News


Published: December 22nd, 2017

A Celebration of Literacy and Foster Youth Education with Holiday Fun!

Woman in red shirt reads to children in front of Christmas tree and fireplace.

December 10th, 2017 marks the one year anniversary of the foster care provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This massive education legislation, among other things, promotes school stability for children in foster care. Foster care children remain in the school they attended prior to entering foster care, and only if it is in a foster child’s best interest would they change schools. In the cases when a foster child would be best served by enrolling in a new school, that school is required to do so immediately, even without any or all of the necessary paperwork.

Children at a green table making Christmas ornaments.To celebrate this anniversary, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) partnered with Christown Spectrum Mall in West Phoenix to participate in the Christown Cringle’s Workshop. ADE invited several foster group homes to the event. For the many that participated, they were met with a variety of entertaining options. Santa took pictures with the families. Professional artists were present to make caricatures of the children and adults. Children got to make ornaments for the mall’s tree and several other to be donated to community centers and homeless centers. The workshop elves painted faces. Joy and merriment completely took over the Christown Mall food court!

Perhaps, one of the many highlights of the event, was when ADE’s invited guests met Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas. Many of the children in attendance had never met an elected official before and thought it was something to brag about.

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction and costumed Grinch with kids in front of a Christmas tree.
Superintendent Douglas and kids all smiles about reading despite the Grinch.

Superintendent Douglas smiled and talked with all of the children, encouraging them to prioritize their education. The children eagerly sat by the tree and faux fireplace (safety first!) while Superintendent Douglas read book after book to them. Reading to Arizona’s children has been a public activity Douglas has enjoyed several times around Arizona to promote literacy with ADE’s #Read20AZ literacy initiative.

Costumed Grinch rests on overstuffed teddy bear and talks to young children. One particular young man made quite an impression. Although he was just starting his high school education, he already planned where he would work in the coming years, displaying a maturity and sense of long-term thinking many don’t possess at his age. He congregated by ADE’s table and helped hand out pencils, bookmarks, treats, and educational materials. As one of the older boys, he is a great leader and role model to the younger children in his home and was also ready to help his home’s staff with the younger children when needed.

All in all, the event was a major success! Many of the children in the foster care system have great need for caring adults in their lives.

Man in red wearing elf hat stands in front of table with educational materials.
ADE State Coordinator for Foster Care Education, Joey Taylor

Many look for those who will take a moment to simply listen and interact with them. So to engage with these children for a few hours on a Sunday really reminds those in the education profession why they chose this path. It’s a way of giving back the enriches both ADE staff and the youth we serve.

As always, subscribe to the blog for future updates regarding ADE and foster care education. If you have a story of success for a foster student or a great program that is serving foster students, please submit them to [email protected]. ADE would love to celebrate triumphs in the foster care community!

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |
Published: November 14th, 2017

Fund Foster Services with Your Taxes

*Taken from an AZ State Employees Charitable Campaign (SECC) promotional email.

Help a Foster Child

Did you know that more than 18,000 children live in the Arizona State foster care system?

Did you know that every year more than 800 children “age out” of the system when they turn 18 without finding a forever family?

Young people who age out of the foster care system have a higher chance of experiencing unemployment, homelessness, and incarceration as adults.

 

  • 1 out of 5 become homeless
  • 1 out of 4 become incarcerated
  • 33 percent graduate from high school and only 3 percent will ever go to college.

It is easier than ever to help a foster child.  Several SECC charities qualify for the AZ Foster Care tax credit program!

SECC Charities that qualify for the AZ Foster Care Tax Credit:

For information or to make your pledge click here.*

Posted in News |
Published: October 5th, 2017

What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?

That is the question that plagues us all…

AZ Dept. of Child Safety is showcasing a Post-Secondary Education Day on October 14th, 2017. Please see details below:

When: October 14, 2017 from 8:30am to 4:00pm

Where: University of Phoenix, 1625 West Fountainhead Parkway, Tempe, AZ

The event is free.  Breakfast and Lunch will be provided.

How to get a ticket: Go to https://choose-your-own-adventure.eventbrite.com.

Please forward this information to all individuals and organizations that can benefit from this unique event.

