceola County Families in Transition Program School District of Osceola County Safe Schools / Healthy Students Program School District of Osceola County Student Services Sunnyside VillageFamily Services of Metro Orlando is committed to providing children in out-of-home care with theresources and supports they need to excel academically. The education children receive canopen up new paths that lead them to success. As a result, it is imperative that the child welfarecommunity ensures children in care receive the support necessary to obtain a solid education.Foster parents, adoptive parents, Guardians ad Litem and case managers all play a crucial role inhelping our youth achieve academic success.This manual is intended to provide an overview of educational needs, services, policies andresources that affect children in out-of-home care. It is designed to be a resource manual forfoster/adoptive parents and case managers.Together, we can create new possibilities for foster children by partnering on critical educationand well-being initiatives.Sincerely,Gregory J. Kurth. MAChief Executive Officer 3
  4. 4. BIRTH PARENTS ............................................................................. 11FOSTER PARENTS/RELATIVE CAREGIVERS ............................................... 11CASE MANAGER ............................................................................. 12FOSTER CARE DESIGNEES ................................................................. 13EDUCATIONAL LIAISONS ................................................................... 14INDEPENDENT LIVING COORDINATORS ................................................... 14SURROGATE PARENTS ...................................................................... 15STUDENT ..................................................................................... 16ASSESSMENT AND SCREENING ............................................................ 18HEAD START................................................................................. 19EARLY HEAD START ........................................................................ 19PRESCHOOL ESE ........................................................................... 20VOLUNTARY PRE-KINDERGARTEN ......................................................... 21HOW OLD DOES A CHILD HAVE TO BE TO START SCHOOL? ............................. 22WHEN CAN I REGISTER A CHILD FOR SCHOOL? .......................................... 22ENROLLMENT FORMS ....................................................................... 22WHICH SCHOOL WILL THE CHILD ATTEND? .............................................. 23HOW TO WITHDRAW A CHILD FROM SCHOOL ............................................. 23APPLICATION FOR ASSISTANCE ........................................................... 24STABILITY OF SCHOOL PLACEMENT ....................................................... 24SCHOOL SELECTION: A CHECKLIST FOR DECISION MAKING .......................... 25TRANSPORTATION AND MCKINNEY-VENTO .............................................. 26TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS ............................................................. 26WHEN SCHOOL TRANSFERS ARE NEEDED ................................................ 27TRANSFERRING RECORDS .................................................................. 27FOSTERING CONNECTIONS ACT ........................................................... 27ADDITIONAL RESOURCES .................................................................. 30 4
  5. 5. MAGNET SCHOOLS .......................................................................... 30CHARTER SCHOOLS ......................................................................... 30PRIVATE SCHOOLS .......................................................................... 31NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND (NCLB) SCHOOL CHOICE FOR TITLE ONE SCHOOLS ..... 31MCKAY SCHOLARSHIP FOR ESE STUDENTS ............................................. 32FLORIDA VIRTUAL SCHOOLS............................................................... 32WORKFORCE ACADEMY ..................................................................... 33LIFE SKILLS CENTER ORANGE COUNTY .................................................. 33ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS .................................................................... 33CENTERS FOR SUCCESS .................................................................... 35HOME SCHOOL .............................................................................. 37CAREER AND TECHNICAL SCHOOLS ....................................................... 37OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS AGES 17 AND YOUNGER .............................. 38UNDERSTANDING TRAUMA ................................................................. 40TRAUMA AND THE IMPACT ON EDUCATION................................................ 40TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE IN THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT ............................ 41TRAUMA-INFORMED CHILD WELFARE PRACTICE ........................................ 41TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE FOR FOSTER PARENTS ....................................... 41THE CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT........................................................ 42ZERO TOLERANCE ........................................................................... 42DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS .................................................................... 43SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS ................ 43DRESS CODE ................................................................................ 44ATTENDANCE POLICY ....................................................................... 46DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES ............................................................ 47RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION (RTI) ..................................................... 49INDIVIDUAL WITH DISABILITIES ACT (IDEA) OF 2004 ............................... 52INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN (IEP) .................................................... 53ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION .............................................................. 55WHO CANNOT SIGN IEP DOCUMENTS AS A PARENT OR SURROGATE PARENT? ...... 55TIMEFRAMES ................................................................................. 55TIPS FOR PREPARING FOR THE IEP MEETING: ........................................... 55 5
  6. 6. TIPS FOR STUDENTS WITH A TRANSITIONAL IEP ....................................... 56TOP 10 ITEMS THAT MUST BE INCLUDED IN YOUR CHILD‟S IEP ....................... 56MAXIMUM AGE REQUIREMENTS FOR SERVICES ......................................... 58FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT (FBA)/BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION PLAN (BIP)................................................................................................ 58SECTION 504 ............................................................................... 59CHILD FIND.................................................................................. 60FLORIDA COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT TEST (FCAT) ............................... 61FLORIDA ASSESSMENTS FOR INSTRUCTION FOR READING ............................. 62DIPLOMA OPTIONS ......................................................................... 63GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS ............................................................. 63HIGH SCHOOL ATTENDANCE AFTER AGE 18 ............................................ 64GED PROGRAM ............................................................................. 64ALL CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE .......................................................... 66STUDENTS WITH A DISABILITY ............................................................ 67ORANGE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS 2010-2011 SCHOOL CALENDAR .............. 71THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF OSCEOLA COUNTY 2010-2011 SCHOOL CALENDAR .. 72EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT EDUCATION ACRONYMS AND DEFINITIONS .................. 73EDUCATION LIAISON CONTACTS .......................................................... 74OSCEOLA COUNTY STUDENT ENROLLMENT FORM (FAST PASS) .................... 76ORANGE COUNTY STUDENT ENROLLMENT FORM……………………………………………..77 6
  7. 7. The State of Florida‟s child welfare system is organized through a Community-Based Care model. Family Services of Metro Orlando is the lead agency for Community- Based Care in Orange and Osceola counties. Community-Based Care was founded on the principle that responsibility for the welfare of children is shared equally among a variety of individuals and organizations within the community, including citizens, schools, businesses and other groups. The purpose of Community-Based Care is to shift the responsibility of direct child welfare services from the Department of Children and Families to private agencies around the state that will help to lead the local system of care, improving the safety and well-being of children.Family Services of Metro Orlando is a civic organization that empowers communities tocreate possibilities for children and families. We fortify our capacity building throughunique and strategic partnerships within our communities to achieve better systematicprotection of at-risk children and families in Orange and Osceola counties. Together weinvest in innovative solutions to our communitys challenges. As the lead agency, FamilyServices of Metro Orlando is responsible for the management of family safety services,such as foster care, adoption, protective supervision, independent living services andemergency shelters. Family Services of Metro Orlando has fostered over 250contractual, community and corporate partnerships to support the following services: Special needs adoption Prevention and family preservation Relative care Foster care Independent living services for youth “aging out” of foster care Protective services, including family visitation centers Parent education and support Intervention for families involved in domestic violence 7
