Foster Care Policy
POLICY FOR FOSTER CARE EDUCATION ASSISTANT ACT
PURPOSE: The goal of the Foster Care Education Assistance Act is to ensure that each foster child or youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, and extra-curricular activities, as provided to other children and youths. The Everett Public Schools (EPS) shall ensure that every effort is made to comply with this legislation.
LIAISONS: The Foster Care Assistance Act requires that every school district designate a staff person to serve as the Foster Care Liaison whose role is to assist homeless students enrolling in school, remove all barriers to enrollment, ensure that foster care students receive the educational services for which they are eligible and have access to all school activities and events. This liaison may have other duties within the school district. The liaison for the Everett Public Schools is Charles Obremski, Assistant Superintendent of Operations. He may be reached by phone at 617-394-2400 ext. 6121. The office is located at 121 Vine Street, Everett, MA 02149.
ENROLLMENT: The Everett Public Schools will immediately enroll (students attend class) foster care students in school, even if they do not have the documents usually required for enrollment – such as school records, medical records, proof of residency, discipline records, or birth certificate. Furthermore:
- Foster Care students have a right to either remain in their school of origin unless it is determined not to be in the student’s best interest. Everett Public Schools will make school placement determinations on the basis of the “best interest” of the foster child or youth based on student-centered factors.
- Students who choose to remain in their school of origin have the right to remain there in that school either for the duration of the student’s time in foster care or until the student completes all the grades in that school. The Foster Care Liaison will assist students who arrive without records by contacting the previously attended school system to obtain the required records.
TRANSPORTATION: The Everett Public Schools shall ensure that transportation is provided according to state guidelines, at the request of the DCF worker, guardian, etc. to and from the school or origin:
- Some students in foster care will need transportation to remain in their school of origin. The Everett Public Schools will collaborate with DCF to implement policies and procedures governing how transportation will be provided and arranged to ensure that students in foster care who need transportation to remain in their school of origin will receive such transportation established by school committee policy.
ACCESS TO COMPARABLE SERVICES: Foster Care students are to be provided services and education programs comparable to those received by other students and for which they meet eligibility criteria, such as services provided under Title I or similar state or local programs for student with disabilities; programs for students with limited English proficiency: vocational or technical programs; gifted and talented programs; tutoring; MCAS remediation; homework assistance; referral to counseling; medical services; school supplies; and school nutrition programs. Foster Care students will be enrolled immediately in the free breakfast and lunch program.
ACCESS TO PRESCHOOL: An important goal of Foster Care Policy is to offer Foster Care preschoolers the same opportunity to enroll, attend, and succeed in preschool as non-Foster Care preschoolers, thereby minimizing their educational disruption due to placement in Foster Care.
DISPUTE RESOLUTION: When DCF and the school district (s) cannot agree about whether it is in the student’s best interest to remain in the school of origin or to enroll and attend locally and DCF makes a decision that the district cannot accept, the party can seek review of DCF’s decision by utilizing a Foster Care School Selection Dispute Resolution Process established by ESE and DCF.
APPROVED BY THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE ON MARCH 15, 2021
EVERETT COMMUNITY RESOURCES
Families in Need
- Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (food, job and cash assistance and emergency shelter) 617-629-1400
- ABCD-Malden (Homelessness, Food Stamps, Fuel Assistance, Immigration, Healthcare, Free Tax Help, etc.) 781-321-3431
- Shelter for Battered Women and Their children: Emergency Line: 617-661-7203, General Information: 617-354-2676
- CASPAR Emergency Service Center (assistance for homeless men and women with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol) 617-661-0600
- Just a Start Community Development Corporation (transitional housing and tenant/landlord mediation) 617-494-0444
- Massachusetts HEATLINE (fuel assistance) 1-800-632-8175
- Youth Harbors 617-270-3934
- City of Everett Human Services Department 617-394-2260
- Everett Teen Center 857-363-2611