Governor Signs Legislation Supporting School Stability for Children in DCS Custody - Articles

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Posted by: Christy Gibson on May 23, 2013

On May 14, 2013, Governor Haslam signed into law new legislation that will allow foster children to remain enrolled in the same public school they attended prior to being placed in the custody of the Department of Children’s Services (DCS). The Department must first determine that it is in the child’s best interest to remain in the original school. The child’s guardian ad litem or attorney now has standing to request a hearing before the school board to review the child’s educational placement.

The legislation also provides that school records of children in DCS custody or those of individuals receiving extension of foster care services shall be provided to the Department at no charge and within five days of DCS requesting the records, excluding weekends and state holidays. The release of school records to DCS applies to the records of students who owe a debt or restitution to the school, though the release does not waive or reduce the debt or restitution owed.

The bill, SB0496/HB0243, was sponsored by Senator Dolores R. Gresham and Representative John J. DeBerry, Jr. The legislation was recommended by the Court Improvement Program Work Group, which is appointed by the Supreme Court. The legislation is based on the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351) and the Uninterrupted Scholars Act of 2013 (P.L. 112-278). For more information on both laws, go to