  8. 8. Family Services of Metro Orlando has contracts with four Case ManagementOrganizations (CMOs) which provide direct services to children and families, includingfoster care and adoption. It also has contracts with a variety of community providersoffering other services to support children and families. The four CMOs that providedirect services to children and families in Orange and Osceola Counties are: Childrens Home Society Devereux Florida One Hope United Youth and Family Alternatives, Inc.Family Services of Metro Orlando serves both children who live with their birth familiesas well as children who have been removed from their homes. As seen in Chart 1-1 thenumber of children served by Family Services has remained relatively consistent fromMay 2009 – May 2010. An average of 2,289 children were served by Family Services inboth in-home and out-of-home care any given month during this time period. Children Served by Family Services 1600 1400 1200 1000 # of Children 800 600 Out of Home Care In Home Care 400 200 0 8
  9. 9. Children who have been removed from their birth parents have endured some type ofphysical abuse, sexual abuse and/or neglect that has caused them to be in immediatedanger. For the majority of these children, the abuse /neglect did not occur immediatelybefore removal from their home. In many cases, they have endured some level ofabuse/neglect throughout their entire life. This trauma, coupled with an unstable familylife, has a great impact on their ability to mature emotionally, socially anddevelopmentally.According to Brazelton and Greenspan, there are five things that all children need: 1. Ongoing nurturing relationships 2. Physical protection, safety and regulation 3. Experiences tailored to individual differences 4. Developmentally appropriate experiences 5. Stability and structure that lays out limits expectations and promotes cultural continuityAlthough humans can physically survive without these five things, not receiving themsignificantly impacts their overall well-being. Children placed in out-of-home care havereceived only some or none of these five basic needs throughout their lives. As a result,they are at a disadvantage to their peers with respect to academic achievement.Researchers across the country have assessed the educational performance of childrenin foster care, and have concluded that foster children as a group often demonstrateweaker cognitive abilities, behavioral problems and emotional problems. Higher rates ofabsenteeism and tardiness contribute to poor academic performance and retention(Kurtz, P., Gaudin Jr., J., and Howing, P., Maltreatment and the School-Aged Child:School Performance Consequences, Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 17, p. 581-589, 1993).Specific examples of how a child in out-of-home care may be at a disadvantage fromhis/her peers include: The child has received no assistance/guidance at home in regards to school work and has fallen behind The child has endured physical abuse/neglect in his/her home, which has consumed all of his/her energy and focus, so that safety has become the child‟s primary concern The child has been in and out of school throughout his/her life and did not attend school continuously due to the birth family moving and/or not enrolling the child into school The child is dealing with significant loss from being separated from parents and/or siblings The child has learning disabilities that have never been identified or assessed 9
  10. 10. Not only are children in out-of-home care more likely to be behind their peersacademically, but they also are at a higher risk for emotional and behavioraldisturbances that manifest at school. These can result in diversion to alternativeschools, suspension and possibly expulsion.Children who are in out-of-home care and encounter “Foster care can meanmultiple moves within the child welfare system are at a an end to school but itsfurther disadvantage educationally. Research shows that up to us, the kids oryouth lose an average of four to six months of teens, to decide if wereeducational attainment each time they change schools. going to let foster careBased upon the DCF Federal Performance Measures, 78% stop our education or are we going to keepof children in out of home care for less than 12 months going and show thehad two or fewer placements. This percentage decreases world around us that weto 30% when looking at children in out of home care for can do it no matter what24 months. As children are in out of home care number our situation is. Betheir number of placements increases which often times strong, be strong.”results in the need for a new school placements.Obstacles to school success that many foster youth faceinclude: • Risk factors at home • Lack of school stability • Delays in school enrollment • Delays and problems in the transfer of school records • Failure to identify school needs and provide appropriate services • Lack of educational advocatesChildren spend a good portion of their day at school. As a result, issues that they aredealing with at home may manifest in behaviors that are exhibited at school. Childrenwho have suffered abuse and/or neglect may exhibit the following behaviors at school: Aggressive behaviors Withdrawn from peers Inability to concentrate Underachieving or overachieving at school Difficulty trusting and making friends Excessive absences Excessive organization issues Exhaustion- sleeping during class Inappropriate interactions with peersFamily Services of Metro Orlando and its partners believe that all children have the rightto a quality education. Foster youth face varied and unique challenges that can have animpact on their educational achievements. Therefore, Family Services is dedicated,together with its community partners, in ensuring foster children receive the supportsand services they need to achieve academic success. 10
  11. 11. Birth ParentsAlthough the child may not be living with his/her birth parent, the parent does maintainlegal rights to the child until they are removed by court order. One of these rightspertains to educational decision making. Unless prohibited by court order or terminationof parental rights occurs, birth parents may, and should,participate in educational decisions for their child,including any special education needs. Birth parents havethe right to request an evaluation of their child, receivenotice, sign consents for assessment and attend meetingsregarding the Individual Education Plans (IEP). Unless prohibited by court order or unless the parental rights haveThe school and the case managers are responsible for been terminated, birthnotifying birth parents when there is an issue with the parents may, andchild‟s education that involves their consent. If the should, participate inparents cannot be located or refuse to participate, then educational decisions forthe school and case manager can look to alterative their child – includingrepresentatives to fill this role – such as foster and any special educationsurrogate parents. needs.Even though the parent does retain the right to make educational decisions for theirchild, it does not mean that they have the right to have contact with the child at school.It is important that schools are made aware of a child being placed in out-of-home careand that they are aware of who has permission to take the child out of school orparticipate in school activities with the child. Schools should always be given the mostcurrent court order so that they have documentation of the level of parent visitation thatshould be allowed.Foster Parents/Relative CaregiversAccording to Florida law, in the absence of a birth parent, foster parents and relativecaregivers are considered „parents‟ for education purposes and can make the sameeducational decisions as birth parents.The caregiver is responsible for the daily care of a child. As a result, foster parents playa critical role in a child‟s education. It is vital that foster parents inform the othermembers of the team about the child‟s academic needs. Foster parents are instrumentalin helping to identify educational needs of the child and advocating for educationalservices and supports.When the child has special education needs and requires anevaluation and/or services, the foster parent (in absence of Youth should bethe birth parent) can request evaluations, sign consents and enrolled insign the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which lays out school within 72 hours ofthe services and supports the child will receive in school. placement. 11
  12. 12. Roles of Foster Parents Related to Education Register child for school Be the first line of contact when Attend meetings, conferences, etc. there is an emergency concerning at the school concerning the child the child (When filling out any school forms add yourself as the primary Communicate with teachers “emergency contact”) Help the child with homework and Apply for free lunch (All foster school projects children should be eligible for free lunch) Provide short term assistance with Consent for evaluation of child transportation when it is when it is determined child may determined it is in the child‟s best have some special educational interest to stay at his/her „home‟ needs if the birth parent is not school accessible Sign in-state permission slips Attend IEP meetings and sign as when neither the birth parent nor the “parent” when the birth parent case worker are available is not present Obtain report cards and other Advocate for appropriate school related reports educational services and supports Keep all written records from the for the child; Contact the case school in a binder/folder manager and/or the Education Liaison for assistanceCase ManagerEducational outcomes have become increasingly important at both the state andnational levels. Child welfare agencies are accountable to ensure children in out-of-home care receive the educational services and supports needed for success.Through research and testimony, it is evident that children in out-of-home care areat a disadvantage from their peers in terms of educational outcomes. Many factorsmake it more difficult for children in care to succeed academically; however, theirability to succeed in school and find sustainable employment is crucial since manyof them will be on their own at the age of 18.Child welfare agencies are held to certain educational outcomes based on theChildren and Family Services Review (CFSR). All states must go through CFSR toensure compliance with national outcomes established for child welfare programs. Children receive appropriate services to meet their educational needs. This outcome reviews collaboration between the child welfare agency and school, the documentation of the child’s educational needs, the implementation of services to meet the child’s education needs and the on-going educational advocacy done on behalf of the children. 12
