Enrollment and Rights of Foster Youth
Foster Youth means a child who has been subject to one of the following:
- Has been removed from their home pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code 309.
- Is the subject of a petition filed under Welfare and Institutions Code 300 or 602, whether or not the child has been removed from the home.
- A dependent child of the court of an Indian tribe, consortium of tribes, or tribal organization who is the subject of a petition filed in the tribal court pursuant to the tribal court’s jurisdiction in accordance with the tribe’s law.
- A child who is the subject of a voluntary placement agreement, as defined in subdivision (p) of Section 11400 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
- A non-minor who is under the transition jurisdiction of a juvenile court, as described in Welfare and Institutions Code 450, and satisfies the criteria of EC 42238.01.
(Education Code 48853.5, 42238.01)
Foster youth 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, immunization records, proof of residency, or school uniforms. To ensure a student’s appropriate school placement, we encourage all relevant documents be provided at the time of enrollment. An LEA must deliver foster youth education records and information to the new school within 2 business days of receiving a transfer request.
School of Origin
School of origin means the school that the foster youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the foster youth was last enrolled. If the school the foster youth attended when permanently housed is different from the school in which the foster youth was last enrolled, or if there is another school that the foster youth attended with which the foster youth is connected and that the foster youth attended within the preceding 15 months, the district liaison, in consultation with, and with the agreement of, the foster youth and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster youth shall determine, in the best interests of the foster youth, the school that shall be deemed the school of origin. (Education Code 48853.5)
At their initial placement or upon any subsequent change in placement, 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. If the student is transitioning between school grade levels, the student shall be allowed to continue in the district in the same attendance area to provide the student the benefit of matriculating with the student's peers in accordance with the established feeder patterns of school in the district. A student who is transitioning to a middle school or high school shall be allowed to enroll in the school designated for matriculation in another school district.
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.
Extracurricular Activities / Athletics
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.
Transfer of Coursework and Credits/Grades Not Penalized
- 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)
- Foster youth's grades will not be penalized for absences due to placement changes, court appearances, or related court ordered activities. (CA Education Code 49069.5)
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
Foster youth education records can be disclosed 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. 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(a)(1)(N); 20 USC 1232g(b)(1)(L).
Caregiver/Foster Parent Access to Education Records
Under state law, a caregiver/foster parent/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, after school or summer 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/foster parent/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 49076(a)(1)(O); 49069.3 (a), (b); 34 CFR 99.31(a)(8), 34 CFR 99.3).
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.
To find out more information about foster youth resources, including free tutoring, check out www.sfusd.edu/fosteryouth and/or contact SFUSD’s Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program (FYSCP) through the Student Family School Resource Link line at (415) 340-1716 or email email@example.com.
See the full Handbook and downloadable, translated PDFs at sfusd.edu/Handbook.
This page was last updated on August 16, 2023