Immunization Reminder for Students in Foster Care

April 1, 2021

Students in Foster Care may not be excluded from in-person learning due to a lack of immunization records.

Section 1111(g)(1)(E) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), requires a best interest determination when a student enters foster care or changes placement to determine whether the student should remain in their school of origin or enroll in a new school. If it is in the student’s best interest to enroll in a new school, the school must immediately enroll the student, even if the student is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment (including immunization records).

Students in foster care must be allowed to attend school and participate fully in school activities, regardless of immunization status (see WAC 246-105-060). For more information, please see the Immunization Manual for schools.

Children in Foster Care Children in foster care must follow the same rules as all other children and have a completed CIS on file at the school or child care they attend. However, the Every Student Succeeds Act states: “If it’s not in the child’s best interest to stay in his or her school of origin, the student must be immediately enrolled in the new school, even if the child is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment. The enrolling school shall immediately contact the school last attended to obtain relevant academic and other records”.

Foster children in WA State are required to be immunized according to the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Recommended Immunization Schedule. Every child/youth in out-of-home placement should receive an EPSDT/Well-Child examination, which includes immunizations if needed, within 30 days of entering any foster or relative placement. If the child is missing immunizations the foster parent must take the child to a health care provider as soon as medically possible for catch-up immunizations according to the ACIP/CDC catch-up schedule.  WAC 110-148-1555.