Who Can Enroll a Foster Student?
A student may be enrolled by either a representative from Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) or Child Protective Services (CPS); or an individual from the student’s foster placement, such as a foster parent or representative of the shelter.
Forms and Court Documents Needed to Enroll the Student
- Proof of legal authority to enroll student;
- Either DFPS Form 2085 (in any form); or a court order naming a DFPS Temporary Managing Conservator or a Permanent Managing Conservator;
- These forms are protected under FERPA and must be stored securely.
- One copy of Form 2085 should be placed in the student’s cumulative folder and the campus PEIMS clerk should retain a second copy.
- Student must be coded with an at-risk indicator in PEIMS. Also, T.E.C. 7.029(b-1) requires districts to report a foster care indicator through PEIMS.
- Certified copy of student’s birth certificate or other proof of identity (allow 90 days for children not born in the United States);
- Student’s immunization records (student may be enrolled provisionally, even if he or she has not had the necessary immunizations); and
- Student’s records from school most recently attended.
- If the student is under 11, the name of each previous school attended by student and the records from those schools must be provided.
- Students may either continue attending their current school or school in that feeder pattern, or enroll in the school in the attendance zone of their placement. If the student is to be enrolled based on location of his/her placement, standard proof of residency is required (lease, utility bill, or other document allowed by campus).
NOTE: If a student is involved with CPS, but not in conservatorship or substitute care, or is awaiting foster placement, the McKinney Vento Act applies.
- The student should be enrolled immediately, any time of day, even if the student does not have all of the necessary paperwork. While it is requested that foster parents, placement agencies, and other residential facilities call ahead for enrollment, this is not required.
- If required forms and records are not received 30 days after student is enrolled, district shall notify the police department and request a determination of whether the child has been reported missing.
Obtaining Records from Student’s Prior School
- Student records must be transferred no later than 10 working days after the student enrolls in another school.
- If necessary, contact the foster care liaison in the district the student attended for assistance. See the TEA website for list of liaisons.
Documents and IDs Required to Access Student and Student’s Records
- The student’s attorney ad litem and guardian ad litem (including CASA representatives) may contact the school regarding the student’s educational status and needs. These individuals must have a court order or notification letter of assignment. The attorney ad litem is entitled to records related to the student, including school records, without a further order or release.
- A student’s caseworker may access any educational records a parent could access for a student in DFPS conservatorship. To obtain the files, the caseworker only needs to provide the school with a badge showing employment with CPS.
- When in doubt, ask to see either the court order or DFPS Form 2085 or contact the student’s caseworker.
- The Uninterrupted Scholars Act permits educational agencies and institutions to disclose education records of students in foster care to state and county social service agencies or child welfare agencies.
What to Do When a Student Withdraws
- Be sure the student’s caseworker or guardian is provided with all of the student’s records, including a transcript, and documentation of any educational services or referrals in place, such as 504 services, special education or gifted and talented.
- Ensure the student’s new school receives the student’s record within 10 days of enrollment at the new campus.
Meeting the Student’s Needs
- Students in foster care are presented with unique challenges including: separation from family, instability, incomplete or missing records, missed class time, special needs that have not been met, behavioral challenges, and safety concerns. It is important that the student feels welcomed and supported at the campus.
- Maintain confidentiality as it is important the student not be labeled as a foster care child and that any related matters be discussed in private. Federal and state laws and policies require that a student’s status of being in DFPS conservatorship be kept confidential, except on a need-to-know basis.
- Inform the student of safe places to go if the student needs emotional support such as, the counselor’s office, Principal’s office, Assistant Principal’s office, or Communities in Schools’ office.