Enrollment and Rights of Foster Youth
Children who are dependents of the Dependency section of the Juvenile Court and those residing in out of home placement, as ordered by the Delinquency section of the Juvenile Court, who wish to enroll in SFUSD will enroll at the following locations:
Students with an assignment of General Education and Resource Specialist Program (RSP) enroll at the Educational Placement Center (EPC) at 555 Franklin Street, Room 100. (415) 241-6085
Students with an assignment of Special Day Class (SDC), Day Treatment, or Non Public School (NPS) will be directed to the Special Education Placement Unit located at EPC for appropriate school placement. (415) 355-6995
SFUSD will enroll a foster child immediately even if the foster child is unable to produce records or clothing normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, proof of residency, other documentation, or school uniforms. To ensure a student’s appropriate school placement, we encourage all relevant documents be provided at the time of enrollment.
When a home placement change occurs, a foster child is allowed to remain in their school of origin while under the jurisdiction of the court. If a foster child exits foster care mid-year they are allowed to remain in their school of origin for the duration of the school year. High school students whose court jurisdiction terminates while they are in high school, can remain in their School of Origin through graduation. A change of address form must be completed with EPC and emergency card updated at the school site. If the home placement is out of county, an inter-district transfer is required; however school placement will not be delayed.
A foster child who changes residences pursuant to a court order or decision of a child welfare worker shall be immediately deemed to meet all residency requirements for participation in interscholastic sports or other extracurricular activities.
To find out more information about foster youth resources including free tutoring, contact SFUSD’s Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program (FYSCP) at (415) 242-2615.
Assembly Bill 490 Provisions
- Requires county placing agencies to promote educational stability by considering in placement decisions the child’s school attendance area.
- Allows a foster child to be immediately enrolled in school even if all typically required school records, immunizations, or school uniforms are not available.
- Creates school stability for foster children by allowing them to remain in their school of origin when their placement changes and remaining in the same school is in the child’s best interest.
- Provides that a foster child has the right to remain enrolled in and attend their school of origin pending resolution of school placement disputes.
- Requires Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to designate a staff person as a foster care education liaison to ensure proper placement, transfer, and enrollment in school for foster youth.
- Requires that a comprehensive public school be considered as the first school placement option for foster youth.
Timely Transfer of Records
- Makes LEAs and county social workers or probation officers jointly responsible for the timely transfer of students and their records when a change of schools occurs.
- Requires an LEA to deliver the student’s education information and records to the next educational placement within 2 business days of receiving a transfer request from a county placing agency or LEA.
Protection for Grades and Credits
- The District must accept credit for full or partial coursework satisfactorily completed by the foster student and earned while attending a public school, juvenile court school, or non-public, non-sectarian school. Foster students will not be required to retake a course if the student has satisfactorily completed the entire course in a public school, a juvenile court school, or a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency; nor will the student be prohibited from retaking or taking a course to meet the eligibility requirements for admission to the California State University or the University of California. (CA Education Code 51225.2)
- Ensures that foster youth will not be penalized for absences due to placement changes, court appearances, or related court ordered activities.
School of Origin (Assembly Bill 1933)
Assembly Bill 1933 (AB 1933) allows a foster child to remain in their school of origin for as long as the child is in foster care. This means the foster child can remain in their school of origin and/or school feeder pattern even if:
- The child changes school levels, or
- The child moves out of the school area or district while in foster care.
If the foster child’s case is closed prior to the end of an academic year, the foster child must be allowed to continue to attend the school of origin through the “duration of the academic school year.” CA Education Code § 48853.5(d)(2).
School of Origin for High School (Senate Bill 1568) Senate Bill 1568 (SB 1568) allows a former foster child to continue in their School of Origin through graduation if the jurisdiction of the court is terminated while the foster child is in high school. CA Education Code § 48853.5.
School of Origin
School of origin can either be the school that the foster child attended when they were permanently housed or the school in which the foster child was last enrolled while in foster care. If there is another school that the foster child is connected to and attended in the last 15 months, that school may also be deemed the school of origin. CA Education Code § 48853.5(e).
Parents have the right to make educational decisions for their children unless their child is in a legal guardianship, their child has been freed for adoption (parental rights terminated), or the juvenile or other court has limited their educational rights. At the same time the court limits educational rights, it must appoint a responsible adult to make educational decisions. If the court cannot identify one for a student being assessed for or receiving special education services, the court will refer the case to the SFUSD Educational Surrogate Coordinator for appointment of a surrogate parent.
Child Welfare Access to Education Records (Assembly Bill 643)
Assembly Bill 643 (AB 643) allows access to student records to an agency caseworker or other representative of a state or local child welfare agency that has legal responsibility, in accordance with state law, for the care and protection of the student. Student records can be provided to the above without written parental consent or under judicial order. CA Education Code § 49076(L)(i)
The agency case worker or representative may disclose student records, or identifiable information, to agency authorized persons that are providing related educational assistance. The records, or identifiable information contained in those records, shall not otherwise be disclosed by that agency, except as provided under FERPA. CA Education Code § 49076(L)(ii)
Caregiver/Foster Parent Access to Education Records (Senate Bill 233)
Under state law, a caregiver/Resource Family may have access to their foster youth’s current school records for the purpose of ensuring that the student has access to educational services, supports and activities (e.g., to enroll the student in school; assist with homework, class assignments or college applications; enroll in extracurricular activities, tutoring, afterschool or enrichment activities). Records a caregiver may access include current or most recent grades, transcripts, attendance, discipline, online communication on platforms for students and parents, IEPs and 504 plans. The caregiver/Resource Family may have access to these records even if they are not the education rights holder. Caregivers/Resource Families who do not hold educational rights can have access to Limited ParentVUE. CA Education Code 49069.3 (a), (b).
School Discipline Rights (Assembly Bill 1909)
Assembly Bill 1909 governs the duties and rights related to foster students in school disciplinary proceedings. The key provisions of Assembly Bill 1909 are as follows:
Extension of Suspension
If a foster youth is referred to an extension of suspension meeting for an offense that does not require mandatory suspension/expulsion referral, the foster youth’s attorney and child welfare agency representative must be notified of the proceedings and invited to participate in the extension of suspension meeting. This Notice also may be provided to the student’s attorney/child welfare agency representative for offenses that do require mandatory suspension and expulsion. (CA Education Code 48853.5, 48911).
If a manifestation determination is held for a foster student for an offense that does not require mandatory expulsion referral, the student’s attorney and child welfare agency representative shall be invited to participate in the meeting. The invitation may be made by mail, email or telephone call. This Notice also may be provided to the student’s attorney/child welfare agency representative for offenses that do require mandatory expulsion referral.
Notice of Expulsion
If a foster student is being referred for expulsion for an offense that does not require mandatory expulsion referral, the District must inform the student’s attorney and child welfare agency representative of the hearing 10 calendar days prior to the hearing date. The notice may be provided by mail, email or telephone call. This notice also may be provided to the student’s attorney/child welfare agency representative for offenses that do require mandatory expulsion referral.
Increasing School Stability & Community Support
It is a proven fact that youth in stable homes and with stable supports do better in school. However, 62% of San Francisco foster youth live outside of San Francisco.
If you’re interested in fostering, adopting, or volunteering with a foster youth, please go to www.foster-sf.org.