  13. 13. States that are not in compliance risk losing certain federal funds. The CFSRexamines outcomes related to safety, permanency and well-being.Chapter 39 Florida Statutes requires that documentation about a child‟s educationalstatus and needs be included in the Case Plan and the Judicial Review and alsostates the specific documents and information that these documents must provide.Family Services has the following expectations of case managers: Assist the foster parent with the enrollment of a child into a new school, including completing the streamlined enrollment form for children in out of home care, gathering all necessary documents and withdrawing the child from this/her previous school Gather educational records to further assess the child‟s needs (report cards and school records) Contact Educational Liaisons if there are educational concerns Document reasons for educational placement change Assist with transportation to school if necessary Communicate with birth parents and foster parents regarding educational issues Monitor the child‟s educational progress, needs and strengths Ensure educational services are in place to support the child‟s needs Sign permission slips if birth parent is not available and foster parent can‟t sign Communicate with the school and advocate for child to ensure his/her educational needs are met Try to prevent the child from moving to multiple schools – when moves are necessary, an educational transition plan must be developedFamily Services monitors educational outcomes by conducting quality reviews.Case managers CANNOT sign education forms, IEP documents or consentto evaluations/assessments; however, they are critical in communicatingwith all parties and advocating for educational services to meet the child’sneeds.Foster Care DesigneesEvery school in Orange and Osceola County has identified a staff person to act asthe Foster Care Designee. The Foster Care Designee supports the academicachievement and social/emotional needs of students placed in foster care. Theprimary responsibilities of the Foster Care Designee include: Serve as a resource to the school principal and other personnel to facilitate the provision of supportive services. 13
  14. 14. Complete a Foster Care Designee Checklist for each foster care student at the school. Identify foster care students to teachers and school personnel who are involved with assessments/interventions. Maintain contact with the case manager as necessary. Maintain a confidential folder for the school containing information pertinent to a student‟s foster care status. Work collaboratively with the child welfare agency to discuss, plan and assist the child to succeed in school.Educational LiaisonsFamily Services of Metro Orlando has contracted with Intervention Services, Inc. toprovide an educational liaison program. The liaisons work with children who arejust entering foster care. The liaisons can also work with children referred to themby the case manager, foster parent, or school in a collaborative manner. Theprimary responsibilities of the educational liaisons include: Conduct initial educational screening on all children entering care (prioritize and triage) Provide an education summary for all children coming into care. Osceola County provides this prior to the shelter hearing. Orange County provides the summary after the shelter hearing, before the ICC staffing. Contact the Foster Care Designee and provide information Collect educational data (FCAT scores, grades) Education Liaisons Monitor grade level performance and educational serve as a link milestones between the school Verify/Follow-up on Exceptional Student Education, 504, and case managers. AIP, records transfer Attend Individualized Education Plan/disciplinary concerns meetings if needed Follow-up on IEP services, as referred by dependency case manager or foster parent(s) Provide educational advocacy to ensure appropriate educational services Assist with keeping students in school of origin, when appropriate Train foster parents, case managers and others on educational advocacy Educate community partners , foster parents and case managers on changes in education law and how it impacts children in foster careIndependent Living CoordinatorsFamily Services of Metro Orlando has contracted with Intervention Services, Inc. toprovide independent living services to teenage youth and young adults currentlyand formerly in licensed care, such as a group homes or foster care. TheIndependent Living Coordinators provide support to the primary case manager,caregivers of the youth and the youth themselves. They teach youth about 14
  15. 15. independent living skills and provide advice and resources to help prepare theyouth to live independently when they exit the foster care system. The IndependentLiving Coordinators: Develop an educational plan based on each youth‟s goals Monitor grade level performance Monitor service provision for special education needs Provide life skills training to youth to include educational resources Provide educational advocacy, when needed, to ensure appropriate educational services Train foster parents, case managers and others on educational advocacy Attend IEP meetings for transition goals, when invited Provide information and enrollment assistance with vocational opportunities Evaluate eligibility and provide documentation for tuition waiver/assistance for post secondary education Assure credit transfers Advocate for same-school placementSurrogate ParentsA surrogate parent is an adult appointed to represent the educational interests ofan exceptional student who does not have an available parent or guardian.Surrogate parents ARE NOT appointed for every child in out-home-care.A court decision to transfer temporary custody of a child to Birth parentsthe Department of Children and Families does not take away retain their rightthe birth parents‟ right to make educational decisions on to makebehalf of the child. Birth parents keep the right to make educationaleducational decisions unless a court has expressly decisions forextinguished that right through termination of parental rights their childrenor some other explicit order, or the birth parents cannot be unless theirlocated. If the birth parents are not able to or cannot be parental rightsfound to make educational decisions for the child, then have beenthe foster parent or relative caregiver can fill that role. terminated or the court hasIf neither the birth parent nor the foster parent/relative deemed themcaregiver is available and the child has special education unfit to do so.needs: the court can appoint somebody familiar to the child to be a surrogate parent the school can appoint a surrogate through their processA group home staff member, a case manager, or school employee cannot act asthe surrogate parent. The GAL can be the surrogate parent. 15
  16. 16. Why Would a Child Need a Surrogate Parent?If a child may have a disability, then a parent or person acting in the parental roleshould be present to act as an advocate for the child. The parent role is veryimportant when it comes to advocating for evaluations and/or services that a childmight need to excel in school. The parent is the one who can give consent for theevaluation, help to determine the services the child may need in school andultimately approve the placement for the initial special education services. Is a Name of Surrogate ExamplesResidential Setting Parent Required?Foster Family Home, No Licensed foster home, relative caregiver, licensedRelative Care or therapeutic foster careTherapeutic Foster HomeFamily Operated No These are operated by familiesGroupHomeAgency Operated Yes Operated by private agencies, ex.: Girls and BoysGroup Town, Sunny Side, Great Oaks Village, CrisisHomes, Therapeutic NurseryGroup Home orShelterResidential Yes These centers may be operated by private for-profitTreatment Centers or non-profit agencies and provide secure, therapeutic environments* A surrogate parent is not required if the parent is incarcerated, in a residentialtreatment program, or lives in another county or state if the parent is reachableand willing to serve this role. It is possible for the parent to participate viatelephone, letter, in order to provide input before or during an IEP meeting.StudentThe National Foster Youth Advisory Youth Council came up with a list of ten thingsto improve educational outcomes for youth in care. Three of the ten itemspertained to including youth in decision-making related to education, as follows: Help the child understand what an IEP is and why it is important for them to be an active participant at their IEP meeting. Prepare by discussing the following with the child before the IEP meeting: Child‟s areas of strength / and areas that need improvement 16
