agencies notify local education agencies of a foster youth’s involvement with the child welfare
system so that the local education agency can identify the particular needs of this very vulnerable
youth. 71 There exists a similar need for child welfare caseworkers to have access to school records
to assist with advocating on behalf of foster youth for services or any other needed support or
interventions to ensure academic success. However, ESSA does not provide formal guidelines for
identifying which particular youth are in foster care. This leaves the responsibility to state and
local education and child welfare agencies to design procedures to achieve this level of information
sharing. 72 This collaborative data sharing must also be in accordance with applicable privacy laws
set forth in federal statutes like the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) 73 and
the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), 74 as well as any local or state privacy
Additionally, ESSA sets forth requirements for state education agencies to compile data
and publicly report on academic achievement of all youth educated in the statewide system. 76
Further, ESSA requires that, in addition to other required disaggregated data, foster youth should
be included as a subgroup when collecting and reporting on data concerning student achievement
on academic assessments, performance on state selected academic indicators, and high school
graduation rates. 77 Collecting data on foster youth’s academic performance will allow child
welfare agencies and state and local education agencies to measure the effectiveness of efforts to
ensure educational stability. Analysis of this data can support ongoing improvements to these
efforts and continuously advance educational outcomes for foster youth.
In Maryland, the legislature has created statutes and regulations that incorporate the
provisions of the FCA and ESSA into state law. The entitlement of foster youth to educational
stability created by the FCA is clearly set forth in the Maryland Code’s Education Article and
Code of Maryland Regulations (“COMAR”). 78 In accordance with FCA and ESSA, §7-
101(b)( 2)( ii) provides authority to the local school systems to permit foster youth to remain in their
current school, regardless of whether or not they are currently living in that school district, if it is
in their best interest. 79 COMAR 13A.08.07.06 details the steps which the local child welfare
agency and the local school system must take to achieve educational stability. 80 If the child welfare
agency determines it is not in the best interest for the child to remain in the school of origin, the
child welfare agency must provide notice to the school of origin and must immediately enroll the
foster child in the appropriate school. 81 The receiving school must enroll the foster child regardless
of whether the child welfare agency is able to produce the requisite documentation for
enrollment. 82 As for transportation, if a foster child remains in the school of origin, then the
neighborhood zoned school is required to provide transportation to the school of origin unless the
71 GUIDANCE, supra note 27, at 23.
72 Id. at 24.
73 See generally Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232 (g) (1974).
74 See Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400-1409 (2004).
75 GUIDANCE, supra note 27, at 23.
76 Every Student Succeeds Act, supra note 56, § 1005.
78 See MD. EDUC. CODE ANN. § 7-101(b)( 2)( ii) (2017); see also MD. CODE REGS. 13A.08.07.06 (2017).
79 MD. EDUC. CODE ANN. § 7-101(b)( 2)( ii) (2017).