The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) emphasizes the educational stability of vulnerable students, including those in foster care. Children in foster care face many educational barriers, including traumatization, high mobility, and undiagnosed behavioral and health conditions.
ESEA section 1111(g)(1)(E) provides new guidelines for ensuring the educational stability of children in foster care. Title I Part A of ESEA requires Local Educations Agencies (LEA) receiving Title I funds to collaborate with state or local child welfare agencies on local procedures for transportation for students in foster care. This must be accomplished by ensuring that transportation for children in foster care is provided, arranged, and funded. (ESEA section 1112(c)(5)(B)). An LEA must ensure that transportation provided for children in foster care is consistent with the procedures developed by the LEA in collaboration with the state or local child welfare agency under section 1112(c)(5)(B) of the ESEA. These requirements apply whether or not the LEA already provides transportation of children who are not in foster care.
An LEA in collaboration with local child welfare agency (LCWA) must ensure that children in foster care needing transportation to the school of origin promptly receive such transportation in a cost-effective manner. (ESEA section 1112(c)(5)(B)(i)). Therefore, the LEA and the LCWA must provide or arrange for adequate and appropriate transportation to and from the school of origin while any disputes are being resolved.