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I was just moved to a new foster home. Do I have to transfer to a new school?

No. AB 490, AB 1933, and the Fostering Connections Act are laws that protect the rights of foster youth to a stable and consistent education.

You have the right to remain in your school of origin and school feeder pattern as long as you are in foster care and it is in your best interest. Your school of origin is the school you were attending when you entered foster care or changed placement. It can also be any school you’ve attended in the last 15 months, if you have a connection to that school.

Example: Even if you move near the end of 8th grade, you should be able to stay in your same middle school AND go to the same high school that all of your middle school friends go to! Also, if your foster care case closes in the middle of the school year, you can stay in your same school until the end of the school year.  If you’re in high school, you can stay at your school of origin until graduation, no matter when your case closes! Even if there is a disagreement about what school you should attend, you have the right to stay in your current school until this issue is worked out.  Click here for a sample letter telling your school about your right to attend your school of origin and your right to immediately enroll there.

Under these laws, your social worker is required to consider how far your new placement is from your school and how this move would affect your education. Your social worker should do everything he or she can to place you somewhere near your current school so that you don’t have to change schools. Your social worker also has to inform your attorney and education rights holder within 24 hours of any placement move that might result in a school change.

NOTE FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS: Under AB 1933, you also have the right to attend the school listed in your IEP, which is your school of origin, if it is in your best interest. The school has to be informed in writing of a change in school by the social worker or probation officer at least 10 days in advance. If you want the school district to pay for transportation, then special education laws apply.  These laws are complicated. If you have specific questions or need help staying in your school of origin and getting transportation, click here to get help from Public Counsel.

If you want to transfer from your school of origin when you change home placements, you can do that, too. If you change your mind, you should still be able to return to your school of origin.  Talk to your education rights holder or attorney if you want to go back to your school of origin.

If you and your education rights holder (ERH) disagree with your school placement, your ERH or your attorney can request a hearing with the dependency court judge to tell the judge why you and your ERH want you to stay in your old school (or move to a new school) and ask for help!

Click here for a sample request for hearing that can be filed with the Court.

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