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Improving the Educational Outcomes of Children in Out-of-Home Placements

Children in out-of-home placement are more likely to struggle in school than their peers.  Recognizing this problem, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and the New Jersey Department of Education, working together with community stakeholders and advocates, have developed a strategy to help these children succeed.  The product of this collaborative effort is Improving the Educational Outcomes of Children in Out-of-Home Placements: An Interagency Guidance Manual.  This manual offers strategies and outlines responsibilities for local school districts and local child welfare agencies to ensure educational stability for children in out-of-home placement.  The manual includes a five page model memorandum of agreement for school districts and child welfare agencies that pledges mutual cooperation in executing the responsibilities and fulfilling the goals listed in the manual, including minimizing a child’s school transfers and ensuring that funding disputes between school districts does not delay a child’s enrollment in school.  This manual is an important step to help these children succeed and would not have been possible without the work and commitment of the DOE/DCF Education Working Group’s thirty-two individual members, including SPAN's Legal and TA Director.