<<Previous Page

Next Page>>

15000 Education for Children

CPS April 2016

Education contributes to the overall well-being of a child emotionally and socially as well as academically. Positive school experiences can help children overcome some of the effects of abuse and neglect and offer children real hope in successfully transitioning to adulthood.

DFPS is committed to ensuring children in care receive the best educational services and programs to meet their needs.

15100 The Role of DFPS in Ensuring Education Stability and Success

CPS April 2016

Federal law requires DFPS to have a plan to ensure educational stability for a child in substitute care. A child’s initial placement into substitute care, and any subsequent placement changes, must take into account the appropriateness of the child’s educational setting and the proximity to the school the child is enrolled in at the time of the placement or placement change. DFPS must coordinate with local schools and school districts to ensure that the child remains in the same school the child was attending at the time of the initial placement or any subsequent placement change, unless it is not in the child’s best interests to remain in that school.

Fostering Connections 42 U.S.C. 675

If the child must change schools, the child must be enrolled within two days in an appropriate school in the same school district, if possible, or in the school most able to meet the child’s needs.

If the child changes schools, DFPS ensures all of the child’s records are provided to the new school within 30 days.

Texas Education Code §25.002(g)

State law supports education stability by allowing a child or youth enrolled in primary or secondary public school and placed outside the school attendance zone or outside the school district to continue to attend the school the child was enrolled in at the time of the original placement, or any subsequent placements, unless it is not in the child’s best interest to remain in the same school. The student may attend the school without payment of tuition until he or she completes the highest grade offered at the school at the time of the student’s enrollment. The student is entitled to continue to attend the school regardless of whether the student remains in the conservatorship of the department for the duration of the student’s enrollment in the school.

Texas Education Code §25.001(g) and (g-1)

15110 The Role of the Caseworker in Ensuring Education Stability

CPS April 2016

The caseworker is responsible for securing appropriate educational and other services for children in substitute care, taking into account the child’s interests, strengths, and needs. The caseworker must coordinate significant educational decisions with:

  •  the education decision-maker (see 15370 Education Decision Making);

  •  the caregiver (if different from the education decision-maker);

  •  the child or youth; and

  •  other persons involved with the child, such as a surrogate parent if the child is eligible for special education services.

Ensuring Educational Stability

In order to promote education success and stability, DFPS caseworkers must:

  •  ensure the child continues to attend the same school the child attended before entering DFPS conservatorship, even if the student is outside the attendance zone or changes placement while in DFPS conservatorship, unless it is not in the child’s best interests to remain in the same school;

  •  ensure the caregiver enrolls students in school within two days after placement, if the child cannot remain in the same school;

  •  ensure the caregiver provides the official withdrawal documentation from the school the child was attending to the new school the child is enrolling in;

  •  ensure the caregiver completes and signs the school-provided form to “opt out” of corporal punishment for a child or youth in conservatorship. If the school does not provide a form, the caregiver provides the school with a written and signed document to “opt out” of the school using corporal punishment for a child or youth in conservatorship;

  •  provide the caregiver with the appropriate version of Form 2085 Placement Authorization and Form 2085E Designation of Education Decision-Maker to give to the child’s school at initial enrollment, for any subsequent school placement changes, and annually;

  •  create an education portfolio and provide it to the caregiver;

  •  ensure the education portfolio is updated regularly;

  •  review and update the child’s Education Portfolio regularly, and enter current education information into IMPACT;

  •  file Form 2085E Designation of Education Decision-Maker with the appropriate court within five days after the initial adversary hearing;

  •  update the court in the next permanency progress report if there are any later changes to the Education Decision-Maker or Surrogate Parent;

  •  ensure the caregiver, the educational decision maker (if different than the caregiver), and the school receive updated copies of the Education Decision Maker form immediately (but no later than five days) if there are any changes  in the Education Decision-Maker or Surrogate Parent, including if a Surrogate Parent is appointed for the first time;

  •  ensure school records from the child’s previous schools have been requested through the school district;

  •  schedule a child’s appointments whenever possible after school, during the evening, or on the weekend so as not to interfere with school instructional time. If an appointment must be scheduled during the school day, select times which will be the least disruptive for the student, and avoid having the student always miss the same period or class repeatedly. Generally, students do not return to class after a mental health or therapy session;

  •  provide an excuse note for the caregiver to give to the school for any court-ordered or case plan related reasons if a child has to miss school; and

  •  consult with the school’s district foster care liaison and the regional education specialist when necessary.

In order to promote education success and stability for a student with a disability, the caseworker must also:

  •  ensure the educational needs and goals for the student are met, including:

  •  ensuring an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed,

  •  securing appropriate special education and other services as determined by an Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee, and

  •  ensuring any accommodations for the student  required under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are implemented;

  •  consult with the regional education specialist for education-related concerns or issues, upcoming ARDs, or Manifestation Review Hearings;

  •  participate or arrange DFPS representation in the student’s ARD committee meetings, as necessary; and

  •  attend or arrange DFPS representation for a child or youth’s Manifestation Review Hearing (held to determine whether a child’s actions are a manifestation of his or her disability), if any are held.

