U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance to Improve Educational Outcomes of Children and Youth in Foster Care JUNE 2, 2014 Contact: Press Office, (202) 401-1576, press@ed.gov

Today the U.S. Department of Education is releasing resources to emphasize and support the needs of foster care students. In addition to new guidance, ED has launched a dedicated web page, Students in Foster Care, and issued a joint letter with the U.S. Department of Health Human Services to education authorities about increasing educational stability for children and youth in foster care.

The guidance released today will make it easier for caseworkers, child welfare agencies and tribal organizations responsible for the placement and care of children and youth in foster care to have direct access to their education records. The guidance provides states with information to implement the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA), an amendment to The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). It also details the amendment’s impact on the confidentiality provisions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The guidance will help states improve educational and developmental outcomes for students in foster care by providing authorized agencies with access to the records they need to meet the early intervention or educational needs of the students.

“This guidance is part of our efforts to raise awareness of the needs of this vulnerable student population. When a child is removed from their family and placed in out-of-home care the disruption is extraordinary. Many have to change schools once or sometimes several times,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This guidance will help lessen the impact of these disruptions and help provide students in foster care with educational stability, by making their school records accessible to those in charge of their care. We also hope it will shine a light on the benefit of these students staying in their schools and within an education community that can support them through a difficult period.”

The USA amends FERPA in the following two ways: 

  • First, it permits educational agencies and institutions to disclose students’ education records to authorized child welfare agency representatives and tribal organizations.
  • Second, the USA also allows educational agencies and institutions to disclose students’ education records to authorized child welfare agency representatives and tribal organizations following a judicial order, without requiring additional notice to the parent.

ED is working with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide new resources to support educators and child welfare professionals in their work to improve the well-being of students in foster care. ED and HHS released a letter advising local educational and child welfare agencies to coordinate efforts to ensure the educational stability of students in foster care under the Fostering Connections Act.

ED also launched the Students in Foster Care webpage this week, which provides information on important laws, guidance and technical assistance materials.

The new guidance, letter and web page are just three of ED’s continuing efforts to improve outcomes for children and youth in foster care. The Department has also worked to raise awareness of the impact of the Uninterrupted Scholars Act on the IDEA.

The Obama administration believes that if we can improve the lives of the most vulnerable students, it will lead to better outcomes for all students.

 

 

Black Infant Health Funding Restored!

TeenNow California Celebrates this Wonderful News!!

California Black Health Network is extremely happy that Governor Jerry Brown signed the final 2014-15 state budget restoring $4 million dollars back to the state Black Infant Health program (BIH). The budget restored funds cut in 2009 that resulted in some programs (Riverside BIH and San Bernardino BIH) closing and others drastically reducing services. CBHN’s Black Infant Health Alliance meeting in February was filled with devastating stories throughout the state of services being cut and our mothers and babies not getting what they needed as a result of the previous budget cut. With the money restored, the Black Infant Health Program can continue to improve birth outcomes and reduce incidences of infant mortality, low birth weight and prematurity for Black infants.  As a result of the funding restoration, the Black Infant Health Program could also potentially save $7.9 million in excess societal costs, of which $5.1 million are medical costs for the baby, because of potential reductions in preterm births based on the proven success of the program.

2014 Scholarships Winners!

by Pam Kitagawa

 

 

The 2014 Teen Parent graduating class is impressive! I just didn’t realize how impressive until this past Wednesday. I was invited to the Horizon School-Age Parent Program to present TeenNow’s scholarship for Region 3. I was able to put a face and a life to an essay, which adds so much dimension to her story. Horizon’s graduating class consists of 11 young women. Each of them me with their stories, their courage, bravery, determination and resiliency.

 

Our scholarship winner for Region 3 is Natalie Payne. She is an extraordinary women who has, without parental involvement at any level. She maintained a 4.0 after the birth of her son. She is upbeat, smart, wise, and focused on her education. Her essay, titled, “Womb with a View”, is creative and perceptive. Natalie shared personal experiences in her life with a perspective and perception that goes far beyond her years. In college she will be working towards her BSN in nursing. We, at TeenNow, are looking forward to seeing her accomplish her goals.

 

Natalie is a wonderful example of the 2014 TeenNow California Scholarship Recipients. They are:

 

                California Recipient:        Edna Arias

                Region 1                               Natalie K. Boulazreg

                Region 3                               Natalie Payne

                Region 5                               Mary Cruz Almarez

                Region 7                               Rajaz Wilkerson

                Region 8                               Guadalupe Santiago

 

We will sharing information about all the winners in the days to come.

 

I want to thank each and every young parent who took the time to write deeply personal essays. You are all extraordinary and we are honored by you.  I also want to thank those who contributed to the scholarship funds. We will start the campaign for the 2015 Scholarship awards later this summer. Please consider contributing again or for the first time.

 

Congratulations to the winners of TeenNow California’s 2014 Scholarship Awards!!