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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 18, 2018 05:51 PM
From: Senator Patrick M. Browne
To: All Senate members
Subject: Educational Success and School Stability for At-Risk Students - amendments to Human Services Code
I plan to re-introduce SB 1272, which amends the Human Services Code to create a new Article (Article XIII-B) entitled “School Stability”.

This article requires the county child welfare agency to ensure that a case plan for a child in foster care addresses school stability and that a plan is in place which outlines a process for determining what school is in a child’s best interests, and details a method for arranging and funding any transportation needed to make school stability a reality in collaboration with school districts.

The lives of children in foster care are filled with uncertainty and disruption. They are living in unfamiliar settings, away from their biological parents and siblings. Almost a third of these children experience three or more living placements within their first two years in foster care. They often have few personal possessions. They face anxiety about the future. Often times, remaining in the same school with familiar teachers and classmates provides the only semblance of continuity in their lives.

Yet a change in living placement often means having to attend a new school. Research shows that one of the most significant barriers to educational success is repeatedly changing schools. It is estimated that students lose four to six months of academic progress each time they change schools. When students in foster care change schools they may miss days of school or are placed in the wrong classes waiting for school records to be sent to the new school. Many times their credits do not transfer, they have to repeat courses or entire grades and many become frustrated and drop out of school completely.

I hope you will join me in supporting this important legislation that intends to minimize the educational disruption experienced by children in foster care.

Introduced as SB1113