ESEA Foster Care Student Obligations

(April 2017)

On April 18, 2017, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) notified districts via its WeeklyNews e-newsletter of the following supports the agency has updated or created to assist school districts' compliance relating to foster care students' educational stability.

Background: On December 12, 2016, ISBE first issued Bulletin 01-16, Guidelines for Determination of Best Interests and Transportation and Procedures for Dispute Resolution (Bulletin). The Bulletin aimed to assist school districts’ compliance with requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), relating to foster care students’ educational stability.

On January 5, 2017, ISBE notified districts by email of additional supports the agency had created or was the process of developing to assist school districts' compliance relating to foster care students' educational stability, including Foster Care Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs) and sample "Transportation Procedures for Students in Foster Care." ISBE also advised that it was extending the deadline for designating a point of contact and developing foster care transportation procedures to June 30, 2017. We noted concerns with the first versions of the Bulletin and FAQs, and collaborated with ISBE to address them.

In PRESS Issue 93 we updated policy 4:110, Transportation, to address district compliance with ESEA’s foster care student transportation obligations by adding a sentence and corresponding footnote. Boards should review the Issue 93 updates to policy 4:110 and consult with the board attorney to determine if the district needs to do anything in response to the updated Bulletin.

Please note that Section 10-20.58 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/10-20.58), added by P.A. 99-781, is distinct from ESEA foster care student obligations. Section 10-20.58 gives school boards the option of appointing an employee licensed under Article 21B of the School Code to act as a liaison to facilitate the enrollment and transfer of records of students in the legal custody of DCFS when enrolling in or changing schools. P.A. 99-781 became effective on August 12, 2016 and encourages school districts to designate a liaison by the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

Questions about transportation procedures for foster care students should be directed to Maryam Brotine, at 630/629-3776, ext. 1219 or by email at