Is a child’s education rights holder required to participate in a Child and Family Team (CFT)?
It depends. The child’s caregiver and biological parents are required participants, and in many cases, one of those two parties is the child’s education rights holder. If the education rights holder is someone other than the caregiver or a biological parent, the education rights holder is not a required participant in the CFT. However, the CFT may not make any education decisions with regard to the child unless the education rights holder is present.For this reason, the education rights holder should always be included in a CFT meeting where education issues are discussed.
As a best practice, education rights holders should be invited to participate in all CFT meetings as many of the issues discussed in a CFT can substantially impact a youth’s ability to succeed in school. For example, if a placement change is being discussed, the education rights holder is essential and can speak to issues of school stability.
CFT participants should always discuss whether the child (regardless of age, from birth to age 18) has an appropriate and engaged education rights holder. A child’s social worker has a legal duty to ensure that a child has an appropriate education rights holder at every court hearing. The CFT is a place to raise this issue and hear the youth and others about whether the current education rights is sufficiently engaged, or whether a new education rights holder should be appointed at the next court hearing.