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News & Press: Policy

Proposed Foster Youth Guidance Lacks Clarity

Friday, June 24, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Denise Marshall

U.S. Agencies Are Inconsistent On the Rights of Students With Disabilities  


WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) guidance to states, school districts and child welfare agencies on the new provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for supporting children in foster care. The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA) issued the following statement:

“We are deeply concerned about the negative impact, and lack of clarity raised by the guidance interpretation of Least Restrict Environment (LRE) -- which determines where a child with a disability spends all or part of the school day, “stated Selene Almazan, COPAA’s legal director. “As written, the reference to LRE is inaccurate. The statute and regulations clearly state that the LRE analysis is premised upon removal from the general education classroom only if the use of supplementary and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.  The use of the term "educated satisfactorily" implies a new standard, solely for children in foster care, which is not found anywhere in case law nor in the statute nor regulations.” Almazan concluded, “for children with disabilities who are in foster care, the stakes are very high with regard to providing security and consistency regarding where they attend school and receive their special education services. Yesterday's published analysis of LRE is confusing and inaccurate, and does nothing to address schools who continue to push kids out that they may find challenging to serve. Our foster youth deserve better and we urge ED and HHS to immediately clarify the guidance.”


Full Copy of Guidance - U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services Release Joint Guidance on Foster Youth


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