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Education FAQ for Parents and Foster Parents

When it is in the best interest of the child, the Department of Children’s Services attempts to keep the student in the same school he was in before entering custody.  When that is not possible or not in the best interest of the child, the student attends the school of zone where the resource home is located.

First contact the DCS Family Service Worker (FSW) or Provider Agency case manager.  He or she may be able to address your concern.  If not, the FSW in each office has access to an Education Specialist.  The primary responsibility of that person is to advocate for your child in any matter related to school.  That includes visiting schools, attending meetings, and helping solve difficult issues.

Yes, unless a judge has specifically revoked your rights to do so.  You may attend meetings with teachers, go to Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, etc.  You should always let your DCS FSW or Provider Agency case manager know when you are going to go to a meeting and prior to any school visit. 

All children in DCS custody are automatically eligible for free lunch and breakfast programs.

In most all cases, yes.  The new school is to use the IEP from the previous school to provide comparable services until an IEP meeting is scheduled to see if any changes are necessary.

Immediately contact your DCS FSW or Provider Agency case manager.  The FSW will work with the Education Specialist in order to ensure that your student’s rights are protected.

In Tennessee, the State Board of Education has established minimum requirements for graduation.  These can be found on the Education Department's site.

However, be aware that each school system may add additional requirements to the State’s minimum requirements.  It is always best to go to the school’s website or contact your DCS FSW or Provider Agency case manager to ensure that you know the exact requirements.

In this instance, you should contact your DCS FSW or Provider Agency case manager.  Each public school system has rules for approving students to pursue a high school equivalency diploma.  There are state rules as well.

It could.  Because each school system may add additional requirements to the State’s minimum requirements, your child’s may need additional credits.  If your child is a senior and must change schools, immediately contact your DCS FSW or Provider Agency case manager.  Schools are most often willing to work with our Educational Specialists to come to a solution.

The student should schedule a time to talk with the school counselor at the school.  In addition, the DCS Independent Living Division may be able to offer the student additional benefits, funding, or programming.  You should contact your DCS FSW or Provider Agency case manager to schedule a time to speak with an Independent Living Specialist.