What is DCS Post-Secondary Education Day: DCS has developed a Post-Secondary Education Day for foster youth which will take place on Saturday, October 14th from 9:00am – 4:00pm at the University of Phoenix in Tempe.  We entitled the event “Choose Your Own Adventure” because we believe that there is a world full of possibilities to all foster youth, they simply must choose their own adventure.  The purpose of this event is to provide foster youth with a snapshot into the educational and vocational opportunities available to them as they consider their plans after high school (or after age 18).  The event will cover writing college entrance exams, establishing good supports, what is Financial Aid, etc.

Who can attend: All current and former foster youth 16 years old and up.  Foster families, supportive partners, and chaperones can attend as well.*

*Tickets for this group are limited and are on a first come first serve basis.

Stop by the ADE table & say hi!

 

As always subscribe to the blog for future updates regarding ADE and foster care education. If you have a story of success for a foster student or a great program that is serving foster students, please submit them to [email protected]. ADE would love to celebrate triumphs in this community!

Posted in News |
Published: September 22nd, 2017

October 1st is Coming…

 

For those LEAs who have yet to submit their ‘LEA Transportation Plan to Ensure School Stability for Students in Foster Care’ into ALEAT, help is on the way. Listed below is another version of a guidance email that will be sent out through ALEAT.

Dear Colleague,

I trust this correspondence finds you doing well and excited for the cooler weather on the horizon. Many LEAs have already uploaded their ‘LEA Transportation Plan to Ensure School Stability for Students in Foster Care’ into ALEAT with great success. With a little over a week remaining before the Oct. 1st deadline, I wanted to send out some guidance regarding the aforementioned instrument in ALEAT. This instrument is intended to capture the LEA’s ‘big picture’, overall plan, to ensure transportation is provided, arranged, and funded for children in foster care to remain in their school of origin. The ‘LEA Transportation Plan to Ensure School Stability for Students in Foster Care’ in the only document that needs to be uploaded to ALEAT in this instrument.  

In the ‘Resources’ tab, you will find a sample fillable template that you may use as your Transportation Plan to Ensure School Stability for Students in Foster Care. This template is intended to be used in the following manner:

  • The top section is to capture your LEA information, specifically your LEA Foster Care Point of Contact. (The LEA Foster Care Point of Contact (POC) needs to be designated. Be sure to check the LEA POC list at http://www.azed.gov/fostercare/lea-poc-list/ to be sure your LEA has the correct person designated. If your Foster Care POC changes, be sure to email [email protected] & [email protected].
  • The second section is another catch, along with the Statement of Assurances that are included in the consolidated grant, that the foster care provisions in ESSA will be in adhered to.
  • The third section is the bulk of the transportation plan.
    • The first question aims to address how the LEA will ensure foster children are going to retain school stability and how transportation for children in foster care to their school of origin will be provided, arranged, and funded in the interim (i.e. while you are setting up the long term transportation plan).
    • The second question aims to address how the LEA will find any existing transportation options that may be used to transport students in foster care (i.e. if a student in foster care has an IEP that calls for transportation already, that would be an existing option).
    • The third question aims to undertake some of the details of the transportation plan. Be sure to address with detail all of the italicized remarks in the parentheses.

The second item in the ‘Resources’ tab, is a link to the www.azed.gov/fostercare webpage. This webpage has bevy of information to help guide your transportation plan:

  • The ‘Law’ menu has the full text of ESSA and the isolated foster care provisions in ESSA.
  • The ‘Guidance’ menu has the non-regulatory federal guidance and a transportation guidance.
  • The ‘Training’ menu has an ESSA Foster Care 101 PowerPoint and other supporting documents.
  • The ‘Resources’ menu has national and state resources.
  • The ‘Blog’ menu has the ADE Foster Care Education blog. This blog will be used to push out important program updates, initiatives, and highlights. Subscribing to the blog will benefit your LEA greatly.

Students in foster care face enormous challenges and barriers to a successful education. Studies have shown, that every time that a foster child changes school they lose about six months of academic progress. On average, about 42% of foster children attend two or more schools in a given school year and have a graduation rate of about 33%. Needless to say, school stability is vastly important for this population.

Thank you for role in serving these foster students!

