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Child Welfare and School Collaboration

When schools and child welfare agencies collaborate, students living in out-of-home care benefit from the expertise and insights of both agencies working toward educational stability and school success.

Requirements under ESSA

The ESSA and state law require at a minimum that schools work collaboratively with the child welfare agency to:

  • Develop clear written procedures for transportation;
  • Consider all factors when conducting a best interest determination; and
  • Request and transfer records immediately if a student is enrolling in a new school.

Best Practice

Full collaboration in practice means:

  • Knowing who the points of contact at each agency are;
  • Keeping the lines of communication open to share information; and
  • Fully engaging in agreed upon processes to make well-informed decisions that support educational success for students.

Points of Contact

Collaboration begins with the Points of Contact. These liaison positions work to cultivate knowledge and communication between agencies.

Visit the Points of Contact page to find a local education agency (LEA) or child welfare agency (CWA) Point of Contact.

The Department of Public Instruction and Department of Children and Families have produced joint guidance to define the specific roles and responsibilities of the LEA and CWA points of contact:

Foster Care Point of Contact (LEAs) responsibilities, best practice considerations, and useful resources

Education Point of Contact (CWAs) responsibilities, best practice considerations, and useful resources    

School Input for Permanency Plan Hearings and Reviews

Schools must receive notice whenever there is a review of, or hearing on, a child’s permanency plan, and schools have the opportunity to provide input at the hearing or review. The DPI’s Memo on Notification of Permanency Plan Hearings and the School’s Role in Providing Information provides more information about the hearing notifications and how schools can provide input related to a child’s permanency plan.

The following PDF form and fillable form can be used by school representatives to assist them in determining what information, if any, is relevant to present to a judge or administrative review panel regarding a permanency plan hearing or review for a student in out-of-home care. The PDF version can be printed and filled out by hand. The Word version is a fillable form where information can be entered electronically.

Permanency Plan Review Input Tool
Permanency Plan Review Input Tool (fillable form)

Resources for Communication and Information Exchange

Collaborating to Effectively Address Truancy


20 U.S.C. § 6312(c)(5)
Non Regulatory Guidance: Ensuring Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care, U.S.D.E . and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Jun. 23, 2016.
Wis. Stat. §§ 48.38(5)(b) and 938.38(5)(b) and 48.38(5m)(b) and 938.38(5m)(b)