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Collaboration in Action:
The Uninterrupted Scholars Act

Thursday, July 11, 2013, 3:00-4:00 PM EDT

PL 112-278, the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA), makes key amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), allowing for improved information sharing between education and child welfare agencies. This free webinar, which was presented jointly by the U.S. Department of Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education, and hosted by the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, addressed these changes. Commissioner Samuels, Administration on Children Youth and Families, and Kathleen Styles, Chief Privacy Officer, U.S. Department of Education, welcomed participants to the webinar, and discussed the significance of the Uninterrupted Scholars Act. Taffy Compain, National Foster Care Specialist, Capacity Building Division, Children’s Bureau; Lauren Fischman, Child Welfare Program Specialist, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), Children's Bureau; and Dori Sneddon, Child Welfare Program Specialist, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), Children’s Bureau provided an overview of ways in which child welfare and education systems are already successfully partnering to support the educational success of children and youth in foster care. Taffy Compain discussed the meeting, Child Welfare, Education and the Courts: A Collaboration to Strengthen Educational Successes of Children and Youth in Foster Care and the ongoing work of State Teams that participated in this Summit. Lauren Fischman and Dori Sneddon discussed the ongoing work of the Child Welfare – Education System Collaborations to Increase Educational Stability grantees. Elizabeth Sharp Loevner, Child Welfare Program Specialist, Policy Division, Children’s Bureau, provided information about the implications of this Act to child welfare from a policy perspective. Dale King, Chief, Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, provided information about the Act, as well as relevant background information about FERPA. Scenarios relevant to the Uninterrupted Scholars Act and information sharing between education and child welfare agencies were identified and discussed, and information was provided about how to access additional help with such issues.

Listening Time: 60 minutes

Presenters

Bryan Samuels is the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Prior to joining the Administration, Samuels served as Chief of Staff for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) from 2007-2009, playing a leadership role in managing the operations of the third largest school system in the nation. From 2003 to 2007, Samuels served as the Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the third largest child welfare system in the country. At ACYF, Commissioner Samuels has made the social and emotional well-being of vulnerable children and youth his top priority. He is aligning policies and funding to support healing and recovery for children and youth who have experienced trauma, with an emphasis on increasing access to evidence-based interventions. Under his leadership, ACYF is leading a Department-wide initiative to strengthen management of psychotropic medications for children in foster care and expand the use of effective interventions.

Kathleen Styles is the Department of Education’s first Chief Privacy Officer where she serves as the senior advisor to the Secretary on Departmental policies and programs related to privacy and confidentiality. She heads a new division dedicated to advancing the responsible stewardship, collection, use, maintenance and disclosure of information at the national level within the Education Department.  She also coordinate technical assistance efforts for states, districts, and other education stakeholders, helping them understand important privacy issues such as minimizing unnecessary collection of personal information.  Kathleen is responsible for the Department’s operations relating to the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA), the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), records management, information collection clearance, departmental directives, privacy safeguards, and disclosure avoidance.  Kathleen previously served as the Chief of the Policy Coordination Office at the U.S. Census Bureau, where she managed a similar portfolio that included confidentiality, data management, the Freedom of Information Act, data stewardship policy, and coordination for the acquisition and management of data from other agencies.  Kathleen is an attorney, licensed to practice law in Texas and the District of Columbia, and she is CIPP-G certified in government information privacy. 

Taffy Compain, CPM is the National Foster Care Specialist at the Capacity Building Division of the Children’s Bureau.  She has over 18 years of experience in child welfare practice and administration. As the National Foster Care Specialist, Ms. Compain provides leadership on national foster care initiatives and serves as Federal Project Officer for the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, liaison to the National Association of State Foster Care Managers, and Federal Project Officer for fifteen diligent recruitment grants. 

Dori Sneddon, MSW, is a child welfare program specialist at the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) at the Children’s Bureau, ACYF, ACF, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she manages a range of grant programs and contracts. She has also worked for local public and private agencies as a policy analyst focusing on homelessness and child welfare. She completed her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University, School of Social Work, New York City, NY in 2003. She is currently a part-time doctoral student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work.

Lauren Fischman, MSW, is a child welfare program specialist at the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) at the Children's Bureau, ACYF, ACF, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she manages a range of grant programs and contracts focusing on early childhood, home visiting, research, and the provision of technical assistance. Her past experience includes the provision of evaluation-related technical assistance to and conducting research on federally-funded human service programs. She completed her master's degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis in 2006.

Elizabeth Sharp Loevner, JD is Child Welfare Program Specialist in the Policy Division of the Children’s Bureau, where she develops policy and regulations related to the titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. She joined the Policy Division in 2007 as a Presidential Management Fellow. Ms. Loevner’s work in the division has been focused on the continued implementation of the Fostering Connections law.

Dale King is the Director of the of the U.S. Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO). FPCO administers the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Protections of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). Prior to FPCO Director, Dale served as the Director of Policy, Research, and Evaluation Services within the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education. Dale began his federal career in 2001 as a program specialist in the Office of Special Education Programs and also served as a policy analyst in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Dale has over 25 years of experience in education, including being an education specialist with the Tennessee State Department of Education, and the Director of Psychological Services for the Hamilton County School District in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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