Foster Care Program
The District recognizes the importance of limiting educational disruption for students in foster care and will collaborate with the Florida Department of Children and Families and Big Bend Community Based Care points of contact to promote stability for students in foster care, and to ensure comnpliance with applicable Federal laws and State Statutes.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 defines foster care as "24 hour substitute care for children placed away from their parents or guardians for whom the child welfare agency has placement and care responsibility." This includes in foster family homes, shelter, relatives, nonrelatives, group homes, and residential facilities.
Students in foster care should remain in their "school of origin" under ESSA, unless it is determined to not be in their best interest at the ESSA staffing or conference call. "School of origin" is defined as the school the child is currently attending.
A staffing or conference call will be facilitated within 72 business hours of being notified of a child's removal into foster care or a change in placement to determine if it is in the student's best interest to remain at the school of origin. The District shall collaboratively discuss school placement options. This is based on an individualized process that places emphasis on the best interest of the student and the the maintenance of a stable school environment.
ESSA Staffings for Leon County are held:
Monday at 1:00pm
Wednesday at 10:00am
Friday at 11:00am
Factors When Determining Best Interest Include, but are not limited to:
- Age, maturity, and behavioral capacity of student
- Proximity of placement
- Influence of school climate on the student
- Length of anticipated time in current foster care placement
- History of previous school transfers and their impacts on the child's success
- Level of academic and behavioral success in the current school
- Attachment to the school
- Preference of the student
- Preference of the parent/guardian or education decision makers
- School placement of siblings
- Need for specialized instruction
- Criminal charges
- Individualized Education Plan