Enrollment and Best Interest Decisions for Educational Stability

Schools and districts collaborate with custodial agencies (child welfare agencies and local Title IV-E courts) to prioritize educational stability for students living in foster care and in cases where it is in a student’s best interest to transfer schools, the student is enrolled without delay.  

Eligibility and Identification 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) contains key provisions to provide educational stability and success for students living in foster care. Foster care is defined as 24-hour substitute care for children placed away from their parents or guardians for whom the Title IV-E child welfare agency has placement and care responsibility. This includes, but is not limited to, placements in foster family homes, kinship care, group homes, emergency shelters, residential facilities, childcare institutions, and pre-adoptive homes. Districts can proactively work with local public children service agencies to identify students who may be eligible for foster care provisions and supports under the Every Student Succeeds Act.  

The local foster care education liaison may use tools and strategies listed below to support the identification of students in foster care:   

  • Provide the Foster Youth Bill of Rights to students in foster care and their educators.  
  • Collaborate with personnel that have direct contact with students to identify foster students. These personnel include: 
    • Teachers, 
    • Bus drivers, 
    • Guidance counselors, 
    • Sanitation workers, and 
    • Secretaries. 


If the outcome of a best interest determination is that a student should attend a new school as a result of being placed into foster care, federal law requires that student to be immediately enrolled. Ohio law requires that the new school request the student’s records within 24 hours. As best practice, the school of origin sends the requested student’s records within one school day. The custodial agency provides the new school with as much information as possible about the student (such as age, grade, and academic history) to ensure appropriate support and placement until the school receives relevant records from the school of origin. The new school will provide the student with appropriate credit for full or partial coursework satisfactorily completed while attending prior schools. 

​Related Resources 

Ohio Foster Care Checklist  

Engaging and Supporting Students in Foster Care 

Transportation of Students in Foster Care 

Last Modified: 6/17/2024 3:26:43 PM