The Uninterrupted Scholars Act: How Recent Changes to FERPA Can Improve Educational Outcomes for Children in Care [Webinar].
Kelly, Kristin. McInerney, Maura.
State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC). Annie E. Casey Foundation. Legal Center for Foster Care and Education.
Published: June 18, 2013
A webinar was held on June 18th, 2013, to explain recent changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that will enable child welfare agencies to gain access to student records. Speakers included Kristin Kelly, Staff Attorney, American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law; and Maura McInerney, Staff Attorney, Education Law Center-PA. A slideshow provides information on the educational crisis in foster care, the high drop-out rate of adolescents in foster care and their lack of academic achievement, and barriers to educational success. A blueprint for change to ensure the educational success of children in foster care is then presented. Goals for youth include: remain in the same school, seamless transitions between schools, young children are ready to learn, equal access to the school experience, school dropout, truancy, and disciplinary actions are addressed, youth are involved and empowered, there are supportive adults as advocates and decision makers, and postsecondary education. The presentation then explains why access to education records is important for enabling the goals to be reached. The benefits of sharing student-level data and statistical information are discussed. Information is provided on the purpose of FERPA, student and parent rights under FERPA, why child welfare needs access to the educational records of children in care, and the proposed Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA) that would create a new child welfare exception to FERPA and eliminates duplicative notice for the court order exception. Current child welfare exceptions to FERPA are reviewed, as well as federal guidance from the Department of Education on FERPA and the benefits of the Uninterrupted Scholars Act.
records; schools; foster children; child welfare agencies; caseworkers; educational programs; outcomes; federal laws