15111 When a Child is in Parental Child Safety Placement (PCSP) or an Emergency Shelter

CPS April 2016

If the child is in a Parental Child Safety Placement (PSCP) or an Emergency Shelter, the child may be eligible for services under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act.

For more information about the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act, see the Education for Children Resource Guide.

The caseworker must instruct the caregiver to contact the school district McKinney Vento Liaison for available services.

15200 School Options for Children

CPS April 2016

In general, an accredited public school is the most appropriate education placement for a child in DFPS conservatorship. Public schools offer standard curriculum, special education and other services to meet the needs of most students, and offer a range of courses and extracurricular activities a private school may not have. Children in DFPS conservatorship must attend a public early childhood education program, pre-kindergarten program, public (including charter) school or be educated in a home setting unless an exception is granted.

Children with disabilities must be educated in the least restrictive environment.

15210 Early Childhood Education Programs for Children

15211 Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) From Birth to Age 3

CPS April 2016

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) is a statewide program that provides services to families with a child with disabilities or developmental delays, from birth to age 3.

15211.1 Referrals to Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)

CPS April 2016

See Early Childhood Intervention Services (on the DARS website) for information.

A child must be referred to ECI if a caseworker, a family member, or a caregiver suspects that a child under 3 years of age:

  •  has a disability;

  •  has a developmental delay; or

  •  shows signs of being affected by illegal substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure.

Time frames for referring a child under 3 years of age to ECI vary according to the stage of service of the child’s case in IMPACT.

However, if the caseworker suspects a developmental delay or disability, the child must be referred within two days regardless of the stage of service.

Time Frame for Referral at the Alternative Response (AR) Stage

If the caseworker suspects the child has a disability or developmental delay during the course of AR, the caseworker must refer the child to ECI within two business days of identifying the need.

Time Frame for Referral at the Investigations Stage

If the caseworker suspects the child has a disability or developmental delay during the course of the investigation, the caseworker must refer the child to ECI within two business days of identifying the need.

Time Frame for Referral at the Family Based Safety Services (FBSS) Stage

Within ten business days of the case being transferred to the FBSS unit with a finding of Abuse or neglect substantiated (Reason to Believe), the FBSS caseworker must refer all designated victims under 3 years of age to ECI for screening.

If the FBSS caseworker or family suspects a child who is not a designated victim has a disability or developmental delay during the course of the FBSS case, the child must be referred to ECI within two days of identifying the need.

Exception: If the Investigation worker has referred the child to ECI during the Investigations stage, do not refer the child again to ECI, to avoid duplicate referrals.

Time Frame for Referral at the Conservatorship Stage

If a child under age 3 is in CPS conservatorship and is eligible for STAR Health, the caseworker does not make a referral to ECI until the child has had a screening with a STAR Health provider. The STAR Health provider will refer the child to ECI if applicable.

When Immediate Intervention Is Necessary at the Conservatorship Stage

If the caseworker suspects the child has a disability or developmental delay and the child’s condition requires intervention before the child’s initial or next Texas Health Steps exam, the caseworker must:

1.   consult with the supervisor; and

2.   refer the child to ECI within two business days of identifying the need.

Procedure for Making a Referral

The caseworker must complete Form 0789 CPS Referral to ECI and send the completed form to the local ECI provider.

If a caseworker or family member refers a child to ECI, the caseworker must document the referral in the Services and Referrals page.

Subsequent Referrals

If a caseworker identifies additional needs in a child who has already been screened by ECI or has received ECI services, the caseworker must make a new referral to ECI for screening within two days of identifying the need.

Duplicate Referrals

To avoid making duplicate referrals of a child to ECI during the course of a case, caseworkers in subsequent stages of the case must check previous stage Services and Referrals pages to see if a child has already been referred to ECI before making a referral.

The caseworker must make a referral as required in the policy above if:

  •  a case is closed in which a referral of a child to ECI was made;

  •  the family is reported again for abuse or neglect; and

  •  it appears that the child still needs ECI services.

In this instance, the referral is not considered to be a duplicate referral.

15212 Enrollment for Children Ages 3, 4, and 5

CPS April 2016

Each child ages 3, 4, or 5 who is in DFPS conservatorship must receive early childhood education services through:

  •  a pre-kindergarten program offered through the public school;

  •  an early childhood education program offered through Head Start, if available in the local community of the caregiver; or

  •  a home environment.

If a program is not available in the local community or not appropriate for the child, the caregiver notifies the caseworker, who must document the information in the case file.

If the caregiver for a child between the ages of 3 and 5 wishes to enroll the child in a private early childhood education program or a pre-kindergarten program paid for by the caregiver, the caregiver must get approval from the child’s caseworker.

