Welcome to the Title I, Part A–Foster Care Program established on December 10, 2016, under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). The purpose of this program is to ensure that children and youth in foster care have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education as provided to their peers living with biological parents or legal guardians.
Educating Montana’s children in foster care is a collaborative effort between the Office of Public Instruction (OPI), the Child and Family Services Division of the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, the Youth Services Division of the Montana Department of Corrections, Tribal Social Services, and local school districts. Working together, these agencies, group homes, and thousands of Montana families provide foster care children with the support they need to succeed in school and in our communities.
With the enactment of the ESSA, the OPI has established a State Foster Care Point of Contact (POC) housed within Title I. This position is charged with ensuring that all children in any type of foster care placement have the opportunity to remain in their school of origin or to be immediately enrolled in a new school while records are obtained.
ESSA Sec. 1111(g)(E) Sec. 1111(h)(1)(C)(iii)
Schools receiving Title I funds must provide services to children in foster care who are living in group homes or other institutions, or who attend community day programs. Those services may be provided within the group home setting, where appropriate, or within a school-based Title I program. Schools operating a Targeted Assistance Title I Program must include provisions within their Title I Plan to identify, evaluate, and serve children living in local group homes.
Additionally, schools must work with child welfare agencies to provide transportation to foster care children. Although ESSA allows for child welfare agencies to use funding available under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, schools should be aware that only 35 percent of children in foster care in Montana qualify for these funds. The OPI encourages schools and districts to work with their local Child and Family Services Office to coordinate transportation services. If district boundaries must be crossed in order to provide transportation, the two districts should collaborate in order to provide services in a cost efficient manner.
ESSA Sec. 1112(c)(5)
For more information contact Christy Hendricks, State Foster Care Point of Contact at 406-444-0794 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sheri Harlow, Administrative Assistant, at 406-444-5660 or email@example.com.