Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Fullerton) announced that Governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB 723 into law, ensuring the right for foster youth to have educational stability and promoting better educational outcomes. AB 723 addresses the critical issue of school stability for foster youth by clarifying and expanding the definition of a foster child’s “school of origin.”
“A disproportionate number of foster youth attend non-public schools, which serve students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Program teams have determined that there is no appropriate public education program available to meet their unique needs,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “In order to promote school stability and educational success, all students should be allowed to remain at their school of origin.”
Foster youth have the right to stay in the school they attended when they first entered the foster care system, the school they recently attended, or any school they have attended in the last 15 months and feel connected to. Educational continuity is essential for foster youth, as they often face frequent placement changes, leading to educational disruptions and a staggering 33% graduation rate, compared to the state average of 84%.
California’s foster youth frequently attend non-public, nonsectarian schools (NPSs), which cater to students with disabilities for whom no suitable public education program is available. Unfortunately, existing state law lacked clarity on whether NPSs could qualify as the “school of origin” when a foster youth changes placements. Some school districts explicitly excluded NPSs from this definition, resulting in harmful educational delays and disruptions. AB 723 clarifies that NPSs are indeed part of a foster child’s “school of origin,” in alignment with special education requirements.
“Our foster youth already face numerous challenges and transitions within the foster system,” continuedAssemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “By maintaining these vulnerable youth in a consistent, supportive environment, we can ensure that they grow into the future leaders we know they can be.”
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva represents the 67th Assembly District, which includes the Orange County communities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, and La Palma, as well as the Los Angeles County communities of Artesia, Cerritos, and Hawaiian Gardens.