On Friday, June 19, 2015, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced a key bipartisan measure, the Educational Stability of Foster Youth Act. The bill is an attempt to align federal education law with was enacted under child welfare law, Title IV-E in 2008. The bill would:


  • Ensure that children can remain in their original school when it is in their best interest—when they enter foster care and move from placement to placement;
  • Allow children to immediately enroll in a new school when it is not in their best interest to remain in their original school;
  • Give students prompt access to their educational records when they must change schools;
  • Require local educational agencies and child welfare agencies to work together to develop a process and ensure that funding for transportation is available;
  • Assure that a point of contact for education of foster children is appointed in the local educational agency when there is also a point of contact in the corresponding child welfare agency; and
  • Require a report by the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services on implementation of these new assurances for foster children, including on the progress made and remaining barriers

 In a statement released at introduction Senator Franken said, “A quality education in a trusting environment can help children in foster care overcome the abuse, neglect, and instability that many of them may have experienced. Our bipartisan legislation will help support the education of kids in the foster care system. It’s far past time that we take steps to ensure that children have access to an equal education.”

Those sentiments were echoed by cosponsor Senator Grassley who said that “It’s important to remember that kids in foster care often don’t have school stability. That can put them behind in their education, and getting behind can be hard to overcome. In the worst case, older kids drop out of school altogether. This bill will help make sure that school stability is at the forefront for foster kids.”

The legislation would be offered up or included as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and secondary Education Act (ESEA/No Child Left behind Act). That bill, S 1177, has been waiting for Senate floor time and debate since the beginning of May. It is hoped that the Senate would debate it before the July 4th break but that will start at the end of this week. The Educational Stability of Foster Youth Act also has the support of HELP Committee Ranking Member Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). You can read a summary of the bill here and you can download a copy of the bill here.