Surrogate Parent is an individual appointed to act in the place of a parent in educational decision-making and in safeguarding a student’s rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). According to F.S. Chapter 39 - When a child is placed into licensed out of home care (including Specialized Therapeutic Foster Care and Residential Programs) and has been identified as requiring/potentially requiring ESE services; the GAL, Foster Parent, Surrogate Parent, or other caretaker may serve as the parent for educational purposes if:
The students natural parents’ whereabouts or identity is unknown; or
A court of competent jurisdiction has terminated the parents’ rights; or
There are more than five children in the licensed out of home placement; or
The child is entitled by law to a surrogate but does not fit the criteria, will be determined on a case by case basis.
Exceptional Student means any student who has been determined eligible for a special program in accordance with rules of the State Board of Education. The term includes students who are gifted and students with disabilities who have an intellectual disability including:
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Other Health Impairment
Traumatic Brain Injury
Emotional or Behavioral Disability
Specific Learning Disability Including But Not Limited To: Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Developmental Aphasia
Deaf Or Hard Of Hearing Or Dual Sensory Impaired
Hospitalized Or Homebound Students
Children With Developmental Delays
What are the duties of a Surrogate Parent?
A Surrogate Parent is expected to:
Become familiar with the district’s procedures for providing services to exceptional students.
Meet the student.
Meet the student’s teacher(s) and others who work with the student.
Observe the student’s school day.
Become familiar with the student’s background, abilities and disabilities.
Participate in IEP, Educational Plan (EP), Academic Improvement Plan (AIP) and other educational meetings
Help make decisions about the student’s education.
Give or withhold consent for actions proposed by the district, as appropriate.
Give permission for field trips, release of records, photographs, etc. to be an appropriate part of the student’s educational program.
Ask the school to take actions related to the student’s education.
Understand all procedural safeguards available and invoke them as appropriate.
Responsibilities which are not part of the Surrogate Parent:
The following areas are specifically excluded from the Surrogate Parent:
Care, maintenance and custody of the child.
Residential treatment placement.
Identification and evaluation of activities not relating specifically to special education.
Termination of a Surrogate Parent is appropriate when:
The child is determined to no longer be eligible for or in need of special education programs.
The legal guardianship of the child is assigned to a person who is able to assume the role of the parent.
The parent who was previously unknown becomes known, or the whereabouts of the parents that were previously undiscovered are discovered.
The child reaches the age of majority and is no longer in need of a Surrogate Parent for educational matters.
The SCC case manager may not sign as the parent or surrogate for a referral for an evaluation for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or as authorizing participation in the program