Dependency court cases concern children who have been determined to have been, or are at risk of, abuse, neglect, or abandonment while in the care of their parents or legal guardian. The goal is to preserve and strengthen families whenever possible, removing the child(ren) only when their welfare cannot be adequately safeguarded without such removal.
The Fostering Student Success program, supported through an interagency agreement with ChildNet (Broward’s child welfare agency) and other community stakeholders, works to provide support, technical assistance and training to remove barriers and enhance collaborative efforts aimed at increasing student success for youth in foster care.
A representative from the Student Services Department (Dependency Court Liaison) monitors juvenile dependency shelter hearings daily, and attends review hearings as needed. Educational information provided to the court and ChildNet supports the stabilization of the child in school to ensure continuing academic instruction and achievement. The Liaison provides feedback to school-based personnel (Foster Care Designee) so that appropriate action may be taken to ensure the safety of children. Transportation, to the extent feasible, is arranged to maintain a level of consistency and continuity for students in foster care despite changes in their living situation.
Additionally, the program has a guidance counselor whose role is to raise the educational awareness and achievement of secondary level students so that graduation from high school and readiness for post-secondary education and/or vocational training is attainable. The guidance counselor works directly with child welfare staff , partnership agencies and youth in foster care to achieve these goals.
Laurel E. Thompson, PhD., Director