BILL NUMBER: AB 709	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Brownley

                        FEBRUARY 17, 2011

   An act to amend Section 48853.5 of the Education Code, relating to
foster children.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 709, as introduced, Brownley. Foster children: school
placement: disputes.
   Existing law provides that at the initial detention or placement,
or any subsequent change in placement of a foster child, the local
educational agency serving the foster child shall allow the foster
child to continue his or her education in the school of origin for
the duration of the jurisdiction of the court. However, if the
educational liaison for foster children and the person holding the
right to make educational decisions for the foster child agree that
the best interests of the foster child would best be served by waiver
of this right and transfer to a school other than the school of
origin, the foster child shall immediately be enrolled in the new
school. Existing law requires the new school to immediately enroll
the foster child even if he or she is unable to produce clothing or
records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic
records, medical records, proof of residency, other documentation, or
school uniforms.
   This bill would specify that the new school is required to
immediately enroll the foster child even if he or she is unable to
produce medical records, including records or other proof of
immunization history, notwithstanding other provisions of law
requiring documentation of immunizations prior to school admission.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  Section 48853.5 of the Education Code is amended to
read:
   48853.5.  (a) This section applies to a child  (hereafter
"foster child")  who has been removed from his or her home
pursuant to Section 309 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is the
subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare
and Institutions Code, or has been removed from his or her home and
is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the
Welfare and Institutions Code  (hereafter "foster child")  .

   (b) Each local educational agency shall designate a staff person
as the educational liaison for foster children. In a school district
that operates a foster children services program pursuant to Chapter
11.3 (commencing with Section 42920) of Part 24, the educational
liaison shall be affiliated with the local foster children services
program. The liaison shall do all of the following:
   (1) Ensure and facilitate the proper educational placement,
enrollment in school, and checkout from school of foster children.
   (2) Assist foster children when transferring from one school to
another or from one school district to another in ensuring proper
transfer of credits, records, and grades.
   (c) This section does not grant authority to the educational
liaison that supersedes the authority granted under state and federal
law to a parent or guardian retaining educational rights, a
responsible adult appointed by the court to represent the child
pursuant to Section 361 or 726 of the Welfare and Institutions Code,
a surrogate parent, or a foster parent exercising the authority
granted under Section 56055. The role of the educational liaison is
advisory with respect to placement decisions and determination of
school of origin.
   (d) (1) At the initial detention or placement, or any subsequent
change in placement of a foster child, the local educational agency
serving the foster child shall allow the foster child to continue his
or her education in the school of origin for the duration of the
jurisdiction of the court.
   (2) If the jurisdiction of the court is terminated prior to the
end of an academic year, the  foster  child shall be allowed
to continue his or her education in the school of origin through the
duration of the academic school year.
   (3) To ensure that the foster child has the benefit of
matriculating with his or her peers in accordance with the
established feeder patterns of school districts, if the  foster
 child is transitioning between school grade levels, the local
educational agency shall allow the  foster  child to
continue in the school district of origin in the same attendance
area, or, if the  foster  child is transitioning to a middle
school or high school, and the school designated for matriculation
is in another school district, to the school designated for
matriculation in that school district.
   (4) Paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (d) shall not be
construed to require a school district to provide transportation
services to allow a  foster  child to attend a school or
school district, unless otherwise required under federal law, nor
shall this paragraph be construed to prohibit a school district from,
at its discretion, providing transportation services to allow a 
foster  child to attend a school or school district.
   (5) The liaison, in consultation with and the agreement of the
foster child and the person holding the right to make educational
decisions for the foster child may, in accordance with the foster
child's best interests, recommend that the foster child's right to
attend the school of origin be waived and the foster child be
enrolled in any public school that pupils living in the attendance
area in which the foster child resides are eligible to attend.
   (6) Prior to making any recommendation to move a foster child from
his or her school of origin, the liaison shall provide the foster
child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions
for the foster child with a written explanation stating the basis for
the recommendation and how this recommendation serves the foster
child's best interest.
   (7) (A) If the liaison in consultation with the foster child and
the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the
foster child agree that the best interests of the foster child would
best be served by his or her transfer to a school other than the
school of origin, the foster child shall immediately be enrolled in
the new school.
   (B) The new school shall immediately enroll the foster child even
if the foster child has outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other
items or moneys due to the school last attended or is unable to
produce  records or  clothing  or records 
normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records,
medical records,  including records or other proof of
immunization history, notwithstanding the requirements of Chapter 1
(commencing with Section 120325) of Part 2 of Division 105 of the
Health and Safety Code governing documentation of immunizations prior
to school admission,  proof of residency, other documentation,
or school uniforms.
   (C) The liaison for the new school shall, within two business days
of the foster child's request for enrollment, contact the school
last attended by the foster child to obtain all academic and other
records. All required records shall be provided to the new school
regardless of any outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other items
or moneys owed to the school last attended. The school liaison for
the school last attended shall provide all records to the new school
within two business days of receiving the request.
   (8) If a dispute arises regarding the request of a foster child to
remain in the school of origin, the foster child has the right to
remain in the school of origin pending resolution of the dispute. The
dispute shall be resolved in accordance with the existing dispute
resolution process available to any pupil served by the local
educational agency.
   (9) The local educational agency and the county placing agency are
encouraged to collaborate to ensure maximum utilization of available
federal moneys, explore public-private partnerships, and access any
other funding sources to promote the well-being of foster children
through educational stability.
   (10) It is the intent of the Legislature that subdivision (d)
shall not supersede or exceed other laws governing special education
services for eligible foster children.
   (e) For purposes of this section, "school of origin" means the
school that the foster child attended when permanently housed or the
school in which the foster child was last enrolled. If the school the
foster child attended when permanently housed is different from the
school in which the foster child was last enrolled, or if there is
some other school that the foster child attended with which the
foster child is connected and that the foster child attended within
the immediately preceding 15 months, the liaison, in consultation
with and the agreement of the foster child and the person holding the
right to make educational decisions for the foster child, shall
determine, in the best interests of the foster child, the school that
shall be deemed the school of origin.
   (f) This section does not supersede other law governing the
educational placements in juvenile court schools, as described in
Section 48645.1, by the juvenile court under Section 602 of the
Welfare and Institutions Code.