  17. 17. Child‟s goals and choices for learning and goals for the future Teach the child how to be a self advocate: Listen and respond to questions Ask questions until you understand everything discussed State their goals for the futureStudents in foster care should be included in their educational planning. Youth-driven decision-making leads to greater engagement of the youth in theireducational success. For the foster care independent living program, Florida lawrequires that transition planning begin with youth in out-of-home care at the age of13 years. The education system also requires a Personal Education Plan (alsoknown as the ePEP) be complete for all youth by age 13. For ExceptionalStudent Education (ESE) no later than age 14, the IEP becomes the transitionplan. A component of this transition planning is the development of aneducation/career plan. ESE children 14 and older must attend their transition IEPmeetings.The Department of Children and Families and the Orange County School Board havean interagency agreement that lays out how these two entities will collaborate tomeet the educational needs of children in foster care. This agreement is beingupdated for 2010/2011. A similar agreement exists in Osceola and is in the processof being updated. The interagency agreement includes valuable information,including data sharing. This agreement is located in the library on Family Service‟swebsite.The existing interagency agreement allows Family Services of Metro Orlando and itscontractors, such as case management organizations and schools to shareinformation about a child in foster care. Case managers should present a picture IDand the letter documenting their authority as a representative of the Department ofChildren and Families when requesting information about a student from a school.The case manager should provide the school with their name and contactinformation as well as information concerning the child‟s needs.Both school districts have agreed to share pertinent educational data related tochildren in out of home care with the education liaisons.Foster parents and relative caregivers can share information with the schoolregarding the child. Likewise, they should be able to receive information from theschool regarding the child‟s education. Information about the birth family is strictlyconfidential.The school should be informed of the foster parent/relative caregiver name andcontact information for easy contact during the school day. The case managershould remind the school that the foster parent‟s contact information is confidential. 17
  18. 18. Foster Care Designees and the Education Liaisons can provide critical support to thesharing of information, including answering questions regarding confidentiality,assisting with obtaining records, assisting with transferring the child‟s schoolrecord, reading and interpreting assessments and overall case support.Assessment and ScreeningEarly Steps is an early intervention system designed to provide the earliest possibleintervention and support for infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) whoare disabled or at risk for developmental delay.To enroll in Early Steps, the child must be eligible. A screening process candetermine if the child has significant delays or an established medical conditionthat is likely to result in a delay. (http://www.cms-kids.com/earlysteps/)Eligibility is determined via a full developmental evaluation covering the followingareas: Physical: health, hearing, vision If you think a foster child MIGHT have a Cognitive: thinking, learning, problem solving disability that could Gross & fine motor skills: moving, walking, result in a grasping and coordination developmental delay Communication: babbling, languages, speech, call conversation (407) 317-7430, Social/emotional: playing and interacting with ext. 2121 to make an appointment for a others screening. Adaptive development: self-help skills, (i.e. feeding, toileting, dressing)The Developmental Center for Infants and Children provides these assessments andis part of a statewide network of Childrens Medical Services. Hearing evaluationsfor children who have questionable infant hearing screens or who are at risk forprogressive hearing loss are scheduled. Please be sure to call in advance for anappointment – there will likely be a waiting list for the screening.The Developmental Center is located at 601 W. Michigan Street, Orlando, FL 32805.For more information, or to make a referral, call (407) 317-7430, ext. 2121 Mondaythrough Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.Once completed, the child‟s needs and potential services will be determined. Ifservices are required, an IEP will be developed for your child. 18
  19. 19. Head StartHead Start is a federal program designed for preschool children from low-incomefamilies. The program fosters childrens intellectual, physical, social and emotionalgrowth, so they may reach their greatest potential. Children who attend Head Startparticipate in a variety of educational activities, receive free medical and dentalcare, have healthy meals and snacks and enjoy playing in a safe setting. Mostchildren in Head Start are between the ages of three and five years old. Servicesare also available to infants and toddlers at selected sites. Head Start helps allchildren succeed. Services meet the special needs of children with disabilities.Head Start offers access to a wide array of resources designed to empowereconomically challenged families. The Orange County Head Start Program has 19centers throughout Orange County; including five centers that are located atelementary school sites and eight centers located at Community Centers.Early Head StartCommunity Coordinated Care for Children (4C) has recently been approved by theUS Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children andFamilies to provide Early Head Start (EHS) services to eligible infants, toddlers andpregnant mothers in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. The tentative startdate for these services is June 2010. 4C will provide EHS services through contractswith providers at licensed child care centers and family child care homes.Orange County – (407) 532-4357Osceola County – (321) 219-6204Seminole County – (321) 832-6409 or (321) 832-6410Eligibility: Children who are in foster care are eligible regardless of familyincome. Children from families receiving public assistance (TANF or SSI) are alsoeligible regardless of income. Child must be residing in Orange or Osceola Countyand be 3 or 4 years old by September 1. If residing in Orange County call (407)836-6590 or in Osceola call (321) 219-6200 for an application. Applications will beaccepted year-round and a waiting list is developed to fill spots in the classrooms.Please note that these programs do have to give priority to children in foster care. Main OfficesOrange County Head Start Osceola County Head StartMable Butler Family Center 2232 East Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway2100 E. Michigan Street Kissimmee, FL 34744Orlando, FL 32806 Phone: 321-219-6211Phone: 407-836-6590Documents needed for registration: Childs Birth Certificate, CurrentImmunization Record, Physical Examination, Dental Examination and a currentLEAD test. 19
  20. 20. Preschool ESEBased on an evaluation, children in pre-school with special needs can qualify for arange of services. If a child qualifies for a service, transportation is provided free ofcost by the school district. Transportation can be provided from the day care to theschool where the child will receive services and back to the day care, or from hometo the school where the child will receive services and back home. The pickup anddrop off address for transportation must be the same.Most Preschool ESE classes for children with disabilities are half-day programs,either morning or afternoon. Some children with more specialized needs mayattend a full day program, at selected elementary schools. This is determined at thestaffing based on the individual needs of the child.To obtain an evaluation in Orange County: The Early Intervention Servicesprogram allows walk-in appointments every Wednesday morning from 8 a.m. to 10a.m. during the school year. The following documents are required for theevaluation: 1. court document showing the child is in state custody 2. a birth certificate (if possible) 3. proof that the child is residing in Orange CountyA Deed or Mortgage, Homestead Exemption notice, notarized Declaration ofDomicile, lease agreement or notarized statement from the case manager will meetdocumentation of residency requirements.It is also important to bring any reports or records of previous medical evaluationsand any recent therapy and/or diagnostic reports. You may complete the referralpacket, which is available in English and in Spanish, in advance.To obtain an evaluation in Osceola County: The Preschool EvaluationEducation Program (PEEP) provides screening, evaluations and sometimeseducational placements for children three to five years old. The Pre-K ESE ParentHandbook can be found at:http://www.osceola.k12.fl.us/depts/ESE/Pages/PKHandicapped.asp. For moreinformation contact the PEEP office at (407) 891-1178.Important Phone Numbers Orange County – Early Intervention Services www.ocps.net 434 N. Tampa Ave., Building 200, Suite 200, Orlando, FL 32805 Ph: (407) 317-3503 The program provides free evaluations to Pre-Kindergarten children 3-5 years of age that reside in Orange County (closed during all school breaks). 20
  21. 21. Osceola County – Preschool Evaluation Education Program www.osceola.k12.fl.us 1200 Vermont Ave., St. Cloud, FL Ph: (407) 891-1178 The program provides free evaluations to Pre-Kindergarten children 3-5 years of age that reside in Osceola County (closed during summer break). Seminole County - Exceptional Student Support Services www.scps.k12.fl.us 1722 W. Airport Blvd., Building #2, Sanford, FL 32771 Ph: (407) 320-7826 or (407) 320-7770 The program provides free evaluations to Pre-Kindergarten children 3-5 years of age that reside in Seminole County (closed during summer break).Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten The Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Program prepares four-year-olds forkindergarten. This program is free to all children who are Florida residentsregardless of income. VPK may be available at participating licensed privatechildcare centers, accredited faith-based centers, many public school and HeadStart sites, as well as licensed family childcare homes. Although all sites that offerVPK provide a similar curriculum and have a set number of instructional hours, theactual program hours and program offerings vary at each site. For example, somesites may offer three hours of free schooling throughout the school year, whileothers may offer a full day of schooling for a certain number of months.Contact the Early Learning Coalition for more information regarding VPKprograms: Orange County: http://www.elororangecounty.org/vpk.html Osceola County: http://www.elcosceola.org/The foster parent or case manager can complete the necessary paperwork once aprogram has been identified. Proof of residency in Orange or Osceola County andproof of child‟s age are required. The actual enrollment is completed at the schoolsite.No children in foster care can be denied entrance to school due to missingregistration forms. There should be no delay in enrolling a child into a new schooldue to a change in placement. The school registration forms can be completed bythe foster parent or case manager. This responsibility falls to the foster parentunless he/she is unable to complete the task. The case manager will need to givethe foster parent the information needed for enrollment (child‟s full name, name ofprevious school (if known), child‟s social security number, child‟s current grade,copy of the court order) and complete the enrollment form for children in out of 21
