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May 2006Vol. 7, No. 4Making Education Decisions for Children in Foster Care

Two significant barriers to full educational access for children in foster care are concerns about confidentiality regarding children's records and misunderstanding about who can make educational decisions for these children. These hurdles are addressed in a new publication from the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Mythbusting: Breaking Down Confidentiality and Decision-Making Barriers to Meet the Education Needs of Children in Foster Care.

The publication's contents are organized to meet the specific information needs of parents, youth, foster parents, judges, children’s attorneys, guardians ad litem, and court-appointed special advocates. The four goals of the publication are to:


  • Provide context for addressing the education needs of children in foster care
  • Debunk the myths about confidentiality and decision-making
  • Explain relevant Federal laws
  • Suggest strategies to overcome confidentiality and decision-making barriers

A chapter on promising practices from the field offers strategies for encouraging the information sharing and overcoming confidentiality barriers. Examples include the health and education "passports" created for children in foster care in California and Washington that allow records to follow children as they change placements.

Other features of the guide include specific information for addressing the needs of children in special education and interactive links between sections and to outside resources.

Mythbusting is available online from the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law: (PDF - 2,004 KB)

Related Items

Read more about educational advocacy for children in foster care in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Education Advocacy Model for Foster Children" (June 2005)
  • "Promoting a Positive Educational Experience for Children in Foster Care" (October 2004)
  • "Overcoming Educational Barriers for Children in Foster Care" (May 2004)