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.
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
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:
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
- The Education Passport is a tool commonly used by child welfare agencies to share child welfare information with schools. This guide from the Department of Children and Families outlines recommended use of the Education Passport.
- This Foster Care Educational Services FAQ answers frequently asked questions from schools related to students placed in out-of-home care.
- Foster Care Educational Services Glossary - This glossary pulls together terms and definitions from both LEAs and CWAs to build a common understanding of the language we use together.
- FAQ Related to the Definitions, Roles, and Responsibilities of Parents, Persons Acting as the Parent of a Child, and Surrogate Parents
- Understanding Guardianships, Legal Custody, and Physical Custody for School Professionals in WI
- The DPI’s Confidentiality, Privacy, and Student Records page provides more information related to sharing of pupil records and other student information.
Collaborating to Effectively Address Truancy
- DPI Resources on Truancy and School Attendance: https://dpi.wi.gov/sspw/safe-schools/school-attendance
- WI Department of Children and Families Youth Justice Issue Brief on Truancy
- Best Practice Approaches to Truancy Reduction: Information for School Attendance Officers
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)