Students in foster care have the right to remain in their school of origin when they enter foster care or change foster homes if it is in their best interest to do so. They also have the right to transportation. Find out more about school stability for children in foster care below.
Children in foster care have the right to stay in their school of origin when they enter foster care or change foster homes, as long as it is in their best interests do so. The school of origin is the school the child was attending at the time the child entered foster care or changed foster homes.
The Administration for Children’s Services and the foster care agency decide whether it is in the child’s best interest to remain in the school of origin or change schools. They must consult with the child, the child’s parent, the child’s school, and other parties that may have relevant information. They must consider many factors, including:
The cost of transportation may NOT be considered when making the best interest decision.
If you disagree with the best interest determination about whether a child in foster care should change schools, contact the child’s attorney. The child’s attorney may be able to challenge the best interest determination in Family Court.
If it is in a child’s best interest to change schools, then the child has the right to enroll immediately in any school that serves the area where the new foster home is located. Information about enrollment is available here.
If a child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that provides for bus service because of the child’s disability, the child will continue to get bus service from the Department of Education. The foster care agency should provide the school with the address of the new foster home and ask that the child be placed on a new bus route. Otherwise, if the child is in grades K-6, the foster care agency should fill out an Emergency Evaluation Request for busing and submit it to the Department of Education’s Office of Pupil Transportation. The DOE will provide bus service if the child can easily be added to an existing bus route. If there is no route available, the DOE will provide a Metrocard to the student. If public transportation is not an adequate option for the student, then the foster care agency must develop an alternate transportation plan. The transportation plan might include car service, ACS van service, or mileage reimbursement to the foster parent.
The information in this document has been prepared by The Legal Aid Society for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon any information without retaining professional legal counsel.
Last Updated: 18 September 2019
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