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K-12 Education Services

​K-12 education focuses on supporting the educational needs of youth in care by providing resources to improve basic learning skills, support grade level attainment, increase graduation rates and prepare youth for post-secondary education or the workforce.

Northern Illinois University Education Access Project (EAP)

Education advisors help caseworkers, caregivers and school districts address academic achievement, tutoring/mentoring needs and other educational advocacy supports. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • BID meetings.
  • Enrollment.
  • Special education.
  • Academic issues.
  • Chronic absenteeism.
  • Suspension/Expulsion.
  • Hospitalizations/homebound instruction.
  • Step-downs

To find an education advisor near you, click here.

When referring a case to an education advisor, please complete the NIU Education Access Project Referral Form for Education Assistance (CFS 407-6). The Referral Form should be sent to or the education advisor who covers your area. 

Youth Scholars, Skills and Service Program (YS3)

Youth Scholars, Skills and Service Program (YS3) is a collaboration between the Alternative Schools Network and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to provide year-round alternative educational program to older, out of school youth in care. YS3 serves out of school youth in care from the ages of 15-21 who are interested in returning to school and earning a high school diploma or GED. The program is coordinated through 15 community-based alternative high schools.

YS3 also offers students an opportunity to focus on tutoring, counseling, employment or internships depending on the needs and interests of each participant. Access the YS3 referral form here.

Homeschooling services for youth in care

Homeschooling, which may also include online education programs, must be approved by the DCFS Guardian. To request approval, please complete the CFS 407-7 Request for DCFS Guardian’s Approval for Home Schooling.


For help with educational issues, please email An Office of Education and Transition Services (OETS) education specialist will follow up.

Virtual Office Hours

The Office of Education and Transition Services is now offering virtual office hours so you can speak to someone live who can answer your questions about education for youth in care.

Office hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon

To join, click here:
Meeting number (access code): 133 900 0032
Meeting password: xiZ5jhsJ7m9

*All sessions will be recorded for training purposes and to identify trends and data collection.

For general K-12 education-related questions regarding a youth in care, send an email to