DHS & Information Sharing (SB414)
Senate Bill 414 is a law passed by the 2007 legislature regarding children in foster, residential, or group care under the custody of DHS. Much of the measure addresses the placement of siblings in care as well as the need to track the progress of students in care. The bill also includes a provision requiring DHS workers to report to the court on school attendance and school progress.
Providing Student Records to DHS
The Uninterrupted Scholars Act (FERPA amendment) allows schools to release information to a caseworker or representative of the agency without parental consent, but only when the agency is “legally responsible for the care and protection of the student” and has the right to access a student’s case plan. Staff can provide student records to a caseworker if the agency has legal custody, or has issued a court order or subpoena. The amendment applies to all students, both general and special education.
When your school receives a letter from MESD, please follow the Flow Chart protocol in order to comply with the order. This is the new Synergy system for tracking students in foster care!
School secretaries no longer need to enter or delete the DHS code when they receive a notification letter. This will all be done by MESD.
MESD receives the letter, makes the changes (including adding the branch information) in Synergy and forwards to the letter to the school.
School releases and forwards the Educational Records to named DHS contact in the letter, makes a note of contact restrictions and behavior and safety information, and (if elementary school) initiates the Each Day Counts protocol.
MESD will notify schools when they receive letters and remove the Synergy code when the student is no longer in foster care.