The School Enrollment Process for Group Home Youth: An Examination of Interagency Collaboration on Behalf of Youth Transitioning into New Group Homesedit
When children are moved into a new group home, best practices would suggest that collaboration is required between public child welfare workers, group home staff, and school staff to ensure an appropriate educational setting for the child with minimal delay. The purpose of this research was to examine the amount of time between placement in a new group home and enrollment and attendance in a new school. The study also sought to better understand the reasons for delays when they occur. The study included data on 45 newly placed group home youth served in 26 randomly selected group homes in 3 counties in California. Data were obtained through case record reviews and interviews conducted with social workers, group home personnel, and school staff. The data suggest that the tools and legal codes designed to facilitate the process of enrolling group home youth in school frequently are not complied with or used. Delays in enrollment and attendance were common, particularly for youth requiring special educational services; inter-agency communication among responsible parties was infrequent; and all parties too often erroneously relied on others to carry out fundamental tasks associated with school placement. Suggested procedures are offered for public child welfare workers and other parties to improve coordination and educational outcomes for youth.