15212.1 Pre-Kindergarten Programs Offered Through the Public Schools

CPS April 2016

Children ages 3, 4, and 5 who are, or have ever been, in DFPS conservatorship as the result of an adversary hearing are eligible for enrollment in the free pre-kindergarten programs offered at local public schools.

Texas Education Code §29.153

For more information, see the Education for Children Resource Guide, under Pre-Kindergarten Programs Offered Through the Public Schools.

15212.2 Head Start Programs

CPS April 2016

When applying for Head Start for a child, the caregiver can present Form 2085 Placement Authorization to verify the child’s eligibility status. The caseworker provides the caregiver with Form 2085 when the child is placed with the caregiver.

If a Head Start or Early Head Start program is not available in the local community or not appropriate for the child, the caregiver notifies the caseworker, who must document the information in the case file.

For more information on Head Start, see the Education for Children Resource Guide, under Head Start.

15212.3 Pre-School Programs for Children With Disabilities (PPCD)

CPS April 2016

Children ages 3, 4, and 5 with disabilities may be eligible for the Pre-School Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) program offered through local public schools. The caregiver or caseworker must contact the special education director at the local public school for assessment and eligibility.

15220 Education in a Home Setting

CPS April 2016

Home Schooling During the Investigation and Family Based Safety Services (FBSS)

DFPS assesses reports involving the abuse or neglect of home-schooled children based on the same criteria and intake guidelines as any other CPS report. DFPS has no authority to direct parents of a child not in substitute care to enroll a child in public school. At no time shall a caseworker direct parents who homeschool their children to discontinue that practice.

Home Schooling During the Conservatorship (CVS) Stage

A caregiver is allowed to provide educational services in a home setting unless:

  •  a court order specifically does not allow the education of the child in a home setting; or

  •  the court finds, at a hearing, that education services delivered in the home setting is not in the best interest of the child because it does not meet the child’s academic and social needs and goals.

  •  DFPS determines that federal law requires another school setting.

Texas Family Code §263.0045

If the caregiver notifies the caseworker that the caregiver wants to educate the child in the home, the caseworker must consult the regional education specialist.

15221 Regional Education Specialist Review

CPS April 2016

If the caregiver wants to educate the child in the home, the regional education specialist must review the proposed home schooling program to determine whether

  •  it meets the child's academic and social needs and goals;

  •  it is consistent with the federal requirement that a child remain in the school the child was attending at the time of removal or placement change unless it is not in the child’s best interests to remain; and,

  •  for a child who receives special education services, whether the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) can be carried out in the home environment.

Review of the Proposed Home School Program

The regional education specialist must review the proposed home school program to determine if it meets the child’s academic and social needs and goals.

If the home school program meets the child’s academic and social needs and goals, the regional education specialist documents the decision to allow the schooling in the home environment and notify the caseworker.

If the proposed home school program does not meet the child’s academic and social needs, the regional education specialist notifies the CVS program director to direct the caseworker to request a court hearing to ask the court to issue findings that the child must be enrolled in the local public school.

Review of the Home School Environment and School Stability

The regional education specialist must review and determine whether education in the home environment is consistent with the federal requirement that a child remain in the school the child was attending at the time of removal or placement change unless it is not in the child’s best interests to remain.

If the regional education specialist determines that the school change would not meet federal requirements and be in the child’s best interests, the regional education specialist forwards the recommendation to the CVS program director for final decision. If the CVS program director agrees, the PD directs the caseworker to enroll the child in the school the child was attending at the time of removal.

Review of the Proposed Home School Program for a Child Receiving Special Education Services

The regional education specialist must review the proposed home school program for a child who receives special education services and determine whether the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) can be carried out in the home environment.

If the IEP cannot be carried out in the home environment, the regional education specialist forwards the recommendation for a school setting appropriate for the IEP to the regional CVS program director for a final decision. If the CVS program director agrees, the PD directs the caseworker to enroll the child in the local public school in order to implement the child’s IEP.

For more information, see the Education for Children Resource Guide, under Education in a Home Setting.

15230 Exceptions to Standard Schooling Options for Children and Youth Ages 5 Through 21

CPS April 2016

The caseworker must submit a written request for approval of an exception to attending a standard public school. See 15237 Requesting an Exception to Standard Schooling.

Enrollment for Children Ages 5 Through 21 Who Are in DFPS Conservatorship

All children who are in DFPS conservatorship, who are at least 5 years old and younger than 21 years old on the first day of September of any school year, must either:

  •  be enrolled in a public school (including an open enrollment charter school) that has been accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA); or

  •  be educated in a home setting.

See 15237 Requesting an Exception to Standard Schooling.

15231 Choosing a Public School or Residential Treatment Center (RTC) Program

CPS April 2016

Children living in a residential treatment center (RTC) may attend the school on the RTC campus if the school meets the child's needs and is the least restrictive educational setting. Children living in an RTC may also enroll in local public schools if it is in the child's best interest and meets the child’s needs.