 

As always subscribe to the blog for future updates regarding ADE and foster care education. If you have a story of success for a foster student or a great program that is serving foster students, please submit them to [email protected]. ADE would love to celebrate triumphs in this community!

Posted in News |
Published: September 1st, 2017

Public Introduction from the Director of Community Outreach

State of Arizona

Department of Education

Office of Community Outreach

 

August 31, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to formally introduce the Arizona Department of Education’s Foster Care Education Coordinator, Joey Taylor. Joey comes to the ADE with a diverse background from both the foster care and education realm. He will serve as the State level Point of Contact to fulfill the requirements laid out in the Elementary Secondary Education Act as reinstated by the Every Student Succeeds Act. Joey will serve as a great resource to the LEAs pertaining to all things foster care related, will help the LEAs and child welfare agencies collaborate for the purpose of school stability for children in foster care, and advocate heavily for the best outcomes for this population of students.

With the new school year underway, ADE has put out an ESSA Foster Care 101 to help you navigate & implement the changes laid out in ESSA pertaining to foster care students. You can find this training at www.azed.gov/fostercare under Training. ADE has also made a public information poster* highlighting some of the ESSA foster care provisions. Each LEA may hang this poster next to their McKinney-Vento public information posters (*note, this poster is not mandated, but may prod students in foster care to self-identify, which would help the LEA identify this population).

Along with the foster care provisions being added to the statement of assurances in the ESEA Consolidated Grant (which includes Title I funds), there is an instrument added to each LEAs homepage in ALEAT. It is the ‘Transportation Plan for Children in Foster Care (Foster Plan)’. Each LEA will have to upload a Transportation Plan to Ensure School Stability for Students in Foster Care. In the resources tab, there is a guidance document, sample template, plus additional resources. The aforementioned plans are due on Oct. 1st, 2017.

The Department of Child Safety has designated regional Points of Contact for the purposes of collaboration regarding the assurance of school stability and the implementation of transportation plans for children in foster care to their school of origin. These Points of Contact are listed below, on the website, and in the training.

*        State level POC: Beverlee Kroll, [email protected]

*        The 5 CWA Regional POCs are:

*        Northern Region (Mohave, Coconino, Yavapai, Apache and Navajo Counties):  Dee Goulet, [email protected] and Michael Lindquist, [email protected]

*        Southwest Region (Yuma, La Paz and Western Maricopa Counties): Chanetta Curtis, [email protected]

*        Central Region (Eastern Maricopa and Pinal Counties): Patti Wenzel, [email protected]

*        Pima Region (Pima County): Rosemary Munoz, [email protected]

*        Southeast Region (Santa Cruz, Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Gila counties): Sharon Travis, [email protected]

 

For any additional support/resources/training/etc feel free to contact Joey Taylor. His contact information is below.

Joey Taylor

Arizona Department of Education

Foster Care Education Coordinator

ESSA Foster Care POC

1535 W. Jefferson, Bin #2

Phoenix, AZ,  85007

(602) 542-3569

[email protected]

[email protected]

www.azed.gov/fostercare

 

Thank you and have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend!

Christopher Dickinson

Director of Community Outreach Manager of the Zip Code Project Arizona Department of Education Office: 602.542.9411 | Cell: 602.695.9211 [email protected] Website: www.azed.gov/zipcode

We Are Listening Tour Q & A with Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas

Posted in News |
Published: August 29th, 2017

Welcome to ADE’s Foster Care Education blog!!!!!!

The long awaited Foster Care Education blog is here! This blog will serve to help the community working alongside children in foster care with technical assistance, resources, and encouragement.

Now that the 2017-2018 school year is well underway, it is important to know the educational rights of children in foster care. Both the local educational agencies and child welfare agencies are to collaborate for the purpose of school stability for children in foster care. Foster children should remain in their school of origin when they enter care or change placement. If it is in that child’s best interest to enroll in a new school, then they shall be immediately enrolled, even without the paperwork that is usually required.

That is just a taste of the provisions laid out for foster children. For more detailed information, refer to the AzED.gov/FosterCare webpage which contains a bevy of resources and training.

Be sure to check back with the blog frequently to see the latest in foster care and education in Arizona. If you have a program to highlight, or a resource to share, or just an encouraging story about a foster child’s achievements, email the [email protected] inbox.

Posted in News |