Joint Letter Between HHS and the Dept. of Education Regarding Uninterrupted Scholars Act to Chief State School Officers

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The U.S. Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office recently notified interested parties of the recent amendment to FERPA to add a new exception to the general consent rule to permit schools to disclose education records of students in foster care, absent parent consent, to certain agencies for specified purposes. FERPA was also amended to permit schools to disclose student records pursuant to a judicial order without additional notice to parents involved in certain proceedings. Below is an excerpt from that notification:

The Uninterrupted Scholars Act (Public Law 112-278) was enacted on January 14, 2013, amending the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  The amendment adds a new exception to FERPA’s general consent rule that permits educational agencies and institutions to disclose education records of students in foster care, absent parental consent, to a caseworker or other representative of a State or local child welfare agency or tribal organization authorized by State or tribal law to access a student’s case plan, for specified purposes.  Additionally, the FERPA requirement concerning notification of parents before complying with a lawfully issued subpoena or judicial order was amended to permit schools to disclose education records pursuant to a judicial order without requiring additional notice to the parent(s) involved in the proceedings.

On April 24, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a joint letter to inform school officials and child welfare agencies about this recent amendment to FERPA.  This Department will provide additional technical assistance in the future and you will be informed of upcoming activities including future webinars and presentations.  In the interim, please refer to our website at:  www.ed.gov/fpco for further information and updates regarding FERPA and the Act.

See the recent amendment here: Joint FERPA Letter with ED_OESE & HHS_ACF.4.24.2013

 

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