15232 Private School or Boarding School

CPS April 2016

The caseworker must request a written Exception to Standard Schooling if the caregiver asks to enroll the child in a private school or boarding school. See 15237 Requesting an Exception to Standard Schooling, and the Education for Children Resource Guide, under Private School or Boarding School.

If the caregiver has assumed tuition payments for a child attending a private school, and the placement is disrupted, the caseworker must make arrangements with the caregiver to continue tuition payments until a semester break. This allows the child to meet course requirements for high school graduation or progress to the next grade.

15233 General Education Development (GED)

CPS April 2016

The requirement for students ages 16 and 17 to attend school and secure a high school diploma through course completion and graduation from a local public school may be waived and the student may be allowed to pursue and earn high school completion through a GED test.

To request an exception to the requirement for standard schooling to allow the youth to complete a GED, the caseworker follows procedures in 15237 Requesting an Exception to Standard Schooling.

15234 Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) and Virtual Schools

CPS April 2016

The caseworker must request a written Exception to Standard Schooling if the caregiver asks to enroll the child in a full-time online school program. See 15237 Requesting an Exception to Standard Schooling, and the Education for Children Resource Guide, under Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) and Virtual Schools.

15235 Education Services for Children in Nursing Homes or Hospitals, or Who Are Homebound

CPS April 2016

If a child’s physician and the school’s Admissions, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee agree that the child is too medically fragile to attend school, the caseworker must contact the regional education specialist to arrange for the school to provide education services for the child in the hospital, nursing home setting, or at home.

See the Education for Children Resource Guide, under Education Services for Children in Nursing Homes or Hospitals, or Who Are Homebound.

15236 Education Services for School-Age Children Who Are Placed Out-of-State

CPS April 2016

School-age children in DFPS conservatorship who are placed outside of Texas must:

  •  attend an educational program accredited by the education agency for the state in which the child is placed; or

  •  be approved as an exception under 15230 Exceptions to Standard Schooling Options for Children and Youth Ages 5 Through 21; or

  •  be educated in a home setting (see 15220 Education in a Home Setting).

15236.1 Paying Out-of-State Tuition

CPS April 2016

Some states allow local school districts or cities to charge tuition for non-residents. When the issue of paying out-of-state tuition arises, the caseworker must contact the regional education specialist. The regional education specialist must contact DFPS Legal for assistance with Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) contracts.

15237 Requesting an Exception to Standard Schooling

CPS April 2016

The caseworker, with the supervisor’s approval, must submit the request for an exception to public school enrollment to the regional education specialist in memorandum format. The request may be sent electronically.

The memorandum must contain:

  •  the child's name and age, address, and last school attended;

  •  a summary of the child’s education background, including the child's specific diagnosis or educational needs;

  •  a brief commentary on why this educational setting is more appropriate or better meets the child’s educational needs than enrollment in a public school;

  •  a description of the alternative school setting or program, including the curriculum, program accreditation, and the qualifications and training of the person or persons providing or monitoring the education services;

  •  special education services and accommodations that may be necessary to meet the child’s educational needs;

  •  a statement of how the child’s academic progress will be measured; and

  •  a statement of how the child will transition to a more appropriate school setting to meet his or her education needs if the placement is disrupted or the child fails to make academic progress.

If the regional education specialist approves the exception, the caseworker must:

  •  document the decision and any recommendations in IMPACT;

  •  maintain the school records;

  •  report progress in the child’s case file;

  •  record academic progress in IMPACT; and

  •  provide a copy of all records required for the child’s Education Portfolio in the same manner as a child attending standard schooling.

If the regional education specialist denies the request, the caseworker, the supervisor, and the regional education specialist must consult with the regional conservatorship (CVS) program director for a final decision.

15300 Enrollment, Records Transfer, and Withdrawal for Children Changing Schools

CPS April 2016

A child placed in foster care by an agency of the state or by a political subdivision may attend the public schools in the district in which the foster parents reside free of any charge to the foster parents or the agency. A residence requirement may not be used to prohibit a child from fully participating in any activity sponsored by the school district.

Texas Education Code §25.001(f)

15310 Time Frame for Completing the Child’s Enrollment

CPS April 2016

If it is not in the child’s best interest to stay in the same school after initial removal or a subsequent change in placement, a child in substitute care must be enrolled in a new school within two days of the removal or placement change.

The caseworker must:

  •  ensure that the child is enrolled in an appropriate TEA-accredited public school or receives education services in a home setting with academic programs to meet the child’s educational needs; and

  •  decide what school the child will attend that best meets the child’s educational needs and goals and that follows federal and state laws and requirements.

The caseworker may contact the school district foster care liaison and the regional education specialist to address barriers to immediate student enrollment, including, but not limited to:

  •  transportation issues;

  •  securing required documents;

  •  transfer of school records;

  •  immunizations; and

  •  designation of an education-decision-maker.

15320 A Child’s Temporary Absence From School

CPS April 2016

If a child has a temporary physical or mental condition that makes the child’s attendance in school impractical, the caseworker must notify the school in writing that the child is unable to attend school.

