FOSTER CARE IN TEXAS
On any given day, there are approximately 16,000 school-aged children and youth in Texas schools who are in foster care. Texas children and youth in foster care comprise a small percentage of the total student population yet face unique challenges that significantly impact success in the school environment. Before entering foster care, children and youth may have lived in chaotic home environments, experienced physical or emotional trauma, attended school sporadically, or had parents or family members who were unable to meet their physical and emotional needs.
EDUCATION LAWS AND GUIDANCE
Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, Public Law 110-351 - Federal law that directs child welfare agencies to ensure education stability for children and youth in foster care, including coordination among child welfare and education agencies to ensure education stability for students in foster care.
Texas Education Code addressing students in foster care:
- Data sharing and data collection requirements in PEIMS - TEC § 7.029 (Chapter 1 (PDF), p. 16; Chapter 5 (PDF), pgs. 45-46)
- Immediate school enrollment without records - TEC § 25.002(g) (Chapter 7 (PDF), p. 56)
- Attendance in the school the student was enrolled immediately before entering conservatorship, even when placed outside of the district attendance zone until the student successfully completes the highest grade level offered by the school - TEC § 25.001(g) (Chapter 8 (PDF), p. 62)
- Excused absences for court-ordered appointments - TEC § 25.087 (Chapter 10 (PDF), p. 75)
- An 11th or 12th-grade student who transfers to a new school district and does not meet the graduation requirements of the new school district may request a diploma from the former school district when on track to graduate at the previous school - TEC § 28.025 (Chapter 9 (PDF), p. 92)
- Free eligibility for PRE-K - TEC § 29.153(b)(6) (Chapter 10 (PDF), p. 74)
- Accelerated instruction (at-risk indicators and compensatory education) - TEC § 29.081(d)(11) (Chapter 6 (PDF), p. 51; Chapter 11 (PDF), pgs. 82-83)
- Free lifetime college tuition and fee waiver. The waiver is activated when a student enrolls in dual credit or another course where a student may earn college credit- TEC § 54.366 – (Chapter 13 (PDF), pgs. 104-106)
- School districts and open-enrollment charter schools are required to appoint a Foster Care Liaison and notify TEA of their Foster Care Liaison appointment - TEC § 33.904 (Chapter 5 (PDF), p. 44)
- Transition Assistance from one school to another of students in foster care - TEC § 25.007 (Chapter 11 (PDF), pgs. 84-91).