  22. 22. home care (In Osceola this form is called the Fast Pass for Foster Care and inOrange it is called the Orange County School Registration Form - see sectionbelow). The case manager will need to attach the court order to this form andensure that the child is withdrawn from the previous school. A child cannot beenrolled in the new school until they have been withdrawn from their previousschool.The foster parent should inform the School Registrarthat the child is in foster care so that the Foster Care Withdrawing aDesignee at the school can be notified along with other foster child fromappropriate parties to ensure that procedures related school when theyto confidentiality of the student records are move and mustimplemented. change schools is as important asInformation regarding the registration process for enrolling.Orange County Public Schools can be found at:https://www.ocps.net/fs/governmental/pupil/Pages/StudentEnrollmentandWithdrawalProcess.aspx.Information regarding the registration process for the School District of OsceolaCounty can be found at:http://www.osceola.k12.fl.us/depts/Student_Services/RulesofEnrollment.asp.How old does a child have to be to start school?Under state law, a child must be five years old on or before Sept. 1 to enterkindergarten. To enter first grade, a child must be six on or before Sept. 1 andmust have successfully completed kindergarten.When can I register a child for school?You may go to the school at any time to register the child for school. Previousschool records or report cards help schools place students. Foster parents shouldenroll a child newly placed with them during the school year within 72 hours of thechild entering their home.If a foster child is currently enrolled in school, every effort should be made to avoiddisruption in the school placement. Children should remain in their previouslyassigned school, whenever possible and in the best interest of the child‟s education.Transportation assistance is available to assist with the child remaining in theiroriginal school and can be arranged through the child‟s case manager or educationliaison (see Transportation section for additional information).Enrollment FormsTo expedite the enrollment process both Osceola and Orange County have createda registration form that can be used to enroll a foster child immediately without 22
  23. 23. delay. In Osceola this form is called the “Fast Pass” and in Orange County it isreferred to as the “Orange County Registration Form.” Although both of these formsallow the child to be immediately enrolled without all of the regularly requireddocuments, it is the case manager‟s responsibility to gather all of these documentsand submit to the school in a timely fashion. Enrollment forms for both countiescan be found in the Appendix section of this manual.Which school will the child attend?Each school has a designated attendance area and the familys address determineswhich school the student will attend. In Orange County contact the PupilAssignment office at (407) 317-3233 to find your attendance zone or use thefollowing website: https://www.ocps.net/Parents/Pages/FindaSchool.aspx. Ifenrolling in a school in Osceola County, contact the Department of Student Servicesat (407) 870-4897 or visit http://edulogsrv.osceola.k12.fl.us/edulog/webquery/.How to withdraw a child from schoolThe foster parent or case manager needs to go to the currently enrolled school withthe court order and the following items: 1. The student‟s ID (Middle and High School students) 2. Books (if applicable: instruments and uniforms)If transferring to another Orange or Osceola County School, bring the followingitems to the register at the new school: 1. School Registration Form (Orange County Registration Form for Orange County or Fast Pass for Osceola County) 2. The foster parents ID 3. Withdrawal packet from previous school 4. New foster parent‟s proof of residenceWhen the registration forms mentioned above are used, the child should beimmediately determined eligible for free lunch. The foster parent/case managersshould inquire to ensure this correct. In some cases, the foster parent or casemanager should complete the School District Family Application for Meal Benefits.A copy of this form can be obtained from the school office. Almost all children whoare in foster care will qualify for the free lunch program; however, they must havea completed form. As long as a court order or the proper documentation isgiven to the school, the child should qualify. 23
  24. 24. Application for AssistanceIn some cases the school may require the foster parent/case manager to completethe form for free and reduced meals in addition to the enrollment form for childrenin foster care. If this is requested, a foster child who is living within a householdbut remains the legal responsibility of the welfare agency or court is considered ahousehold of one. The amount the foster parent receives for the child‟s personaluse is considered when determining the eligibility (not the foster parent‟s income).A foster parent should never put their own income on the form. There is a box atthe top of the form that should be checked for children who are in state custody.Once this box is checked you are able to skip several sections of the form, puttingdown only the child information. Only one foster child should be listed on theform; each foster child must be on a separate application.It takes 3-5 business days to get the form processed; however, when the school isaware that the child is in out-of-home care, the child will be given a free lunchimmediately.Stability of School PlacementResearch shows that youth lose an average of four to six months of educationalattainment each time they change schools. Students in care who rarely or neverchange schools are far more likely to graduate from high school (Williams, Kessler, Down,O‟Brien, Hiripi, Morello 2003). Keeping the child in the same school should be the goal ofboth the child welfare agency and the school. The Federal Law, FosteringConnections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, requires state child welfareagencies to improve educational stability for children in foster care by coordinatingwith local education agencies to ensure that children remain in the school they areenrolled in at the time of placement into foster care, unless that would not be in thechild‟s best interests. Maintaining the school placement can provide a sense ofstability and academic continuity critical for the student when everything else ischanging. 24
  25. 25. School Selection: A Checklist for Decision Making(adapted from the Texas Homeless Education Office)School of Origin Considerations Local Attendance Area School Considerations� Continuity of instruction � Continuity of instructionStudent is best served due to circumstances Student is best served due tothat look to his or her past. circumstances that look to his or her future.� Age and grade placement of the student � Age and grade placement of the studentMaintaining friends and contacts with peers Maintaining friends and contacts with peersis critical to the student’s meaningful school in the school of origin is not particularlyexperience and participation. The student critical to the student’s meaningful schoolhas been in this environment for an experience and participation. The studentextended period of time. has attended the school of origin for only a� Academic strength brief time.The child’s academic performance is weak � Academic strengthand the child would fall further behind if The child’s academic performance is stronghe/she transferred to another school. and at grade level and the child would likely� Social and emotional state recover academically from a schoolThe child is suffering from the effects of transfer.mobility, has developed strong ties to the � Social and emotional statecurrent school and does not want to leave. The child seems to be coping adequately� Distance of the commute and its impact with mobility, does not feel strong ties toon the student‟s education and/or special the current school and does not mindneeds transferring.The advantages of remaining in the school of � Distance of the commute and its impactorigin outweigh any potential disadvantages on the student‟s education and/or specialpresented by the length of the commute. needs� Personal safety of the student A shorter commute may help the student’sThe school of origin has advantages for the concentration, attitude, or readiness forsafety of the student. school. The local attendance area school� Student‟s need for special instruction can meet all of the necessary educationalThe student’s need for special instruction, and special needs of the student.such as Section 504 or special education and � Personal safety of the studentrelated services, can be met better at the The local attendance area school hasschool of origin. advantages for the safety of the student.� Length of anticipated stay in a temporary � Student‟s need for special instructionshelter or other temporary location The student’s need for special instruction,The student’s current living situation is such as Section 504 or special educationoutside of the school-of-origin attendance and related services, can be met better atzone, but his/her living situation or location the local attendance area school.continues to be uncertain. The student will � Length of anticipated stay in a temporarybenefit from the continuity offered by shelter or other temporary locationremaining in the school of origin. The student’s current living situation appears stable and unlikely to change suddenly; the student will benefit from the developing relationships with peers in school who live in his local community. 25