If the child’s physical or mental condition improves so that the child can attend school, the caseworker must ensure that the child immediately returns to school.

Texas Family Code §264.115

The caseworker must consult with the CPS regional education specialist to determine the most appropriate education services for the child during the temporary leave from school and upon the child’s return to school.

See also 4114 Required Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Child’s Possible Placement.

15330 Immunization Requirements

CPS April 2016

If a child in DFPS conservatorship has not had the necessary immunizations, the child can be provisionally enrolled if the child has begun the required immunizations.

Texas Education Code §38.001(e)

The caseworker must request that the healthcare provider or clinic check the state immunization registry (IMMTRAC), developed by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), to determine whether an immunization record for the child is on file.

If there is no immunization record for the child, the caseworker or caregiver must take the child to the healthcare provider or clinic to begin immunizations.

The caseworker must:

  •  provide the school with documentation that the immunizations have begun; or

  •  submit the immunization record to the school within 30 days.

The only exemptions from the immunization requirement are:

  •  documented medical grounds;

  •  reasons of conscience; or

  •  a parent’s active military status.

15340 Documents Required for Enrollment

CPS April 2016

In most cases, the caregiver enrolls the child in school and provides the school with the following documentation:

  •  the identity of the parent, legal guardian or legal authority (Form 2085 DFPS Placement Authorization establishes the identity of the person having legal authority to enroll the child in school, and Form 2085E Designation of Education Decision-Maker establishes the child’s education decision-maker);

  •  proof of the caregiver’s residence;

  •  proof of the child’s identity (the child’s birth certificate or another acceptable document);

  •  the child’s immunization records (see 15330 Immunization Requirements); and

  •  a copy of the child’s records from the school the child most recently attended, if the child has been previously enrolled in school.

All required school-related documents and records must be submitted to the school within 30 days of the child’s enrollment.

Texas Education Code §25.002(g)

15341 Court Order

CPS April 2016

In addition to the appropriate Placement Authorization form, some school districts also require a court order to enroll the child. In that case the caseworker must de-identify information not required for school enrollment.

15342 Education Decision-Maker Form

CPS April 2016

The Designation of Education Decision-Maker (Form 2085E) provides the school with contact information for the person who is responsible for making education-related decisions for the child, such as granting permission for the student to attend a school event, participating in teacher conferences, and assisting the student in selecting coursework.

See 15371 Designating an Education Decision-Maker.

15350 Requesting Transfer of School Records

CPS April 2016

Each school district in Texas has named a foster care school liaison to assist in enrolling and transferring records of students in foster care. See the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website for more information.

Caregivers or caseworkers must provide written requests to the school registrar to transfer records to another school. The school district has 10 working days to transfer records from the child’s previous school to the requesting school. School districts use a protected computer transfer system known as TREx to transfer school records between schools.

If a child in DFPS conservatorship transfers to a new school, the caregiver provides both the new and the previous school with the other school’s contact information, to facilitate prompt transfer of the child’s education records. The caseworker must ensure the new school has the withdrawal documentation from the previous school so that the child is given the correct classes and appropriate services.

15360 Withdrawing a Student from School

CPS April 2016

The caseworker must ensure the caregiver provides the school registrar with a written request to withdraw from the school and provide school records.

See the Education for Children Resource Guide, under Withdrawing a Student From School.

15370 Education Decision Making

15371 Designating an Education Decision-Maker

CPS April 2016

When the court appoints DFPS as a child’s managing conservator the court gives DFPS the authority to make education decisions for a child in conservatorship. DFPS designates an individual to make the day-to-day educational decisions for a child in conservatorship. State law requires that DFPS provide that individual’s name to the court and the child’s school.

Texas Family Code §263.004

An education decision-maker must be named for every child attending an education program, Pre-K through grade 12, including a child in a non-standard school environment.

The caseworker must consider who can best represent the child’s interests and educational needs and designate that person as the education decision-maker on Form 2085E Designation of Education Decision-Maker.

15371.1 Designating an Education Decision Maker at Initial Placement

CPS April 2016

At the time of placement, the caseworker must:

  •  complete Form 2085E Designation of Education Decision-Maker;

  •  give the caregiver a copy of the form;

  •  ensure that the caregiver provides a copy of the form to the school;

  •  file the form with the court within five days following the Adversary Hearing; and

  •  place a copy of the form in the child’s case file and Education Portfolio.

15371.2 Designating Changes to the Education Decision Maker

CPS April 2016

The caseworker must complete or update Form 2085E Designation of the Education Decision-Maker with current information when:

  •  a new person is designated as the person who can make educational decisions for the child;

  •  a new person is designated as the surrogate parent; or

  •  a surrogate parent is appointed for the first time.

The caseworker must inform the court of changes in the education decision-maker or surrogate parent, if applicable, in the next permanency progress report.

The caseworker must ensure the updated Form 2085E is provided to the school immediately, but no later than the fifth day after the person is designated.

See 15342 Education Decision-Maker Form.

