Foster Care Information and Resources

There are many resources and information to help you understand and support the educational success of students in foster care. Review the recommended resources and information to get started.

Education Staff


 New Foster Care Guidance Documents

  • ESSA Points of Contact
    Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires designated points of contact for child welfare and education agencies to support school stability for students in foster care (i.e., education best-interest, transportation coordination). The Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) Educational Specialist serves as the Child Welfare Point of Contact for ESSA purposes. Similarly, the LEA Point of Contact for ESSA, in most instances, is the LEA Foster Care Liaison.

  • Education Best Interest Decision Making
    The education and child welfare partners will have an increased understanding and road map for how to work together to support education-best interest decisions, resulting in more informed education; greater school stability; and improved school transitions, when school moves occur; ultimately, creating better educational outcomes for students in foster care.   

  • Dispute Resolution Guidance
    Fostering Connections Act and the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) require coordination among agencies at the State and local level to ensure the educational stability of children in foster care. The local education agency (LEA) and the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)  should make every effort to reach an agreement regarding the appropriate school placement and transportation coordination of students in foster care. The dispute resolution process should be fair to all parties and reached in an expeditious manner. 

Texas Foster Care & Student Success Resource Guide

Foster Care Resource Guide Cover

This guide is the product of collaboration with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Supreme Court of Texas, and the Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families (Children's Commission). This e-guide and training manual contains a variety of key researched-based topics and calls attention to important matters related to the education of students in foster care. The guide promotes best practices and contains numerous tips, tools, resources, and links to more information.

Fostering Connections Act

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (Fostering Connections) is a federal law that includes important improvements for children and youth who are in foster care or are at risk of entering foster care. This document reviews the provisions designed to impact youth and young adults.

COVID-19 FAQ for Students in Foster Care

As Local Education Agencies (LEAs) look to respond to individual student needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to consider the unique and individualized needs of students in foster care. Maintaining positive connections, ensuring educational continuity, expediting enrollment, withdrawals, and streamlining transitions in the event of a school move is paramount during this time.

PEIMS and Data

Clarifies expectations regarding the PEIMS foster care indicator code, identifying students in foster care, and acceptable documentation.

School of Origin Determination

This document specifies the determination for students in foster care for the school of origin.

Foster Care and Student Success: Texas Data and Trends for 2018

Released February 2021, this data and trends report is the first of its kind in Texas. It represents over two years of intensive collaborative work, cross-systems data sharing, joint learning, and discussion of key findings about the education outcomes and school experiences of Texas students in foster care.


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Special Provisions for Students in Foster Care

 A comprehensive overview of ESSA foster care provisions and the requirements for LEAs.

Educational Stability Training Video

The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) and TEA have released a video training on available resources that will help your LEA provide students in foster care educational stability and facilitate their transitions.

TASB Forms

These forms provide educators with resources to support collaborative education decision-making and transportation coordination with child welfare organizations. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires education agencies to collaborate with child welfare agencies and to maintain school stability for students in foster care. Both forms are included in the single PDF linked above.

Educational Best-Interest Factors

DFPS, in collaboration with relevant school officials, is tasked with determining if it is in the best interest of a student in foster care to remain in their school of origin. This form walks school employees through a series of questions and steps to support collaborative education-decision making in the best interest determination.

Individual Transportation Plan Template

This template helps school staff plan transportation for a student who will remain in their school of origin. With this template, schools can make decisions in a manner that is cost-effective, reliable, and manageable.

Transition Planning Guide for Students in Foster Care Receiving Special Education Services

This guide clarifies the similarities and differences in the transition planning processes in the child welfare and special education systems. The information also includes best practices and recommendations for improved coordination between systems to better support youth in foster care with disabilities during the transition to adulthood.

Parents and Caregivers

Foster Care Education Contacts

District Foster Care Liaisons, Regional Foster Care Champions, and DFPS Education Specialists are available to support your child's education.

Talking to Foster Youth about School

Sample questions, developed by the Texas Foster Youth Justice Project and alumni of foster care, to help you elicit information from foster youth about their school experience.

Beyond the Basics: How Extracurricular Activities Can Benefit Foster Youth

This study finds that extracurricular involvement addresses three areas of concern for foster youth: academic achievement, behavioral problems, and identity development. 


Child Welfare Information Gateway

Free resources to help caregivers and professionals understand and address childhood traumatic experiences and approach relationship building from a different perspective.

Recognizing and Treating Child Traumatic Stress

Learn about the signs of traumatic stress, its impact on children, treatment options, and how families and caregivers can help.

Sesame Street

Provides videos and activities that address coping with traumatic experiences in a kid-friendly way.

Establishing Secure Attachment with Your New Foster or Adopted Tween or Teen

Guidance for caregivers on regulating their own emotions and stress in order to be the healthy, nurturing, and safe adult that their foster or adopted children need.

Post-secondary Education

  • TEA Graduation Information​​
    • Graduation requirements,
    • Automatic college admissions
    • Foundation High School program
    • Graduation reports
  • State College Tuition Waiver
    • Students who were in foster care are eligible to have college tuition and fees waived at Texas state-supported colleges or universities, medical schools, dental schools, junior colleges, and technical institutes.
  • Texas Education and Training Voucher
    • A federally funded program designed to assist with the education and training needs of students in for formerly in DFPS Managing Conservatorship. Students can receive up to $5,000 a year to attend college or vocational programs. 

Transition to Adulthood

Guidance for Foster Parents: Helping Youth Transition to Adulthood

"The transition to adulthood and self-sufficiency can be challenging for any young person but can be particularly daunting for those who have been living in foster care. Foster parents can help youth in their care prepare for any upcoming challenges. This factsheet provides guidance on how foster parents can help youth build a foundation for a successful transition to adult life outside of foster care. It describes the challenges youth face, how the adolescent brain affects them during this time, and Federal laws and programs. It also provides concrete ways they can partner with youth."

Preparation for Adult Living (PAL)

Provides support for students in DFPS Managing Conservatorship who are at least 16 years or older. PAL benefits can include a transitional living allowance, aftercare room and board assistance, and other support services for independent living.