April 16, 2014
Final Reports
San Mateo Courts - Civil Grand Jury 1998 Final Report: Education of Abused and Neglected Children
Background | Findings | Commendation | Recommendations
Background:

The San Mateo County Human Services Agency (HSA) operates the County Receiving (CRH), to which abandoned, abused and neglected children are assigned for an average stay of less than 30 days. About 80% are of school age. Most are placed in foster homes and attend nearby schools. A few children remain at CRH for as long as three or even six months, typically because of their ages or emotional needs, during which time they are legally required to attend school; however, this legal requirement is not uniformly enforced.

Although usually under significant stress, children placed in foster homes and attending nearby schools may or may not be psychologically evaluated, educationally assessed and appropriately placed, monitored and assisted during their transition to new families, homes and schools. Foster parents may or may not receive child education counseling.

At one time, the office of the San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools (CSS) provided instruction at CRH; however, instruction was withdrawn because of financial loss due to low average daily attendance. Full and part-time HSA counselors, who are not credentialed educators, tutor CRH children who do not attend school. CRH children do not receive educational assessments.

Findings:

Approximately 15 incoming children are assigned to CRH each month. HSA has asked CSS to provide on-site schooling by a credentialed teacher at CRH. CSS has declined to provide on-site schooling because of anticipated financial loss. As an alternative, CSS has suggested that the San Mateo County Office of Education provide a counselor, at HSA’s expense, to encourage enrollment at public schools, serve as liaison between CRH and other schools, and perform a preliminary assessment of each child who comes to CRH.

HSA and CSS have met recently for the purpose of jointly addressing the unmet educational needs of abused and neglected children.

There are no longitudinal or other statistical analyses of services provided and results realized for the school age population at CRH and other schools attended by foster children.

Commendation:

The administrative and teaching staff of Abbott Middle School and Hillsdale High School, which children assigned to County Receiving Home may attend, have exercised initiative in providing educational services tailored to the needs of abused and neglected children.

Recommendations:
Recommendation 32: The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and the San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools should, during fiscal year 1999-2000 and annually thereafter, jointly fund a certificated counselor whose primary job is to encourage children assigned to the County Receiving Home to enroll in public schools, to serve as liaison between the County Receiving Home and schools, to provide guidance to and promote the self-esteem of County Receiving Home children, and to perform preliminary assessments, develop educational plans and make ongoing case management recommendations for children residing at the County Receiving Home.
Recommendation 33: The Director of the San Mateo County Human Services Agency and the San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools should, by June 1999, jointly design and implement longitudinal and other statistical analyses of services provided and results realized for the school age population at the County Receiving Home.
Recommendation 34: Representatives of the San Mateo County Human Services Agency, the San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools, Abbott Middle School and Hillsdale High School should meet, by June 1999 and quarterly thereafter, to monitor and evaluate the results of efforts to address the educational needs of abused and neglected children.
Recommendation 35: The Director of the San Mateo County Human Services Agency and the San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools, in cooperation with a Judge or Commissioner of the Juvenile Branch of the Superior Court of San Mateo County, should meet during fiscal year 1998-1999 to consider the efficacy of court-ordered school attendance for some or all children assigned to the County Receiving Home who do not attend school.
Recommendation 36: The San Mateo County 1999 Grand Jury should monitor the responses to, and implementation of, the preceding recommendations

 

© 2014 Superior Court of San Mateo County