15372 Surrogate Parents for Children With Disabilities

CPS April 2016

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires state and local education agencies to involve parents in decisions about their child’s special education needs. For a child in foster care, the school (or more rarely the court) will appoint a person to act as surrogate parent for a child or youth receiving special education services. Texas law indicates that the foster parent is the preferred surrogate parent, but the surrogate parent may also be a relative, the child’s CASA, a retired member of the school community, or any other qualified person.

Employees of a state, local or any other public agency that is involved in the education or care of the child in conservatorship may not serve as a surrogate parent for a child in conservatorship.

If a surrogate is appointed, the caseworker must include this information in Form 2085E Designation of Education Decision-Maker and file the form with the court no later than five days after the Adversary Hearing.

See the Education for Children Resource Guide, under Surrogate Parents for Children With Disabilities.

15373 Required Notification of School-Related Information

CPS April 2016

The caseworker has certain rights to access the child’s education records and receive notifications of certain events. For a list of these rights, see the Education for Children Resource Guide, under Required Notification of School-Related Information.

Notifications the Caseworker Must Make

The caseworker must:

  •  inform the child’s attorney ad litem, CASA volunteer, caregiver, and education decision-maker of any notification from the school regarding:

  •  the child’s disciplinary hearings,

  •  manifestation determination reviews,

  •  use of physical restraint and/or seclusion,

  •  truancy,

  •  suspension,

  •  expulsion, or

  •  removal to a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP), or Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP);

  •  inform the education decision-maker, the caregiver, or the surrogate parent, as applicable, of any education-related activities which involve Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and/or special education Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee meetings, if known;

  •  provide the court with updated information at the next permanency hearing if there are changes in the education decision-maker or surrogate parent;

  •  ensure the school has been provided with the name and contact information of the education decision-maker and surrogate parent, if applicable;

  •  ensure the caregiver signs the annual directive to the school prohibiting the use of corporal (physical) punishment for the child in foster care and submits it to the school;

  •  update the Education Portfolio; and

  •  withdraw the student from school if the child is moving out of kinship or changing placement.

Caseworker Who Is Also the Education Decision Maker

A caseworker named as the education decision-maker must also perform all of the responsibilities listed in the Education for Children Resource Guide under Rights and Responsibilities of the Education Decision-Maker.

Notifications the School Must Make

The school is responsible for notifying the child’s educational decision-maker and caseworker of events that may significantly impact the education of the child.

For more information, see the Education for Children Resource Guide under Rights and Responsibilities of the School.

15373.1 Confidentiality

CPS April 2016

Both the caseworker and caregiver share responsibility for maintaining the confidentiality of the child’s information. For guidelines, see the Education for Children Resource Guide under Maintaining Confidentiality for Children and Youth While Enrolled in School.

The caseworker must never disclose the names of the perpetrators or the roles of the family members in the abuse and neglect history.

The caseworker must NEVER share:

  •  abuse or neglect history, unless directly related to the child’s education needs;

  •  the fact that the child was adopted;

  •  the name of the person who reported the abuse or neglect,

  •  CPS investigation details; or

  •  biological or foster family income.

15380 Education Records

15381 Creating a Child’s Educational Record

CPS April 2016

When a school-aged child is removed from his or her home of origin and DFPS is granted conservatorship, the caseworker must begin collecting education-related documents about the child.

All education documents for the child collected while the child is in conservatorship become a part of the child’s education records in the case file. Most of the education records are also included in a child’s Education Portfolio.

15382 Education-Related Documents Required for the Child’s Case File

CPS April 2016

The following information must be included in the child’s education record in the case file:

  •  education-related documentation entered into the IMPACT system;

  •  education components of the child’s service plan; and

  •  the child’s Education Portfolio.

The caseworker must keep the child’s education record up-to-date. At least quarterly, the caseworker must make copies of new documentation from the Education Portfolio and place the copies in the child’s case file.

15400 The Education Portfolio

CPS April 2016

When a school-age child (pre-kindergarten to grade 12) is removed from his or her home of origin and DFPS is granted conservatorship, the caseworker must create a hard copy record containing all the key education documents regarding the child. The caseworker must maintain these documents while the child is in conservatorship.

For general information on the Education Portfolio, see the Education for Children Resource Guide under The Education Portfolio.

15410 Education-Related Documents Required for the Education Portfolio

CPS April 2016

While the Education Portfolio may not include all documents in the child’s education record in the case file, all documents in the Education Portfolio must also be included in the case file.

The caseworker must gather the following education-related documents and include them in the child’s Education Portfolio.

Documents Required for All Children

All children’s Education Portfolios must contain:

  •  Placement Authorization Form 2085;

  •  Form 2085E Designation of Education Decision-Maker;

  •  Birth Certificate;

  •  Immunization Records;

  •  School records, transcripts, progress notes, and report cards;

  •  Personal Graduation Plans;

  •  Standardized education assessments;

  •  School Correspondence;

  •  School pictures and school work;

  •  Certificates, Awards, Letters of Achievement; and

  •  Withdrawal Notice from Previous School.

