Foster Care Support Services

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 contains educational provisions to promote educational stability and success for students in foster care. 

A student in foster care is a child or youth in the custody of a child welfare agency (i.e. Department of Child Safety or Tribal Social Services) and placed away from parents/legal guardians. This might include students in a licensed or non-licensed kinship placement, foster home, group home, residential facility, or other such placement.

Provisions for Students in Foster Care Include:

  • Remaining enrolled in their school of origin for the duration of their time in care, unless a determination is made that it is not in the child’s best interest to attend the school of origin.

    • The term school of origin means the school in which the student was enrolled at the time of placement in foster care, including preschool. If a child’s foster care placement changes, the school of origin would then be considered the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of the placement change.

  • If it is decided that it is not in the student’s best interest to remain in the school of origin, the child is immediately enrolled in the new school, or school of residence, even if the child is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment. This would include, but not be limited to, a birth certificate, immunization record, former school record, or proof of residency.

  • Transportation to the school of origin provided in collaboration with the child welfare agency. 

  • Free school meals through the National School Lunch Program during their time in foster care. 

Students in Foster Care May Also Receive Assistance With the Following:

  • Enrollment in school

  • Backpacks and school supplies

  • Clothing, toiletries, and other basic needs

  • Information on school programs, including early childhood programs

  • Referrals to community resources 

ESSA requires that districts designate a point of contact to facilitate communication and collaboration with the Arizona Department of Education, the state and local child welfare agencies, and to participate in the discussion around best interest, school changes, enrollment, educational services and other concerns. If you have questions or concerns about your student in foster care, you may contact Shelley Oestmann, KUSD Foster Care Point of Contact.

Foster Care Points of Contact

Kingman Unified School District LEA Foster Care Point of Contact

Shelley Oestmann
Director of Federal Programs

Email Shelley Oestmann
Phone: 928-753-5678

Arizona Department of Education Foster Care Point of Contact

Joey L. Taylor
ADE Foster Care Education Coordinator

Email Joey L. Taylor or Email Foster Care
Phone: 602-542-3569

Department of Child Safety Regional Liaison Point of Contact

Northwest Region
Caryn Wagner

Email Caryn Wagner

Foster Care Transportation Plan

The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) requires that school districts and child welfare agencies collaborate to develop and implement clear written procedures governing how transportation will be provided, arranged, and funded to maintain children in foster care in their school of origin, when it’s in the child’s best interest, during the time students are in foster care.

Under ESSA, transportation procedures for children in foster care must ensure that:

  • Children in foster care needing transportation to their schools of origin will promptly receive that transportation in a cost-effective manner and in accordance with section 475(4)(A) of the Social Security Act; and

  • If there are additional costs incurred in providing transportation to the school of origin, the Local Education Agency (LEA) will provide such transportation if (1) the local child welfare agency agrees to reimburse the LEA for the cost of such transportation; (2) the LEA agrees to pay for the cost; or (3) the LEA and local child welfare agency agree to share the cost. (ESEA 1112(c)(5)(B)).

Post-Secondary Resources

Students who are in the foster care system are considered independent under Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) guidelines and will not need to provide financial information from the parents and or legal guardian.  They are also eligible for an in-state tuition waiver valid at Arizona public community colleges/universities and additional Arizona Education and Training Voucher (ETV) funds that could total $5,000 per year.

Please look below for aid available for students who have been in or are currently in the foster care system.

Post-secondary Resources