Press Call following President Obama’s Signing of S3472

Monday, Jan. 14, 2013

Washington, D.C.

Press Call following President Obama’s Signing of S3472

I’d like to thank Senator Landrieu and Representative Bass for their leadership in moving this legislation so quickly and efficiently through the process.

It’s the little things in life that add up sometimes to major changes. With a minor change in the law, we will have a major impact of the educational experience of children in foster care.

Before these changes there was no exemption in the law for schools to share student information that was protected under FERPA as private with the case workers or foster parents of a child in foster care.

In essence you had two competing laws. One, FERPA, to protect the privacy of every child’s academic records and the other, the Fostering Adoptions Act, that ensures foster children stay in school, stay on track and receive the education they are due.

I believe this bill is a great example of what we can accomplish on behalf of children when we work in collaboration and with their best interests in mind.

This legislation builds on the interagency collaboration that the Administration for Children and Families has had with the Department of Education.

We’ve seen many instances where school officials and child welfare officials found ways to work together, but this change allows education officials to do easily what they’ve always been inclined to do in the first place, help foster kids succeed in school.

We know that there a lot of barriers for children in care seeking an education.

Too many foster children end up not receiving their high school diploma.

The main purpose of this collaboration has been to improve educational outcomes for children in care.

This legislation addressed a problem with the right solution.

That each child have an educational case plan spelling out the educational goals of that child. And that case plan must keep up-to-date records on the child.

This new law allows child advocates and case workers to better and more easily address a foster child’s educational needs.

We will continue to find ways to remove barriers to cooperation and impediments to success.

Thank you.

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