On November 15, 2023, the Children’s Bureau released an Information Memorandum (IM) entitled, “Interagency Collaboration between Child Welfare and Educational Agencies to Support the Academic Success of Children and Youth in Foster Care,” to remind state and tribal title IV-E agencies of the school enrollment and educational stability requirements for students in foster care included in the title IV-E and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The Children’s Bureau stated its commitment to collaborating with the Department of Education to address the educational needs of children and youth in foster care and noted that the Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague Letter on July 25, 2023 about the importance of collaboration and joint decision-making between educational agencies and child welfare agencies to prioritize the educational stability of students in foster care.

In the IM, the Children’s Bureau, “encourages title IV-E agencies to collaborate with state and tribal education agencies to develop policies addressing immediate school enrollment, timely transfer of education records, best interest determinations and transportation arrangements to ensure that students in foster care can remain in their school of origin when in their best interest to do so, and the availability of trauma-informed services to support the educational and social-emotional well-being needs of students in foster care.”

The IM also provides information about the state child welfare educational liaison staff or points of contact in each state and introduces a webpage on the Child Welfare Information Gateway with additional resources and State Promising Practice examples. The IM also addresses issues of equity, highlighting the need for safe and supportive school environments for all children and especially for children and youth of color and LGBTQI+ youth.

Schools and school personnel can provide safety and stability for children and youth in foster care and can help to facilitate connections to caring adults, helping to meet the social and emotional needs of children in care.