(a) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that all pupils in foster care and those who are homeless, as defined by the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC. Sec. 11301 et seq.), have a meaningful opportunity to meet the challenging state pupil academic achievement standards to which all pupils are held. In fulfilling their responsibilities to these pupils, educators, county placing agencies, care providers, advocates, and the juvenile courts shall work together to maintain stable school placements and to ensure that each pupil is placed in the least restrictive educational programs, and has access to the academic resources, services, and extracurricular and enrichment activities that are available to all pupils, including, but not necessarily limited to, interscholastic sports administered by the California Interscholastic Federation. In all instances, educational and school placement decisions shall be based on the best interests of the child and shall consider, among other factors, educational stability and the opportunity to be educated in the least restrictive educational setting necessary to achieve academic progress.
(2) A foster child who changes residences pursuant to a court order or decision of a child welfare worker or a homeless child or youth shall be immediately deemed to meet all residency requirements for participation in interscholastic sports or other extracurricular activities.
(3) (A) Pursuant to the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC. Sec. 11301 et seq.), public schools, including charter schools, and county offices of education shall immediately enroll a homeless child or youth seeking enrollment except where the enrollment would be in conflict with subdivision (d) of Section 47605.
(B) The department and the State Department of Social Services shall identify representatives from the department, the State Department of Social Services, and other state agencies that have experience in homeless youth issues to develop policies and practices to support homeless children and youths and to ensure that child abuse and neglect reporting requirements do not create barriers to the school enrollment and attendance of homeless children or youths, including, but not limited to, ensuring that a pupil who is a homeless child or youth is not reported to law enforcement by school personnel if the sole reason for the report is the pupil?s homelessness. The selected representatives shall present the policies and practices to the Superintendent and the State Department of Social Services to be considered for implementation or dissemination, as appropriate.
(b) Every county office of education shall make available to agencies that place children in licensed children?s institutions information on educational options for children residing in licensed children?s institutions within the jurisdiction of the county office of education for use by the placing agencies in assisting parents and foster children to choose educational placements.
(c) For purposes of individuals with exceptional needs residing in licensed children?s institutions, making a copy of the annual service plan, prepared pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 56205, available to those special education local plan areas that have revised their local plans pursuant to Section 56836.03 shall meet the requirements of subdivision (b).
(d) For purposes of this section, ?homeless child or youth? and ?homeless children and youths? are defined in Section 11434a(2) of Title 42 of the United States Code.
(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 491, Sec. 2.)