Foster child student bill advances to Senate
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Legislation that would make it easier for foster children to change schools after a change in home placement has been approved by the state House.
House Bill 312, sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, R-Stanford, will “ensure that we are immediately meeting the needs of these children who are already in a traumatic situation.”
Meade said key provisions in the bill will expedite the transfer of the child’s confidential records between school districts, improve state collaboration with local school districts with regard to the child’s needs, require closed foster homes to be placed on a state registry, and clarify rules for foster home placement.
“The KDE (the Kentucky Department of Education) will tell you there is no need for (HB 312),” said Meade. “I’ve got countless emails from teachers across the state as well as administrators across the state who say this is a major problem in their districts.”
HB 312 complements Meade’s “foster child bill of rights” legislation in 2019 HB 158 which became law last year. That legislation provides children in out-of-home placement in Kentucky with 15 statutory rights including the right of a foster child to have their individual educational needs met.
Former school principal Rep. Kim Banta, R-Fort Mitchell, said she would have “loved to have had a bill like this” during her decade as a school administrator.
“We floundered so many times at the expense of children being transferred without all the proper information, and I am just thrilled to be voting ‘yes’ on this today,” said Banta.
Also supporting HB 312 is retired educator and House Minority Caucus Chair Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, who said “being an educator getting this information (between schools) has been very difficult.”
HB 312 passed the House by a 91-0 vote. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.