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Foster Care

Students in Foster Care

Per the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, State educational agencies’ (SEAs’) hold specific responsibilities aimed at supporting the educational rights and opportunities of students in Foster Care; this also falls within requirements established under Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). These rights include access to immediate enrollment in schools regardless of access to records or additional requirements, free transportation to and from school, access to free meals services, and support engaging in academically and socially enriching activities offered by their school district.

Within this context, Foster Care is defined as substitute care for children placed by the Department of Human Services or a tribal child welfare agency away from their parents and for whom the department or agency has placement and care responsibility, including placements in foster family homes, foster homes of relatives, group homes, emergency shelters, residential facilities, child care institutions and pre-adoptive homes. 

Each school district must also have a designated liaison tasked with overseeing the coordination and application of these supports. This is done through collaboration with caseworkers and other human services representatives, training staff within their district on the unique needs of students in Foster Care, and engaging with community organizations and agencies to ensure that students and families are receiving adequate services under ESSA/ESEA.

Foster Care School District Points of Contact List

To update your district's Foster Care Point of Contact or Foster Care Transportation Administrative Contact, please revise the Contacts Section of your district's 2023-2024 CIP Budget Narrative Application. CIP Budget Narrative can be accessed via the Central Login Application on the ODE District Website. For CIP Budget Narrative permissions please connect with your District Security Administrator (DSA).

Office Hours

Foster Care Point of Contacts are welcome to join us on the second Tuesday of every month. You can email our Foster Care inbox to receive the participation information. Two weeks after each Office Hours, we send a Newsletter that includes the slide deck and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). You can find historical Newsletters in the archive on our Key Messages page

Oregon Specific Resources

​Some foster students in the care and custody of DHS Child Welfare will need transportation to remain in their school district/school of origin. To facilitate transportation for these students, an LEA must collaborate with ODE to ensure that transportation for children in foster care is provided, arranged, and funded. An LEA must develop and implement clear written procedures governing how transportation will be provided to maintain foster care students in their school district/school of origin.

ORS 329.451 has been amended by the State Legislature in 2017 in such a way to allow students who have been in foster care, at some point during grades 9 to 12, to earn a high school diploma by meeting the high school diploma standards established by the State Legislature. In order to do this, the local school district must grant a waiver of diploma requirements established by the LEA board of education. In this situation, the definition of foster care student would include those students in DHS Child Welfare custody as well as those foster students placed in Development Disability foster home. These changes take place on 7/1/17.

Adolescents face a range of developmental issues, and as teens approach adulthood, living independently becomes a significant goal. While youth with intact families may struggle to achieve self-reliance, youth in foster care face formidable obstacles. The following resources provide information on helping teens in foster care transition to adulthood and live independently.

The DHS, Seniors and People with Disabilities offers 24-hour out of home services for children with developmental disabilities who can no longer continue to live in their family's home. These services are accessed through your local Community Developmental Disabilities Program (CDDP). The local CDDP determines an individual's eligibility. The various service sites are located in communities throughout the state and are operated under contracts with state or county government.

Certified and trained foster families assist children with their activities of daily living, providing supervision and guidance in a nurturing setting to maintain the child's health and safety while working to increase levels of self-confidence and independence. Foster providers support children in their school programs, in community activities, in adult transition planning and when it is a part of the child's individual plan, maintaining connection with the child's family. Each child in foster care has an Individual Support Plan (ISP) which is updated annually.

​Special Education staff within ODE has the primary responsibility for assuring that young children and students with disabilities receive an appropriate education program in the least restrictive environment. This happens through collaboration with families, districts, agencies, and programs to ensure quality services. Our website is a resource to parents, teachers and administrators and provides access to available information, documents and guidelines.​

Oregon Laws

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For additional information or inquiries, please contact the ODE Foster Care Inbox.