Foster Care & Student Success - Laws and Guidance for students in Substitute Care


Texas Education Code

TEC § 25.002(g) – Immediate School Enrollment

TEC § 25.002(a-1) – Timely Records Transfer

TEC § 25.007 – Transition Assistance

TEC § 25.001(g) – Students grades 9-12 are entitled to finish high school where they were enrolled at the time of placement.

TEC § 29.081(d)(11) – Accelerated Instruction (at-risk indicators & compensatory education)

TEC § 29.153(b)(6) – Free eligibility for Pre-K

TEC § 33.904 – Designated district liaison(s)

TEC § 54.366 – Free college tuition & fee waiver (including dual credit or other course where high school students may earn college credit)

Texas Education Agency:  "To the Administrator Addressed" Letter: 

Re: Importance of Maintaining the Education Stability for Children and Youth in the Foster Care System, August 22, 2012 for more information.

Federal Law 

The federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, Public Law 110-351, requires state child welfare agencies to work with their state and local education systems to support initiatives to improve educational outcomes for children in foster care.  On August 25, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a joint letter to all Chief State School Officers and State Child Welfare Directors informing them of provisions in the federal law that require local education agencies and child welfare agencies to coordinate to ensure that children in foster care maintain "education stability."  

As outlined in the letter, the law specifically requires that at the time of a child's initial placement in foster care, the child welfare agency (DFPS) must coordinate with local education agencies to ensure that children remain in their current school (unless doing so poses a safety risk for the child or is otherwise not in the child's best interests), thereby keeping them connected with teachers, other family members including siblings, and friends, and helping them continue to progress in their school work.


The Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the confidentiality of a student’s education records. Recent amendments to the Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Uninterrupted Scholars Act, allows education agencies to release education records to child welfare case workers or other representatives of a state or local child welfare agency. School staff should follow FERPA regulations when releasing school-related records to persons other than the caregiver and DFPS staff (see first PDF link below). However, FERPA’s confidentiality protections should not be an obstacle to providing records and information for students in foster care (adapted from Baskin, Joy (2011) “Inquiry & Analysis, Legal Issues Related To The Educational Needs of Children in Foster Care.” Texas Association of School Board. Austin, TX.)

The Uninterrupted Scholars Act

The Uninterrupted Scholars Act: How Do Recent Changes To FERPA Help Child Welfare Agencies Get Access to School Records? - The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education FAQ

Amendment to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 to provide improvements - Uninterrupted Scholars Act   


Page last modified on 5/2/2013 03:07:26 PM.