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Educational Records for children in foster care

Published September 2012

Educational stability and continuity is very important for children in foster care. Here are some common questions about educational records for children in foster care.

Q.  Must a school transfer records when a child changes schools because of a change in foster care placement?
A.  Yes.  Whenever a child in foster care changes schools because of a change in placement, the resident school must transfer the child’s educational records to the new school within five school days.  (See Iowa Code section 280.29)  This is regardless of the nature of the child’s foster care placement (family foster care, residential placement, etc.).  This is a requirement.  There is no permissible reason for schools to refuse or delay sending these records, such as the child owing a fine or fee. 

Q.  Can a school deny access to a student record when presented with a consent authorizing release of educational information form?
A.  No.  Under federal law, a school must permit a parent’s authorized representative (such as a person with a release of information form signed by a parent) to inspect and review a child’s educational records.

Q.  Can a school refuse to release a student record because the requester is not a school?
A.  No.  If the requester seeks records of a child in foster care, such as a provider of foster care or the Iowa Department of Human Services, and has a release signed by a parent, then the school must honor the request.