  26. 26. Transportation and McKinney-VentoChildren can often remain in their previous school through transportation assistanceprovided under the McKinney-Vento Act. McKinney-Vento is a federal law thatpromotes stability, access and academic success for homeless youth. It promoteseducational stability by allowing homeless youth to remain in their school of origineven if homelessness has caused them to move outside the school district. Schoolof origin is defined as the school a student attended prior to becoming homeless orthe school where the student was last enrolled.In order to be eligible for the benefits and services provided for by the McKinney-Vento Act, a student must meet the criteria for homelessness. Some children infoster care meet the criteria and are considered homeless under the Act. The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as "(A) individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence…; and (B) includes – (i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement….”Usually, once the provisions of McKinney-Vento have been met, an eligible childremains eligible for services for the remainder of that school year.If McKinney-Vento applies to the child, transportation is requested and if it is in thebest interest of the child‟s education, the school will provide or arrangetransportation for the student to stay at the school of origin. If the student movesacross district lines, then both districts have to work together to providetransportation.(reference:http://childwelfare.net/activities/presentations/McKinneyVentoFAQ1.pdf)Each county can interpret this law differently. Orange and Osceola Countyinterprets awaiting foster care placement as interim placement that includesany living arrangement which is not intended to be long-term. Interim placementsare not fixed, regular and adequate. These are likely to include children in shelters,short-term foster homes, group homes and resident placements that are notintended to be long-term and evaluation centers.Transportation RequestsIf you need to request transportation for a student, contact an Education Liaisonwho can help with the transportation request. The student may be eligible fortransportation but the request can take up to ten (10) school days to set up andthe foster parent and case manager will need to plan for alternative transportationwhile the application is processed. Education Liaisons can provide guidance throughthis process. 26
  27. 27. When School Transfers are NeededIf it is necessary for a child to change schools, there are some basic things that canmake the transition smoother: Do not change school placement during critical time periods (end of the marking period, directly prior to FCAT testing). It is best to keep school moves at natural transition times (breaks, summer and end of marking periods). The case manager can notify the previous school of the move and request records be sent to the new school as soon as possible. The case manger can contact the previous school to find out what services were in place, issues the child was having in school and the child‟s overall academic progress. Identify a person in the school that the child can shadow throughout the first school day. Allow the child to get oriented to the school the first day- the case manager/foster parent can walk around with the child and attend part of the school day without requiring full-day attendance the first day. For children in high school, set up a meeting with the new guidance counselor and figure out the student‟s class schedule to minimize loss of credits in the move.Transferring RecordsFoster children cannot be denied entry into a new school because they are waitingon records. When possible, the case manager should identify the school the child iscoming from and inform the foster parent and the new school. The case managercan notify the previous school of the transfer and inform them of the new schoolplacement. The school will handle obtaining the records from the previous school.Because there can be a time delay in this transfer, the case manager might want toask the previous school if the child was receiving any special educational services.Fostering Connections ActOn October 7, 2008, the Fostering Connections to Success and IncreasingAdoptions Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351, Fostering Connections Act) was signed intolaw. This law amends parts B and E of Title IV of the Social Security Act. Among itsprovisions to address the needs of children and youth in foster care, it seeks topromote education stability for foster children.This law affects education stability for children in out-of-home care by requiringchild welfare agencies to include “a plan for ensuring the educational stability of thechild while in foster care” as part of every child‟s case plan. As part of this plan, theagency must include assurances that: the placement of the child in foster care takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement; and 27
  28. 28. the state child welfare agency has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.Additionally, the law requires that if remaining in such school is not in the bestinterest of the child, the case plan must include assurances by the child welfareagency and the local educational agencies that: o provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school; and o provide all of the educational records of the child to the school. o Finally, Fostering Connections supports the well-being of children in out-of-home care by requiring states to provide assurances in their Title IV-E state plans that every school–age child in foster care and every school–age child receiving an adoption assistance or subsidized guardianship payment, is a full-time elementary or secondary school student or has completed secondary school.Reference: American Bar Association & Casey Family Programs (2008). Foster Care & Education Q &A handout (Please see next Page.) 28
  29. 29. How does the McKinney-Vento act and Foster Connections support school success for all children in out-of-home-care? Rights and Eligibility Under the McKinney-Vento and Fostering Connections Act Law Who’s Eligible RIGHTS Remain in school Transportation Immediate Expedited Record Designated Enrollment Transfer Staff ResourceMcKinney- Homeless children, If in their best LEAs are Schools must Schools must Every SEAVento including: children interest, children required to enroll children maintain records so has a in emergency or are entitled to provide or immediately, they are available in McKinney-Homeless transitional shelters, remain in their arrange even without a timely fashion Vento StateAssistance unaccompanied school of origin transportation to typically when a child enters CoordinatorAct homeless youth, or unless their the school of required a new school or and every those “awaiting parent disagrees. origin. (When documents (e.g. school district. LEA must foster care disputes birth certificate, designate a placement” as between LEAs immunization McKinney- defined by state or arise, they must record). Vento school district policy split the cost.) Liaison. or at the discretion of the McKinney- Vento Liaison.Fostering Every child in out- Unless not in the No specific When staying in When staying in the NotConnections of-home care. child’s best mandate,2 but the same school same school is not in specified. interest, the child for IV-E eligible is not in the the child’s bestto Success welfare agency children in out- child’s best interest, childand must work with of-home care, interest, child welfare and LEAsIncreasing the education “foster care welfare and LEAs must provideAdoptions agency to ensure maintenance must provide immediate andAct of 2008 child can remain payments” may immediate and appropriate in their school at include appropriate enrollment in a new the time of reasonable enrollment in a school, with all of placement.1 transportation to new school, with the education a child’s school. all of the records of the child education provided to the records of the school. child provided to the school.McKinney- Children in out-of- Unless not in the Unless another Child welfare Child welfare agency Child welfareVento home care who are child’s best state or local agency and and education agency McKinney eligible interest, the child agreement exists education agency must work caseworkerAND including: children welfare agency between agency must together to expedite and liaisonFostering in emergency or and the McKinney education and work together to record transfers. must workConnections transitional shelters, Vento liaison child welfare, ensure together to unaccompanied must work LEA must immediate provide for homeless youth and together to provide enrollment, even all of the those “awaiting ensure child transportation. without typically child’s rights foster care remains in the required under both placement.” school of origin.3 documents. Acts. Reference: American Bar Association & Casey Family Programs (2010). How Fostering Connections and McKinney-Vento can support school success for all children in out-of-home-care handout. 29