Additional Documents Required for Children Receiving Special Education Services

For children receiving special education services under IDEA or accommodations under Section 504 for a disability that affects the child’s learning, the caseworker must also include the following documents in the Education Portfolio and the child’s case file:

  •  referrals for a special education assessment or evaluation;

  •  Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee meeting notices and notes or minutes from those meetings;

  •  the Full Individual Evaluations (FIE), or other educational assessments and evaluations completed by the school district;

  •  the child’s individualized education program or plan;

  •  the Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)

  •  documentation of accommodation provided under Section 504; and

  •  the Individual Transition Plan for youth 14 and older.

15420 The Role of the Caseworker in Creating, Delivering, and Maintaining the Education Portfolio

15421 The Role of the Caseworker in Creating the Education Portfolio

CPS April 2016

The caseworker must:

  •  create an Education Portfolio at the time of the child’s removal for all children ages 3 – 21, including children:

  •  attending public school pre-kindergarten programs, and

  •  receiving education services in a home setting, online school, hospital, or nursing home;

  •  gather the child’s appropriate education records, records (see 15410 Education-Related Documents Required for the Education Portfolio); and

  •  include in the Education Portfolio copies of:

  •  Form 2085 Placement Authorization; and

  •  Form 2085E Designation of Education Decision-Maker and Surrogate Parent, if applicable.

The caregiver also has responsibilities for maintaining the Education Portfolio. For a description of the caregiver’s responsibilities, see the Education for Children Resource Guide under The Role of the Caregiver in Maintaining the Education Portfolio.

15422 Time Frames for Delivering the Education Portfolio

CPS April 2016

The removal or conservatorship caseworker must deliver the child’s Education Portfolio to the caregiver according to the time frames below.

  •  For a child coming into conservatorship, the removal caseworker must deliver the Education Portfolio to the child’s caregivers at the time of placement.

  •  For a child who turns 3 years of age while in DFPS conservatorship, the conservatorship caseworker must deliver the Education Portfolio to the child’s caregivers within five working days of the child’s birthday.

  •  For a school-age child, pre-kindergarten through grade 12 who is in DFPS conservatorship and is changing placements, the conservatorship caseworker must deliver the Education Portfolio at the time of the child’s placement.

  •  For a school-age child, pre-kindergarten through grade 12 who is in DFPS conservatorship and is subject to an emergency change in placement for health and safety reasons, the conservatorship caseworker must deliver the child’s Education Portfolio to the new placement within two working days.

15423 Delivering the Education Portfolio at Discharge from Conservatorship

CPS April 2016

When a child with an Education Portfolio is being discharged from DFPS conservatorship and the case is being closed, the caseworker must:

  •  review the Education Portfolio to be sure that it is complete; and

  •  give the Education Portfolio to the child’s parent or managing conservator, or give it to the child, if the child is aging out of conservatorship.

15500 Discipline of Children in DFPS Conservatorship in the Schools

15510 Requirement to Opt Out of Corporal Punishment

CPS April 2016

DFPS policy prohibits corporal punishment from being used on a child in DFPS conservatorship. The caseworker directs the child’s caregiver or education decision-maker to submit the written, signed statement prohibiting the use of corporal punishment as a method of student discipline to the school district in the manner prescribed by the district’s policies. The written statement must be submitted at the beginning of each school year and at the time of any change in school placement.

Behavior Management in Schools

If a child in DFPS conservatorship is having behavior issues in school, the caseworker must:

  •  consult with the regional education specialist for guidance;

  •  consult with the child’s therapist, if appropriate;

  •  meet with relevant school personnel to develop a behavior intervention strategy for the child; and

  •  propose alternate sanctions or strategies for dealing with a child’s behavior.

If the child’s inappropriate behavior continues, or the school is suggesting physical discipline, the caseworker must contact:

  •  the regional education specialist;

  •  the school district’s school administration staff (principal or superintendent);

  •  the education decision-maker; and

  •  the caregiver.

15520 Discipline Strategies and Restrictions for Children With Disabilities Who Are, Or May Be, Eligible for Special Education Services

CPS April 2016

State laws sharply restrict the use of confinement, restraints, seclusion, and time-outs for children with disabilities. If a child’s behavior is problematic in a school setting, the caseworker refers to the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) for examples of the positive interventions and strategies to be used. See Texas Education Code §37.0021 Use of Confinement, Restraint, Seclusion, and Time-Out.

If the possibility of referring the child for special education services has been raised, or if the child’s school performance suggests special education services may be appropriate, the caseworker must contact the regional education specialist to discuss making a referral.

If there are concerns regarding the use of restraints, seclusion, or time-outs while the child is in an educational setting, the caseworker must:

  •  summarize the facts;

  •  consult with the DFPS supervisor; and

  •  consult with the regional education specialist, regional attorney, or attorney ad litem.

