Colorado received national recognition for providing financial support for the reimbursement of transportation, in HB 18-1306, Improving Educational Stability For Foster Youth, as the first state to legislate the implementation of the federal law that compels school systems to ensure that, among other things, foster kids have a ride to school.
Mesa County Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division is one of two model counties in the state accessing these funds to help keep foster kids in their school of origin.
Too often the community believes that child welfare is about a child’s safety when in reality a child's well-being is Child Welfare’s first goal. A child’s educational needs are equally as important as their physical safety and emotional well-being.
According to MCDHS Child Welfare Manager Hannah Webster “When a child or youth is placed into out of home placement, the child is subject to multiple changes and transitions all at once. The funding from this bill allows us to maintain some stability, structure and sense of community for a child by offering mileage reimbursement to get the child/youth to their school of origin if that is determined to be in their best interest."
Studies continue to show the more school moves a child has the less likely they are to graduate from high school.
The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Administrative Review Division recently began reviewing whether county departments are following the proper process in making the best interest determination regarding a child’s potential change in schools as a result of a placement, or change in placement. Initial data reflects a need for significant improvement in this area. CDHS recognized Mesa and Arapahoe as the only two counties in the state making strides to improve that data by leveraging of HB 1306 funding for the benefit of foster families.