Oct. 21, 2019

LA Finalizes New Program Guaranteeing Reliable Transportation to Home Schools

LA finalizes a new program guaranteeing reliable transportation to home schooled foster youth. Due to the instability of housing among foster youth, a federal report found difficulties in keeping foster youth in their school of origin. Los Angeles is in the works of establishing a transportation program to help these students.  LA School Report writes,

“The plan approved by Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) – by far the largest of Los Angeles County’s 80 school districts, with 40 percent of the county’s students – helps bring it into closer compliance with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), an overhaul of federal education policy signed into law by President Obama in 2015. The law mandated that local educational and child welfare agencies provide transportation for foster youth to their home school starting in December of 2016.”

The Important of School Stability

LAUSD currently supports more than 7,000 student in foster care. Allowing foster youth to continue their education at their school of origin it prevents their education from disruption. The average foster youth move homes eight times while in care. Having stability in school not only helps with college and career-readiness but is critical for social development. Therefore, maintaining established relationships can ease the uncertainty that comes with care.

The Plan

This new plan will help LAUSD and the Department of Children and Family Services to reach compliance under ESSA. The LAUSD board approved $7.2 million over five years for the origin plan. DCFS agrees to match this amount to help provide reliable transportation to home schools.

LA School Report writes,

“Under the agreement Escudero outlined, LAUSD and DCFS will enter into a joint memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a procedure to provide and fund a long-term transportation plan for foster youth. The cost will be split evenly between the county and the school district. This has long been a thorny point in implementation of ESSA at the local level. While the law mandated that whenever possible foster students be transported to their school of origin – the school they were attending before they entered foster care – it never stipulated which agency should pay.”

Extending the Program

In addition to LA proper the county secured one-year agreements for transportation plans from 10 of its other school districts. This includes Antelope Valley Union, Compton, Lancaster, Palmdale and Pasadena. L.A. County allocated $3.8 million for school districts to cover half the costs of transporting foster youth to school over the next year.

In Conclusion

Overall, Foster Love - Together We Rise hopes this initiative for reliable transportation to home schools can improve the lives of LA foster youth. Stay connected for updates in the months come.

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