Self-Advocacy Tool:Best Interest Determination for Children in Foster Care

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Students who are in foster care have the legal right to remain in the school they attended prior to being placed in care or before their last change in foster care placement (group home, foster home, kinship care, and congregate/residential placement) also called the “school of origin.” Every time a student in care changes placement an individualized Best Interest Determination must be made on behalf of the child. Students who are in care should remain in their school of origin unless it is determined that staying in that school is not in their best interest or a court order says otherwise.  This right is called “school stability.”   

This form issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) contains a list of questions that can be used to help make the decision about whether remaining in the same school is in the best interest of the student. Parents, students, attorneys for the child and others who support the family or child can be part of these important decisions. The child’s Educational Decision Maker (EDM) must be included in these meetings.   

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