Kelly issues Executive Order on foster children and educationLeah Fliter
Governor Laura Kelly today issued an executive order directing the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Education to prepare an annual report on educational outcomes for children and families.
The information to be provided is similar to requirements in a bill passed by the 2020 Legislature but vetoed by the Governor. Governor Kelly said she vetoed the bill over concerns about the cost of another provision in the bill that would have a created a new state scholarship program for postsecondary education.
State and local data indicate that children in foster care have significantly lower education outcomes than other students. At the same time, the number of children in foster care has increased by 43 percent over the past decade.
The Legislature has also created a Special Committee for Foster Care Oversight to study issues over the interim before the next session. It is directed to receive input from families, social workers, and other stakeholders on progress and shortfalls in the State’s child welfare system, including quality of care for children in foster care, access to health and mental health services, trends in contributing factors, program outcomes from the Family First Prevention Services Act, and barriers to sharing information across stakeholders; and make recommendations to the Legislature on additional improvements and oversight needed to improve the State’s child welfare system.
The Governor’s order requires reporting the following educational measures:
— The graduation rate of students in foster care at the end of each academic year;
— The number and percentage of students in foster care who were promoted to the next grade level;
— The number and percentage of students in foster care who were suspended during the school year, and the average number of days each student spent in suspension;
— The number and percentage of students in foster care who were expelled during the school year;
— State standardized assessment scores for students in foster care, including the number and percentage of students meeting academic standards as determined by the State Board of Education;
— The number and percentage of students in foster care enrolled in any preschool-aged at-risk program, Kansas preschool pilot program or early childhood special education program under section 619 of part B of the individuals with disabilities act;
— The number and percentage of students in foster care who participated in the mental health intervention team pilot program or a similar mental health program;
— The total number of students in foster care enrolled in a school district or accredited nonpublic school and the disaggregated number and percentage of students in foster care enrolled in school districts and accredited nonpublic schools;
— De-identified disaggregated race and ethnicity data for each data set required;
— Any additional data elements that both the Kansas State Department of Education and the Kansas Department for Children and Families deem appropriate for inclusion.