Foster Care Services

Our Goals for Foster Students
Our primary goal is to provide the level of support necessary to promote successful outcomes in school for our students in foster care. We accomplish our goal by ensuring our foster students are:

  • entitled to remain in their same school when it is in their best interest, even when living outside the attendance zone (Click Here for more information)
  • transitioned between schools in a seamless manner
  • supported and advocated for as they participate in all aspects of schooling
  • provided the necessary supports to prevent dropout, truancy, and disciplinary issues
  • encouraged and supported as they seek to enter into and complete post-secondary coursework

About Our Foster Care Services
To support the academic success of approximately 1,200 school-aged children in the care of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the School Board established an Interagency Agreement with DCF in April 2011. ChildNet, Inc. is the lead agency for DCF in providing supervision for children in care. Children in care include those who reside:

  • in their own homes,
  • with a foster family,
  • in group home, and/or
  • at a child care institution.

One key communication tool that ChildNet provides to the School District for identifying children in care is the DCF School Registration Information Form - Salmon Form. This form identifies to schools, the authorized child welfare personnel supports the child in care.

Temporary Caregivers
Caregivers are appointed temporary custody while there is an open DCF case involving a parent. The caregiver is allowed to update SIS Contacts.  This caregiver is not authorized to sign any ESE documents. This child has a right to remain in home school for the remainder of the year, even if living outside the school attendance zone.

ChildNet, Inc. is the lead agency for DCF in providing supervision for children in care responsible for the initial placement of children when removed from their family. 

Childnet, Inc provides case management and family supervision when children and families are involved in the child welfare system.  Dependency Case Managers (DCM) serve as legal, temporary guardians when children are removed from their parent's custody. ChildNet employees are subcontracted by the Department of Children and Families, authorized by the courts to:

  • access school records
  • request SBT meetings
  • speak with teachers
  • update SIS Contacts
  • assist schools by verifying authorized persons to pick up children
  • authorized to pick up children

Keep this contact on SIS while there is an open DCF case. A Dependency Case Manager is authorized to sign school documents or consent except pertaining to Exceptional Student Education (ESE).

Foster Care Liaison
Our foster care liaison in Palm Beach County is Laura Shoemaker. School staff, child welfare case managers, and foster parents are encouraged to make contact with Laura when any student challenges arise with our children in care. You can reach Laura via email or at 561-494-1449.

  • Provide academic support and remove barriers for children in care
  • Provide current information to schools regarding caregivers and dependency case managers
  • Provide registration requests for the Free Meals Program
  • Process Dependency Shelter Court Orders by updating students’ schools on parental status
  • Process transportation requests
  • Provide Dependency Case Managers with educational records (appropriate educational release required)
  • Assist Dependency Case Managers when enrolling and withdrawing students as needed
  • Collaborate with SEDNET, School District DJJ, and Education Alternatives for appropriate school placements
  • Promote student enrollment in Choice and Career Technical Education options
  • Provide a current list of Foster Care Points of Contact
  • Provide Foster Care Campus Coordinators with a Foster Care Campus Coordinator Manual

Parental Rights
When a parent is involved in an open DCF case, the parent cannot pick up their child from school, nor update contact screens when they lose temporary custody. This parent is permitted to speak with teachers to discuss educational progress and sign any applicable ESE documents or consent. The SIS 

Contact Screen will be updated by the Foster Care Liaison and the parent should remain on the screen.

Court Documents
DCF notifications should not be filed in a cum folder but a separate, confidential file. If DCF has provided you with any court orders that include highly confidential abuse details and history, please shred the document immediately. DCF court documents will be stored in the Department of Safe Schools Office.

Mandatory School Based Team
Please conduct a mandatory Foster Care SBT or Child Study Team meeting.  DCF provides a ChildNet Educational Specialist, Alisha Patterson-Major. She can be contacted at 561-945-5374 or apatterson-major@childnet.us, and is authorized to attend SBT/CST meetings. Dependency Case Managers, foster parents and biological parents should be invited to attend meetings also. If a biological parent has an existing No-Contact order, they would attend the meeting via phone and not in person.

Legal Aid Society, Foster Children's Project, and Guardian ad Litem are authorized contractors of DCF. They are permitted to request school records; request and attend SBT/CST Meetings, and advocate for children with an open DCF case. 

Every Student Succeeds Act regarding SCHOOL STABILITY  In 2015, Congress passed the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA). This federal education law includes provisions that promote school stability and success for youth in foster care or supervision of the Department of Children and Families, otherwise known as “youth in care”. This law requires that State and Local Education Agencies work with child welfare agencies to ensure the educational stability of youth in care. School stability includes children remaining in the home school even while living outside the the school attendance zone, when it is in their best interest. School personnel are to notify the School District Foster Care Liaison prior to any withdrawal of a youth in foster care. School personnel will receive the ESSA School Stability Checklist (PBSD 2643), complete and return promptly to the Foster Care Liaison. This checklist is used to make best-interest determination to remain at his or her school of origin.

Once a youth in care is removed from his or her family, this youth is at risk of changing schools. These children are not automatically withdrawn if their address is zoned for another school. ESSA mandates that a checklist-type process is completed by schools and child welfare agencies. Each Palm Beach County public school is to identify a point-of-contact to complete the ESSA Checklist. It is suggested that the point-of-contact be theFoster Care Campus Coordinator (FC3). This contact will receive an ESSA Checklist from the local child welfare agency, ChildNet, Inc., in collaboration with the School District’s Foster Care Liaison. Key staff will complete the ESSA School Stability Checklist (PBSD 2643) and return it promptly. School personnel are to notify the School District Foster Care Liaison prior to any withdrawal of a youth in foster care.

This checklist will provide feedback for making a best-interest determination to prevent educational disruption for the youth in care. This checklist will ensure, according to ESSA, that a youth in foster care remains in his or her school of origin, unless it is determined that remaining in the school of origin is not in that youth’s best interest. If it is not in the youth’s best interest to stay in his or her school of origin, the youth is immediately enrolled in the new school even if the youth is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment. The new (enrolling) school will immediately contact the previous school to obtain relevant academic and other records. 

Title I Residential Group Home Tutorial
Youth placed in group homes, mental health facilities, or other residential settings often face daunting educational challenges. (PDF) Within the School District, the Department of Federal and State Programs and Department of Safe Schools collaborate to provide support to students in a residential group home. The District has appointed a Title I Residential Group Home Tutoring Coordinator, Angela Williams, as a single point of contact. School District certified teachers are chosen to serve as tutors for our students in county-wide sites. These students receive academic support, as well as educational materials.

Click here for additional information on youth in congregate care.

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