22 Child L. Prac. 1 (2003-2004)

handle is hein.journals/chilawpt22 and id is 1 raw text is: AN
Ch.,.ild Law Practice

Vol. 22 No. 1

March 2003

Helping Lawyers Help Kids

Education Law Primer for Child Welfare Professionals (Part One)
by Kathleen McNaught

Anyone in the child welfare system in a position to address the educational
needs of children in foster care can be an advocate. This can include
parents, parent attorneys, caseworkers, child attorneys and advocates,

foster parents, agency attorneys, and
role everyone in the system can play
article in this series in the November
L aws can be powerful tools for
you, as advocates, to meet the
educational needs of children in
foster care. However, like any tools,
if you don't know how to use them,
they don't provide much help. This
article highlights federal laws and
cases related to education, and
provides practice tips for advocates
in the child welfare system to better
serve the educational needs of
children and obtain access to
needed school programs and
This article appears in two parts.
Part one includes key laws relating

many others. For more insight into the
in educational advocacy, see the first
2002 issue of CLP.
to the right to education, school
records and information, children
with disabilities, and school disci-
pline. Part two addresses laws relat-
ing to educating three special popu-
lations: homeless children, young
children, and teenagers; and relevant
provisions from the No Child Left
Behind Act.
State laws create the right to a public
education for children in this coun-
try.1 All states require that children
of certain ages attend school.2 Most
states' laws provide criminal sanc-
tions for parents whose children do
not regularly attend school.' From
this requirement to attend school,
children obtain the right to attend
school, if they are within the re-
quired ages.4
Federal law applies to the educa-
tion of children in two ways. First,
most federal laws related to educa-
tion have financial incentives at-
tached to encourage state compli-
ance. States receive significant fed-
eral support in educating the chil-
dren of their state if they comply
with these laws. Second, federal law
E-mail: childlawpractice@staff.abanet.org

applies through the U.S. constitu-
tion. While the constitution does not
require states to provide public edu-
cation for children, it does require
that if states create a right to public
education, the provision of that
education must not violate the
Practice Tips
* Ensure children in foster care
receive the same right to an
education as all children.
* Use the laws discussed in this
article to benefit children in foster
care in your state.
* Learn which laws have specific
(Continued next page)
What's Inside:
The Impact of HIPAA on
Child Abuse and Neglect
Children's Suggestibility:
New Test May Prove Useful
in Legal Investigations
Parents Adopting Special
Needs Children Eligible for
Flat Tax Credit
16 ABA Supports New
Uniform Acts
*   Internet: http://www.abanet.org/child

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