  30. 30. Additional ResourcesThe following organizations provide additional resources on the McKinney-Ventoand Foster Connections Acts: The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education www.abanet.org/child/education The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) www.naehcy.org The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) www.serve.org/ncheIn addition to the public school for which zone the child is in, based upon address ofresidence, there are alternate educational options. These options should beconsidered based on the child‟s educational needs and the services offered by theschool.Magnet SchoolsMagnet Programs were developed to enhance the educational opportunitiesavailable for students to discover and explore their talents. If a student is interested in applying for a magnet program they should meet with their guidance counselor prior to submitting an application Applications for magnet programs become available around October of each school year and need to be given to School Choice Services. The application deadline is around February and a guidance counselor must sign off for anyone applying to a high school magnet program. The application along with the timeframes can be found on the OCPS website under School Choice: https://www.ocps.net/Pages/default.aspx Information about magnet programs in Osceola County can be obtained by calling (407) 870-4600.Charter SchoolsCharter schools in Florida are public schools sponsored by a school district. Anystudent who resides in Orange or Osceola County may apply to attend a charterschool. A complete list of all charter schools in Orange County and their contactinformation is located at: https://www.ocps.net/Pages/default.aspx. Informationregarding charter schools in Osceola County can be found at:http://www.osceola.k12.fl.us/depts/Charter_Choice/index.asp. 30
  31. 31. There are charter schools for children of all ages and they offer unique programs forspecific populations. Although there is no cost to attend, the foster parent/childwelfare agency would be responsible for transportation to and from the school.Charter schools have differing methods for enrollment (open, specific times,lottery). Charter schools are required to follow the IEP plan and offer the serviceslisted in this plan. Contact the charter school directly for specific information.Private SchoolsPrivate schools have extremely varied programs in quality and services offered.They are not sponsored, monitored or regulated by the public school system.Information on private schools may be found at The Florida Private SchoolsDirectory, which is a database of information submitted by private schools.The State of Florida does allow for private schools as a school choice option with theMcKay Scholarship as described below.Children enrolled in private school may still be eligible for assistance with disabilityneeds. The school district operates a separate office for the child-find of privateschool students.In Orange County, the Non-Public Schools Evaluation Office is located in the schoolboard‟s Tampa Avenue complex. Parents arrange appointments for testing throughan intake process and evaluations are completed and sent to local schools foreligibility staffings or service delivery. If the parents agree, students receiveservices through a private school services plan. The district also works with privateschools in implementing the mandates of I.D.E.A. relative to student and parents‟rights for students with disabilities.(https://www.ocps.net/cs/ese/policy/Pages/default.aspx)For information the McKay Scholarship in Osceola County, please visithttp://www.osceola.k12.fl.us/depts/ESE/ or call the ESE Department at (407) 343-8700.No Child Left Behind (NCLB) School Choice for Title OneSchoolsStudents who attend Title I schools designated as not making adequate yearlyprogress for two or more consecutive years are eligible for transfer to anotherpublic school. Contact the local school office to determine if this is a possibility.Choices for students in these schools include: remain at the zone school select a possible transfer to another school currently below 100% capacity. If a student chooses to be transferred to another school, the district will notify parents of the newly assigned school with instructions on how to enroll the 31
  32. 32. student. Students must agree to stay for a minimum of one calendar year. Students may remain at the newly assigned school until they have completed the highest level at that school.McKay Scholarship for ESE StudentsThe state of Florida offers a scholarship program for students with disabilities whohave an approved IEP. A student who meets the criteria listed below may beeligible to transfer to another public school or a participating private school.To qualify for a McKay Scholarship:(1) Child must have been in attendance in a Florida public school in October andFebruary the previous year and(2) Child must have an Individual Education PlanBased on the above criteria, the state will provide a scholarship to transfer toanother public school in the district, to a school in another Florida county or to oneof the participating private schools. If a private school accepts the McKayScholarship, the school district will determine the amount of scholarship the childwill receive (based on the severity of the child‟s needs) and will pay the privateschool directly. The foster parent/child welfare agency will be responsible forassuming any additional costs over and above what school district pays. Likewise,the school district will NOT provide transportation.File applications for the McKay Scholarship online at the website whether you arechoosing a public or private school. There are no paper applications for the McKayScholarship program. You may apply for a private McKay transfer at any time.Parents may file intent to participate in the McKay Scholarship Program on thewww.floridaschoolchoice.org Web site by clicking on the McKay Scholarships linkand then the link titled "Apply for a McKay Scholarship" located on the quicknavigation bar on the left-hand side of the screen. For more information in OrangeCounty Public Schools contact the Exceptional Student Education Program at 407-317-3312 or the state‟s Parent Hotline is 1-800-447-1636. In the School District ofOsceola County contact the Exceptional Student Education Department at (407)343-8700.Florida Virtual SchoolsFlorida Virtual School is a public middle and high school designed to deliver coursesvia the internet. This school allows the student to work independently at their ownpace outside of the classroom. Students such as those who want to accelerate theirlearning or who fall behind in credits may benefit from this school option. Studentsmay choose to take one or all courses via Florida Virtual Schools, however,consultation should be sought from the school guidance counselor to assist inmonitoring the youth‟s education plan to ensure course choices aligns with theyouths educational goals and graduation requirements. 32
  33. 33. A computer is necessary to apply and to complete the course work; instructorsinteract with students through web conferencing, phone, e-mail and instantmessenger.  Students expelled from the school district still have the option to enroll in this program  A Florida resident applies via website by completing an application for admission  Florida Residents must be enrolled in a Florida public, affiliated private or charter school  Florida students in 6 – 12 grades can create an account and start requesting classes at no cost  After a student creates an account, the parent/guardian will create a separate account with a username and password used to login and monitor the students accountFor more information regarding how to apply for Florida Virtual School, visitwww.flvs.netWorkforce AcademyWorkforce Academy is an Orange County Public School available for juniors andseniors. Workforce Academy provides students with the opportunity to gain workexperience through paid internships and their high school diploma. Students spendhalf of their time in the class room and the other out gaining valuable workexperience. Workforce academy also has smaller classes room sizes to assistantstudents in having a smaller classroom environment.http://www.workforceacademy.com/Life Skills Center Orange CountyLife Skills Center is a teacher assisted computer based learning environment forhigh school students residing in Orange County. Students can work at their ownpace and receive credits and their high school diploma. Life Skills Center provides adifferent environment to enable student to receive their diploma if traditional schoolis not working out. There are two different five hour sessions, one in the morningand one in the afternoon. If a student works they go to school one hour less thanstudents who do not work. www.wediducan.comAlternative SchoolsAlternative school is a term used to describe sites that provide education in adifferent manner from the general education in traditional public schools. Somealternative education schools are public schools and some are not. 33
  34. 34. If a child is experiencing difficulty in their current setting, expelled or suspended,an alternative education program might be a viable option. Transfers to theseschools are done only with the approval of the school district.Listed below are some of the alternative schools in Orange County:CHEROKEE SCHOOLCherokee School, a K-6 public school, provides a program for students who areexperiencing significant learning or emotional problems. Students are referred toCherokee through the Special Education Staffing process at their zoned school.  Child must qualify for special education services and have an Individual Educational Plan (IEP)  If it is determined that the school cannot meet the child‟s behavioral needs, the IEP is revised to reflect the need for more restrictive placement  Parent involvement is strongly encouraged in making this decision. If birth parent is not accessible then the foster parent/relative caregiver or surrogate parent needs to be involved with this decision  When the child‟s behavior improves, Cherokee will begin a transition process to return your child to the zoned school  For additional information contact (407) 897-6440 or visit the link at www.cherokee.ocps.netGATEWAY SCHOOLGateway School is public school and a secondary separate-day school that servesstudents with emotional/behavioral needs. Gateway School is the districts mostrestrictive placement for student‟s grades 7-12. Gateway offers a comprehensive,school-wide behavior management program in conjunction with the IndividualizedEducation Plans and Behavior Intervention Plans. A referral for a student to attend Gateway is made due to that childs need for a structured, smaller learning environment that has a behavior management program infused throughout the school day. Gateway provides on-site specialized services for students to succeed behaviorally and academically in their educational programs. Offers counseling groups for anger management and a processing center to work out behavioral matters Students have access to standard and special diploma curricula options Gateway may educate students until the semester of the 22nd birthday For additional information contact (407) 296-6449 or visit the link at www.gateway.ocps.net 34
