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Students Living in Foster Care

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), includes key requirements for supporting the educational stability of students living in foster care. The requirements are in place to assist students with their success in school and extra-curricular activities as well as reducing the number of educational disruptions and increasing school stability. Legislation during the 2017 New Mexico Legislative Session enhanced some of the ESSA provisions by applying the ESSA requirements to all districts and state charter schools regardless of whether Title I funds were received.

Foster care is defined as 24-hour substitute care for children who are placed away from their parents or guardians and who are in custody of state and/or tribal child welfare agencies. The Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) is New Mexico’s child welfare agency. Foster placements include, but are not limited to, foster family homes, foster homes of relatives, group homes, residential facilities, emergency shelters and pre-adoptive homes.

New Mexico Legislation 2017 includes the following components:

  • Each LEA/state charter school shall designate an individual to serve as a point of contact for students in foster care
  • Convening or participating in Best Interest Determination meetings in collaboration with the Children, Youth and Families Department pursuant to state policies
  • Ensuring that transportation occurs to the student’s school of origin if it is in their best interest to remain in the school of origin.

Best Interest Determination Meetings

The Best Interest Determination meeting is required to decide whether it is in the student’s best interest to stay in the school of origin when the foster placement changes to an area outside of the school’s attendance area. All students in foster care transferring to Los Lunas Schools must first have a Best Interest Determination meeting. Los Lunas Schools will work with the Foster Family, student’s CYFD Case Manager, student’s educational decision maker, and other individuals as appropriate and directed by the school district and/or CYFD. Please contact the LLS Point of Contact to schedule a BID as soon as possible when transferring a student to Los Lunas Schools. The BID must occur prior to the student enrolling in the Los Lunas Schools.