Does Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) in California change anything about the right of a student in foster care to remain in his or her school of origin?
No. CCR does not change the right of children in foster care to stay in their school of origin.
Students in foster care continue to demonstrate the poorest education outcomes in the state, compared to all other student demographics. This reality is deeply impacted by the fact that children in foster care in California move an average of eight times during school years, and one-third of all students in foster care change schools at least once each year—losing four to six months of learning with each transfer.
A child’s right to remain in their school of origin is intended to mitigate this issue. This right means that a child can continue to attend the same school, even if their home placement changes. They can also follow feeder patterns of their school of origin, and matriculate to the next level (elementary to middle, middle to high school) according to the pattern of their school of origin. A child may not transfer out of their school of origin following a home placement change unless the education rights holder (ERH) decides it is in the child’s best interest.
If a child’s dependency (foster care) case closes while they are in kindergarten through eighth grade, they may continue attending their school of origin for the remainder of the school year. If the case closes while they are in high school, they may continue attending their school of origin until they graduate.
The focus CCR places on communication between providers about the best interests of children in foster care complements the right to remain in school of origin. To protect this right and other education rights of children in foster care, the child’s Education Rights Holder should always be included in the child’s Child and Family Team (CFT). The CFT has the responsibility to make critical decisions about home placements and other issues that directly impact and are impacted by school of origin decisions.