  35. 35. MAGNOLIA SCHOOLMagnolia school serves students with severe to profound mental handicaps that alsohave special medical or behavioral service needs. The school has specializedprograms that include gifted, autistic and emotional adjustment. The school servesstudents placed through special education staffing procedures to Magnolia School inorder to receive specialized services. For additional information contact (407) 296-6499 or visit the link at www.magnolia.ocps.netSILVER STAR CENTERSilver Star provides educational services to middle and high school students whohave committed an offense at their zone school and have been referred to analternative placement. Before a child receives services at Silver Star there will be a meeting at the student‟s zone school to discuss the student‟s behavior and the recommendation for the student to attend Silver Star Silver Star serves both regular education and special education students who have a mild disability. Other sites and alternatives are available for students with more severe disabilities For additional information contact (407) 521-2330 or visit www.silverstar.ocps.netCenters for SuccessIn addition to the schools listed above, Under the Alternative Education “Centers forSuccess,” the district offers educational services to several categories of studentneeds in non-traditional settings. All students enrolled in “Centers for Success”receive instruction in the standard K-12 curriculum, as well as ESOL and ESEservices, as required. Programs under the Alternative Education “Centers forSuccess” are staffed by Orange County Public Schools teachers, administrators andsupport professionals.Eligible “at-risk” students may attend one of four School/Work programs: theUniversal Education Center, the Florida Mall Education Center, the East OrlandoEducation Center and the Winter Park Education Center. In these programs,students attend class half-days and work half-days.The BETA program is available for teen parents and theirchildren. In other programs, students are involved with If you know of a childjuvenile justice, correction facilities, CRISIS centers, that may need ancommunity-based programs, residential programs and alternative educationsocial services within Orange County. environment, you can consult with the foster care designeeCall (407) 245-1555 to obtain additional information on and/or educationthese schools. liaison. 35
  36. 36. Listed below are some of the alternative schools in Osceola County:NEW BEGINNINGS EDUCATION CENTERNew Beginnings (formerly known as Crossroads and Cornerstone) is the only publicalternative school for students being recommended for expulsion in the SchoolDistrict of Osceola County. The school serves Kindergarten thru 12th gradestudents, who are regular education and ESE (exceptional education). All studentsare recommended for placement through the district Student Services departmentor the ESE department and may be placed for a minimum of 1 successful semesterto a maximum of 2 years.ADULT LEARNING CENTER OSCEOLA (ALCO)Adult Learning Center Osceola classes provide opportunities to improve skills for lifeat home, at work and in the community. The sites offer a variety of educationalservices for students of all ages and stages of life. Whether seeking an opportunityto further one‟s career, finish high school, or learn English, the classes providequality services, programs, training and instruction to meet student needs. Formore information visit: http://alco.osceola.k12.fl.us/.CHALLENGER/ ENDEAVOREndeavor is a high school completion program for 16 and 17 year old students whoare low in credits and lack the necessary skills to pass the FCAT. Classes areteacher-directed and focus on Math, English, Social Studies, Reading and Sciencefor remediation and FCAT preparation. Plato/Impact labs are also available.Typically students attend Endeavor for one school year and then move toChallenger to finish the required courses or return to their home zoned school fortheir senior year. (http://alco.osceola.k12.fl.us/endeavor.shtml)Challenger is open to students 16 to 21 years old who are behind in credits andreside in Osceola County. Ideal students are in their final year of high school.Classes are assigned to ensure each student meets state graduation requirements.Courses are designed so that students can work individually with certified teacherassistance. Technology-based individualized learning opportunities are included ineach course. Graduating students are awarded a regular high school diploma fromone of the districts seven high schools.http://alco.osceola.k12.fl.us/challenger.shtmlPROJECT COPEThe acronym COPE stands for "Creating Opportunities for Parenting Education."This program is designed for students that are expecting or have a baby. COPE isequipped with a beautiful daycare and child care professionals with many years ofexperience and current certifications which include First Aid and CPR. COPEs 36
  37. 37. daycare is divided into five developmental areas which include newborns, infants,crawlers, toddlers and munchkins. Babies and children from ages two weeks tothree years of age enjoy the creative and supportive interactions of our caring staff.Students that are expecting or have a baby are required to take Health forExpectant Parents classes as well as Parenting classes while attending the program.Transportation is provided daily for both student and baby. The success rate of thestudents graduating can be contributed to the mini-semester curriculum that theschool follows. For more information call (407) 846-3976.http://zen.osceola.k12.fl.usHOSPITAL/HOMEBOUND SCHOOL (Orange and Osceola)The Hospital/Homebound School serves pre-kindergarten through twelfth gradestudents throughout Orange and Osceola County. Students are referred to thisprogram through the guidance office at the student‟s zoned school. A SpecialEducation Staffing is conducted to determine eligibility. Hospital/HomeboundSchool: offers a short term instructional program for eligible students whose activities are restricted for at least 15 school days services are for students who are confined to home or hospital by a medically diagnosed physical or mental condition teachers provide instruction designed to help the students continue progressing academically in the core curriculum while away from their regular school program For additional information in Orange County contact (407) 317-3909 or visit: www.hospitalhome.ocps.net. If the student resides in Osceola County, call (407) 343-8718 or visit: http://www.osceola.k12.fl.us/depts/ESE/Pages/Hospital_Homebound.asp.Home SchoolPer Child Welfare Administrative Rule Chapter 65-13, children in foster care maynot be home schooled.Career and Technical SchoolsOrange County Public Schools has five Career and Technical Education Centers:http://reinventme.net/ Mid Florida Tech (407) 251-6047 Orlando Tech (407) 317-3431 Winter Park Tech (407) 622-2906 Avalon Tech (407) 281-5121 Westside Tech (407) 251-2018All of the Centers offer career and technical programs for both high school studentsand young adults who are 18 and older. Technical career programs vary from eightweeks to two years. Students graduate from their selected technical career 37
  38. 38. program prepared to start a career. There are no tuition fees for youth thatare enrolled in high school. Online course catalogue can be viewed at:http://ocpsvirtualcenter.comCareer and Technical Centers provide students certificates upon completion of acertificate career-education program. In order to receive a certificate of completion,a student must complete the program requirements and meet the required basicacademic skill levels in reading, mathematics and language using a state-approvedbasic skills assessment. Training programs are measured in clock hours establishedby the Florida Department of Education as the length of time it takes the averageperson to successfully complete the program. Formal articulation agreements withcommunity colleges allow the student to earn future college credits, upon enrollingin a community college, after successfully completing many technical programs.The School District of Osceola County has two Career and Technical EducationCenters:http://www.teco.osceola.k12.fl.us/ Technical Education Center Osceola (TECO) (407) 344-5080 Professional and Technical High School (PATHS) (407) 518-5407 Zenith Career Center (407) 846-3976Tuition: In Orange County there are no tuition fees for youth enrolled in highschool. In Osceola County some programs require tuition fees. In both Orange andOsceola County young adults who are no longer in high school will have to paytuition. Several financial aid options are available including no-cost grants and Pellgrants which may cover all of the tuition and books.Opportunities for Students Age 17 and Younger GED: Under certain circumstances, the Superintendent will approve a youth under the age of 18 to take the GED. Tech Centers offer the prep course and administer the GED test. The GED test generally cannot be taken until the year that the child is supposed to graduate from high school. o A request must be submitted in writing to the school district. o The request should include justification which explains and supports the youth‟s need to pursue a GED as an alternative to high school attendance. o A referral to the education liaison is needed for youth under age 18 when a GED is being considered. 38

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