Surrogate Parent Information
Prior to special education paperwork requiring parent involvement and signatures, a surrogate parent must be assigned to ensure that the rights of a student are protected when:
- the student is a ward of the state or
- no parent can be identified
- after reasonable efforts by the public agency, the whereabouts of a parent cannot be discovered
To meet state and federal regulations, a surrogate parent is someone who:
- has no interests in conflict with the child's interests
- is not employed by a public agency involved in the care of education of the student
- is knowledgeable about: state and federal requirements, school district special education guidelines, and student's needs, disability and strengths
- is skilled, knowledgeable, and adequately able to represent the student
To adequately represent the child and effectively advocate for an appropriate education, surrogate parents may do the following:
- learn about the child's educational needs by observing or talking to the student at school; reviewing the child's class work, assessment reports, and/or ARD reports; and by talking with teachers, therapists, caseworkers, counselors, or other professionals involved in the student's education
- participate in school meetings to plan or make changes in the student's individual educational program
- serve as the child's advocate by requisitioning appropriate educational services
- represent the student in any complaint or due process procedure
Procedures for assignment of a surrogate parent are:
- The special education supervisor determines the need for a Surrogate Parent by filling out the form titled Procedure for Determining Whether a Student Needs Surrogate Parent. The form is placed in the student's folder.
- The special education supervisor contacts the Surrogate Parent Coordinator about this need.
- The surrogate parent coordinator contacts a trained Surrogate Parent and gives that name to the special education supervisor.
- The special education supervisor contacts the Surrogate Parent and arranges a time for the Surrogate Parent to visit the school (to become familiar with the student, the student's records, and the student's teachers).
- The special education supervisor has the Surrogate Parent fill out the form titled Surrogate Parent Written Agreement. This form is placed in the student's folder.
- The special education supervisor notifies the surrogate parent coordinator if the student no longer needs a Surrogate Parent.