Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ah, summer. I write this on a beautiful Michigan summer day (which changes quickly). Low humidity, birds singing, sunshine and flowers. Not a time to think about (yikes!) SCHOOL! If you are new to kinship care and know the children will be with you in the fall, you probably should start making your lists so there will be a smooth transition.
The list not only includes regular kid stuff (clothes and supplies), but the business of registering. In the book, A Kinship Guide to Rescuing Children for Grandparents and Other Relatives As Parents, the chapter titled “School: A Child’s Full Time Job” divides the task of school preparation into two parts – Registering and Living with School; Educational support from home.
It is the registering of children that requires some thoughtful summer preparation. Here we go:
Call the school system or visit so they can get to know you. Ask about the required paperwork for registering children even if it is a school they have already been attending. Kinship caregivers may need:
Birth certificate
Proof of certain required immunizations
Test results for grade level (from previous school), and
Proof of the kin’s authorization to care for the child such as guardianship papers.
Let’s talk about these items. Often, in the urgency of placement or the disarray of the child’s life with parents, records required for moving smoothly through our society may be lost. Documents like the birth certificate or immunizations will require time to update.
If the children have already attended school, start with the previous system to have records forwarded to the new school. Kin will need official authorization for this request.
If the child is just beginning or previous school records are not available, try another route: for lost birth certificates contact the state Office of Records where the child was born. There may be another step involved here – the child’s social security number (1.800.772.1213, or ).
For immunization records, kin could try to contact the doctor or clinic where the early childhood shots were provided. If not, bringing children up-to-date will have to start now in the summer.
Some school systems will only accept court ordered documentation of the kin’s authority – guardianship, temporary child welfare placement, or adoption. Other forms such as Power of Attorney or consent of parents may not be acceptable. Be sure to have this documentation in place before school starts.
Children in relative placement will have the help of the agency to get through the process of registering for school. Children who are with kin at the request of parents may need parent involvement in obtaining the necessary records. We’ll do another blog later on kids and getting ready for school. As you all know, every situation is different. Advocating for the children requires stamina. Take your vitamins.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response to my query about the stats you gave. Your response was comprehensive.
I know of Joseph Crumbley and that he is a good source.

I have shared your blog with a number of Relative Parents and others concerned with kin families in the Greater Houston area where I am.