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Arizona Superior Court in Pima County

Education Information


Assists in helping all Juvenile Court-involved children and families, from pre-school to adult, with basic to complex education questions and needs.

Also provides daily support to all children, whether dependent or delinquent, parents/guardians, students, probation officers, detention, Department of Child Safety (DCS), the Court Alternative Program of Education (CAPE) school in detention, Public Defender’s office, County Attorney’s office, Victim Advocate’s office, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA’s), and the FosterEd program, advocating on individual cases with a variety of education issues. These issues includ special education. Review of Individualized Education Program (IEP) reports, attendance at IEP meetings, suspension, expulsion, and manifestation hearings, Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings, court hearings, and Pre-Hearing Conferences (PHC)/Preliminary Protective Hearing (PPH).



FosterEd is a program that works to improve the educational outcomes of foster children by ensuring each is supported by an educational champion and strengthened by an education team. In collaboration with state agencies, legislators, and executive officials, policies and infrastructure were developed to ensure foster children receive the educational opportunities they need. In partnership with local education, child welfare, and judicial agencies, FosterEd implemented new practices to ensure foster children were succeeding in school.

A FosterEd liaison cannot be ordered by the court but can assist with a case if the DCS Specialist completes a referral.

Foster Arizona


ESSA was enacted on December 10, 2015 and reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which was originally enacted in 1965, and last reauthorized in 2002 as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). ESSA contains several provisions that work in parallel with provisions of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, which focuses on child welfare agency obligations, including educational success of students in foster care.
For the first time, federal education law now contains key protections for students in foster care to promote school stability and success and requires education agencies to collaborate with child welfare agency partners.
Some key provisions of ESSA require:

●  Foster children are enrolled or remain in the school of origin for their entire school career, unless a determination is made that it is not in their best interest.
●  There must be a point of contact for child welfare and local education agencies at the state level and the local level to implement the provisions of ESSA.
●  There must be clear written procedures for how transportation to maintain foster youth in the schools of origin will be provided, arranged and funded during that time in care.
●  State education agencies must annually include disaggregated information on foster youth in the state report cards to include foster youth graduation rates and foster youth academic achievement.
●  Detention schools must have a high school diploma program not solely a GED program.
●  The state must work with charter schools on recruitment and enrollment practices to promote inclusion and eliminate any barriers to enrollment for foster children.

The Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services released non-regulatory joint agency guidance on June 23, 2016 and on May 31, 2016 the Department of Education released their proposed regulations. The McKinney Vento act was no longer applicable effective on December 10, 2016.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) - U.S. Department of Education


The Best Interest Determination Form is utilized by DCS Case Specialists to determine if the school/district of origin is the best educational placement for a child. All parties involved with the child, bio/adoptive parents, foster parents, school/district of origin and DCS will complete the form answering all questions. This tool is not the deciding factor in educational placement or movement. Meaning if one side of the document has more “checks”, it does not indicate that is the final decision.

This tool should not be used to justify the movement of a child because the placement requests the child change schools. Prior to placement, the placement should be informed by DCS of the child/ren’s school of origin and discuss transportation options. Once placement is agreed upon, placement should not threaten with disruption.

Education Surrogate Parents

Education surrogate parents are individuals who are appointed to a youth to serve as the “parent” for special educational purposes only. A surrogate parent can be appointed only when the bio/adoptive parent is not available due to incarceration, is unable to be located, has not attended meetings when requested or their rights have been severed.

A school can request a surrogate parent from Arizona Department of Education (ADE) or the Education Coordinator can complete the process. This would involve an in chambers court order.

Surrogate Parents


CAPE is an accredited school tasked with educating our children in detention as well as at the jail. CAPE educates children from elementary to high school and GED if applicable.
CAPE Transition’s Advocate provides transition services to all detained children. The Transition Advocate assists with traditional, charter, GED, post-secondary placements and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA). The Transition Advocate will work with the child, family, placement, DCS and Probation Officer to determine the best education institution for the child upon release.

Pima County CAPE Program


Yes. Detained youth will attend CAPE school while they are detained. CAPE school is an accredited public school, teaching youth ages 8 – 17 years 11 months, including GED preparation and testing if applicable. All high school credits earned while detained are transferrable to any public school.

Youth will be enrolled in CAPE on the first school day after they are detained. To do so, youth are required to be withdrawn from their home school.

Yes. If the home school is willing, the youth’s schoolwork can be provided for the youth to complete while detained. Parents will have to make the arrangements with the school and be willing to arrange the exchange of schoolwork between school and detention.

Yes. Youth who are GED eligible will be predictor tested, tutored and provided the opportunity to GED test. Parental permission is required.

A youth must be at least 16 years of age and have parental permission to test for the GED. The GED test includes five core subject areas: Math, Social Studies, Science, Reading, Writing. Passing a Civics test is also required. There are many formal and informal GED programs throughout Tucson, with information available at