El Rancho Unified promotes educational achievement and socio-emotional well-being with comprehensive services for our Foster youth and families. Our vision is to provide equitable opportunities for students who are in foster care to achieve and succeed.
Who is considered foster youth?
A youth who is a court dependent under WIC 300 (Welfare and Institution Code) and has an open DCFS case. They may be in:
- Out-of-Home Care (with a relative or foster home/group) Family Reunification (FR) and/or Permanent Placement (PP) services OR
- Home of Parent/ Family Maintenance (FM) services
Foster Youth Educational Rights
1. Right To Remain In Your School Of Origin
- You have the right to stay in the same school after you move to a new foster care placement, Your " school of origin" can be:
- The school you attended when you first entered foster care,
- The school you most recently attended or
- Any school you attended in the last 15 months that you feel connected to.
- Your school district must work with you, your education rights holder, your caregiver, and your social worker/ probation officer to develop a plan to transport you to your school of origin.
- If you are transitioning from elementary school to middle school, or middle school to high school, you have the right to transition to the same school as your classmates.
- If there is any disagreement about which school you will attend, you have the right to stay in your school of origin until disagreement is resolved.
2. Right To Immediate Enrollment In School
- You have the right to immediately enroll in your regular home school after moving placements.
- You cannot be forced to attend a continuation school or other alternative education program, such as independent study, even if you are behind in credits or have discipline problems at school.
- You have the right to immediately enroll in school and begin attending classes, even if you do not have paperwork you would normally need for enrollment (such as birth certificate, transcript, or IEP) or you did not check-out from your previous school.
- Your previous school must send your education records to your new school after you enroll.
- You have the right to participate in any activities available at your new school, such as sports teams, tutoring, or after-school clubs, even if you miss a tryout or sign-up deadline.
3. Right To Partial Credits For High School Students
- If you change schools during the school year you have a right to partial credits in all classes that you are passing when you leave your old school, even if you do not complete the entire class.
- After you change schools, your new school must accept the partial credits issued by your old school.
- After you change schools, you have the right to be enrolled in the same or similar classes you were enrolled in at your last school.
- You cannot be forced to retake a class or part of a class that you have already completed with a passing grade, if it would make you off-track for high school graduation.
- You have the right to take or retake any class that you need to go to a California State University or a University of California. Your grade cannot be lowered because you were absent from school for a court hearing, placement change, or a court-related activity.
4. Graduation Rights
- You have the right to stay in high school for a fifth year to complete your school district graduation requirements, even if you are over 18.
- If you are behind on your credits, and you transferred schools after the 10th grade, you may be eligible to graduate under AB 167/216 by completing only state graduation requirements (130 credits in specific classes) instead of your school districts requirements.
- If you are eligible, the decision of whether to graduate under AB 167/216 is made by your educational rights holder.
5. College Rights
- You have the right to have the application fee waved when you apply to a community college in California.
- You have the right to receive the maximum amount of federal student aid and you may be eligible for up to $5,000 per year from the Chafee scholarship.
6. School Discipline Rights
- You cannot be suspended for more than 5 school days in a row or for more than 20 days in a school year.
- You have a right to be told why you are being suspended and the right to provide your version of the events and evidence before you are suspended, unless there is an emergency. If the behavior for which you are being suspended could subject you to criminal charges, you should consult with your education rights holder or attorney before providing an oral or written statement to the school or police.
- Your attorney and social worker must be invited to a meeting before your suspension can be extended beyond 5 days and a suspension can only be extended if you are being considered for expulsion.
- You have a right to a formal hearing, and to be represented by an attorney at that hearing, before you are expelled.
- If you are facing a possible expulsion, your attorney and social worker must be notified. If you are in special education, your attorney and social worker must be invited to a meeting to decide whether your behavior was related to your disability.
7. Right To Your School Records
- You have the right to access your school records if you are 16 years or older or have finished 10th grade.
- Your social worker/ probation officer and education rights holder can access your school records as well.
If you are or were in foster care for at least one day, between the ages of 16 and 18 as a dependent or ward of the court and have financial need, you may qualify for up to $5,000 a year for career and technical training or college. You don’t have to pay this money back. You may also be able to use your grant to help pay for child care, transportation and rent while you’re in school. You can use your Chafee Grant at any eligible California college or university or career or technical school, as well as schools in other states.
FOSTER YOUTH VERIFICATION
Current and former foster youth may be required to provide written verification of foster care status in order to qualify for certain benefits. Youth who are unable to obtain verification from their county can request verification from the Foster Care Ombudsperson’s office by calling 1-877-846-1602.
BENEFITS ELIGIBILITY FINDER
For youth in foster care or formerly in foster care, parents, caregivers, or advocates for someone meeting these qualifications. Follow the link below to see what resources or benefits youth may be eligible for.