Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D – Concord) has introduced Senate Bill 1568, which allows former foster youth to stay in their existing schools when they move out of the foster care system.
“Many foster youth find themselves moving between foster homes and in and out of foster care. This bill will allow those children to avoid moving from school to school to school,” said DeSaulnier. “It is unfortunate that these children have to move between so many homes. Foster children are our most vulnerable population, and we should do everything we can to at least create some consistency in their education. They need not be the new kid at school while they are the new kid at home.”
The legislation, SB 1568, builds on AB 1933 (Brownley) in 2009, which permitted current foster children to remain at their original school regardless of placement. This was an important piece of legislation meant to mitigate the damage done to foster children who move to multiple schools through their time in foster care.
However, AB 1933 applies only to children while they are in foster care. SB 1568 expands AB 1933 to cover children as they move in and out of foster care. Foster children not only move from home to home, forcing them to change schools; they also move in and out of reunification with their parents. For example, parents might regain custody of their child, months or years later, only to lose them again. This can happen multiple times in a foster child’s life, forcing them to change schools repeatedly. Even if it happens only once, the damage to the child’s education and self-esteem is significant and well documented.
DeSaulnier represents the Seventh Senate District, which includes most of Contra Costa County.