96 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 39: 1 2019]
child welfare agency decides to provide transportation. 83 Furthermore, this regulation provides that
each local school system designate a Fostering Connections Liaison, similar to a POC, who must
coordinate with child welfare agencies regarding best interest determinations for school placement,
enrollment, transfer of records, and establishing transportation for foster children. 84 The above
mentioned statute and regulation serve to comply with the FCA and even some of the expanded
provisions of ESSA. Specifically, these local laws and regulations meet ESSA’s requirements for
establishing plans for immediate enrollment, addressing the issue of transportation and which
agency is responsible for the cost, as well as requiring joint decision-making between the local
education agency and the child welfare agency.
Maryland’s laws are also in line with another ESSA requirement regarding the best interest
determination and what should be considered in making that determination. COMAR 07.02.11.12
(B) states that the local department of social services (“LDSS”) who has custody of the child shall
determine whether it is in the child’s best interest to remain in the school the child attended prior
to the most recent change in placement. 85 Further, this regulation requires that the local department
of social services consults with the local education agency in considering what school placement
is in the child’s best interests and enumerates several factors to consider. 86 Also, according to this
regulation, the local department of social services must ensure that a child placed in an out-of-home placement is enrolled in school within five school days of placement, which satisfies the
“immediate enrollment” requirement of ESSA. 87
Additionally, in 2014, Maryland enacted a specific statute that defines educational stability
and provides direction for inquiry by the courts presiding over child welfare matters. 88 The Courts
and Judicial Proceedings article of the Maryland Code defines “educational stability” as “the
continuous process of identifying and implementing the appropriate educational placement,
training, resources, services, and experiences that will address the fundamental needs necessary to
ensure the successful educational outcome of a child and contribute to the child’s overall well-being.” 89 This statute mandates that the court inquire as to educational stability at all stages of
child welfare proceedings, including at a shelter care hearing, adjudication hearing, disposition
hearing, and any change of placement review hearing. 90 The statute also provides several factors
that courts may consider in determining educational stability, such as “the appropriateness of the
child’s current school placement, the school placement of the child’s siblings, minimization of
school changes, and the proximity of the school to the child’s placement”…etc. 91
Moreover, Maryland has developed a detailed state plan in compliance with the
requirements of ESSA. 92 This state plan includes disaggregated data collection required by ESSA
to report on foster children’s academic progress, performance on assessments, and graduation
83 Id. at (H)( 1).
84 Id. at (I)( 3).
85 MD. CODE REGS. 07.02.11.12 (2018) (Local Department of Social Services or “LDSS” is the title for Maryland
local child welfare agencies and is used interchangeably with “local child welfare agencies”).
88 See generally MD. CODE ANN. § 3-816.4 (2018).
90 Id. § 3-816.4(b).
91 Id. § 3-816.4(c).
92 See generally Maryland Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan, MD. ST. DEP’T of EDUC. (Jan.
2018), retrieved from