Also see the Education for Children Resource Guide under Discipline Strategies and Restrictions for Children With Disabilities Who Are, Or May Be, Eligible for Special Education Services.

15600 Education Resources

15610 Role and Responsibilities of the Regional Education Specialist

CPS April 2016

The regional education specialist provides assistance and support to DFPS staff. The regional education specialist must:

  •  provide advice to internal and external stakeholders on resources to improve the educational outcome for children and youth in DFPS conservatorship;

  •  provide additional training to enable staff members to represent a child’s best interest in an education setting;

  •  identify and provide information on educational services or resources in the region;

  •  help identify resources for specialized placement that meet the child’s educational needs;

  •  participate and provide information in case planning, transition planning, and permanency roundtable meetings to identify specific educational needs and services, as needed;

  •  attend as many Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meetings as possible for children and youth in DFPS conservatorship, and all meetings that the caseworker is unable to attend;

  •  act as a liaison with staff from Texas Education Agency (TEA), the independent school districts (ISDs), school district foster care liaisons, Education Service Centers (ESC), and other program specialists with the DFPS state office;

  •  help caseworkers resolve education issues with schools and providers, acting as a liaison with staff from DFPS’s Legal Division, as needed;

  •  develop training curriculum and train CPS staff and foster parents;

  •  prepare and present training to internal and external stakeholders on education-related topics;

  •  develop and coordinate regularly scheduled regional consortiums with internal and external stakeholders to address education-related issues and concerns;

  •  provide regularly scheduled training and certification for interested stakeholders appointed as surrogate parents;

  •  work with regional DFPS staff to ensure that children in the conservatorship of DFPS receive appropriate educational services and that each child’s case record includes a copy of the necessary education records; and

  •  help coordinators associated with the Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) program develop transition plans for youth who are aging out of DFPS conservatorship.

See 10200 Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) and its subitems.

Additional resources are available to caseworkers, caregivers and students. See the Education for Children Resource Guide under Education Resources.

15700 School Services for Children With Disabilities

15710 The Role of the School in Serving Children With Disabilities

CPS April 2016

Children with disabilities often face unique barriers to education. Federal and state law requires public schools to have programs to meet the needs of students with disabilities.

For information on the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA) and how it affects education for children with disabilities, see the Education for Children Resource Guide under School Services for Children with Disabilities.

15720 Referring a Child for a Special Education Assessment and Evaluation

CPS April 2016

A child should be referred for a special education evaluation if the child’s school performance or behavior indicates the child might have a disability and could be eligible for special education services. A referral for a full and individual initial evaluation may be initiated by school personnel, the student’s parents or legal guardian, or another person involved in the education or care of the student. The caseworker should ensure that consent is granted for the evaluation if the school requests the consent of the caseworker, education decision-maker, or caregiver.

Texas Education Code §29.004(c)

The IDEA requires schools to provide services for children with certain disabilities. For a representative list, see the Education for Children Resource Guide under Conditions That Make a Child Eligible for Special Education Services.

15721 Obtaining Consent for Testing

CPS April 2016

The school is responsible for obtaining consent for a child to undergo psychological or educational assessment, or both, by a school diagnostician or a school psychologist. Such an assessment may qualify the child to be eligible for special education services.

The foster or surrogate parent will generally be asked to consent to testing. If the child has never been eligible for special education services and therefore has no surrogate parent appointed the school may ask DFPS to consent to initial testing. The worker is allowed to consent to the initial testing.

Providing the Child’s Previous Assessments

Before the assessment is conducted the caseworker must provide a copy of the child’s most recent psychological evaluation to the school diagnostician or school psychologist, with all confidential information removed. This is done to assist in or alleviate the need for further testing.

Confidential Information

CPS staff reviews and removes any confidential information in psychological evaluations and other diagnostic assessments that is not relevant to meeting the child’s educational needs before DFPS provides the report to the school. The caseworker must consult with the regional education specialist if there is a question about the relevance of certain information to the child’s educational needs.

After the Assessment

After the assessment is completed, the caseworker must obtain a copy of the child’s Full Individual Evaluation (FIE) or the school’s psychological report on the child. The caseworker must keep a copy of the report in the student’s case record. Document the report in IMPACT. See 15410 Education-Related Documents Required for the Education Portfolio.

The caseworker must consult with the supervisor, the regional education specialist, the child’s physician, or other healthcare professionals about any subsequent recommendations that are made.

15722 Denial of Services and Due Process

CPS April 2016

If a school district denies a request from a foster parent or surrogate parent to meet with the ARD Committee to discuss special education services for a child, or if the district changes a child’s education program without first consulting with the ARD Committee, the caseworker must:

  •  submit a written request for services to the school district’s special education director or request an independent evaluation, or both; and

  •  confer with interested parties, such as the:

  •  child’s guardian;

  •  child’s attorney ad litem;

  •  child’s surrogate parent;

  •  DFPS regional attorney;

  •  DFPS Regional Education Specialist; and

  •  DFPS state office.

<<Previous Page

Next Page>>