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Section 7

ak dept education

special ed handbook
SECTION 7
MODEL SURROGATE PARENT PLAN
  1. SURROGATE INVITATION - MS WORD
    SURROGATE INVITATION - PDF

  2. SURROGATE LIST - MS WORD
    SURROGATE LIST - PDF

  3. TRAINING SESSION AGENDA - MS WORD
    TRAINING SESSION AGENDA - PDF

  4. NOTICE OF APPOINTMENT - MS WORD
    NOTICE OF APPOINTMENT - PDF

  5. AFFIRMATION FOR FOSTER PARENTS- MS WORD
    AFFIRMATION FOR FOSTER PARENTS - PDF

  6. CONFIRMATION THAT FOSTER PARENT WILL SERVE AS PARENT  WORD
    CONFIRMATION THAT FOSTER PARENT WILL SERVE AS PARENT - PDF

  7. NOTICE OF END OF APPOINTMENT - MS WORD
    NOTICE OF END OF APPOINTMENT - PDF
Rationale for Appointing Surrogate Parents

Federal and State laws establish the importance of parent participation in the educational decision-making process for their children. Parents often give insight and information that is invaluable in planning an appropriate program for their child. The parent represents the interests of the child in the educational process. Because special educators recognize that the absence of a parent from the special education process may adversely affect decisions regarding the student, federal and state laws and regulations require school districts to appoint a surrogate parent when the parent of a child with a disability cannot be identified and located.  However, if a child has been in the same foster home for a period of time and it is reasonable to assume that the Office of Children’s Services will not be moving the child to a different foster situation in the foreseeable future, then, the foster parent may serve as the a parent of a child for the purposes of special education. (See Affirmation Form)

Determination of Need to Appoint a Surrogate Parent

A child may be entitled to a surrogate parent if the child is 3 through 17 years of age or the child is 18 through 21 years of age and has been adjudicated incompetent by a court, or if the child is between 18 and 22 years old and the District determines that it is in the best interest of the child to be appointed a surrogate parent even though the child has attained the age of majority.
  1. Within 5 days of the decision to take any action requiring parent participation, or consent, the District attempts to find the parents of the child with a disability.
    1. Each attempt must be documented in writing. Attempts to locate the parent include phone calls, letters, certified letters with return receipts, visits to the home, and interviews with relatives and other individuals who may have knowledge of the whereabouts of the child's parent.
    2. If the District identifies a person who claims to be a guardian, and one or more other persons also claim such a role, the Special Education Director should immediately refer the matter of who is the lawful guardian of the child to the appropriate Family Court for expedited consideration. Pending the outcome of this proceeding, the District should appoint a surrogate parent for the child.
  2. If no parent or guardian is found, the District appoints a surrogate parent for the child. The appointment is made within 3 days of determining that the parents cannot be found.
  3. The District may appoint a surrogate parent at the request of a parent, if the parent can demonstrate that he or she is not able to protect the rights of the child due to extraordinary circumstances. For example, the distance between the parent's residence and the child's location may be so great that the parent's participation in the educational decision-making process would be substantially impaired.
Note: The educational placement of a child who has been identified by the District as entitled to a surrogate parent shall not be changed until 10 days after appointment of a surrogate parent.

Qualifications and Training of Surrogate Parents
  1. A person is qualified to serve as a surrogate parent when the District determines the person meets the following qualifications:
    1. Has no personal or professional interest that could conflict with the interest of the child.
    2. Is not employed by a public agency that is involved in the education or care of the child. (A person who otherwise qualifies as a surrogate parent is not considered an employee of a district solely because he is paid by the District to serve as a surrogate parent.)
    3. Has knowledge and skills that assure adequate representation of the child.
    4. In general, is familiar with the State and Federal requirements for special education and with the nature of the child's disability.
    5. Has participated in a training program for surrogate parents and conducted by the District.

      Note: An employee of a nonpublic agency that only provides non-educational care for the child and who meets the above standards may serve as a surrogate parent if all other requirements above are met.

  2. The District should recruit individuals from the community to train to serve as surrogate parents. Interested individuals who are judged to be otherwise qualified are sent an invitation for training. (See Surrogate Invitation in this Appendix.) The following list of community resources is offered as a source of individuals who might serve as surrogate parents:
    1. Parents and family members of children with disabilities.
    2. Foster Parents
    3. PTA groups;
    4. Parents of children with disabilities;
    5. Parent Advisory Boards at local schools;
    6. Native Associations;
    7. Faculty and student groups at local colleges and universities;
    8. United Way volunteer recruitment programs;
    9. Local Mental Health Associations;
    10. Local Associations for Retarded Citizens;
    11. Local chapters of various associations for children, such as:
      1. Association for Children with Learning Disabilities
      2. Council for Exceptional Children
      3. Easter Seal Society
      4. Epilepsy Foundation of Alaska
      5. National Association for the Education of Young Children
      6. National Paraplegia Foundation
      7. Organization for Visually Impaired Children
      8. Society for Understanding Deafness
      9. United Cerebral Palsy of Alaska
      10. Spina Bifida Association
      11. Tuberculosis League
    12. The League of Women Voters;
    13. Kiwanis, Jaycees, Lions, Elks, Soroptimists, and Rotary;
    14. Local advocacy groups.
  3. The District shall maintain a list of individuals trained to serve as surrogate parents. The list includes each surrogate parent's current and previous employment, experience with children with disabilities, possible conflict of interest, and other information considered relevant by the District (see Surrogate List format in this Appendix).
All individuals on the list are provided training including information in the following areas:
  1. The role of the surrogate parent;
  2. State and federal requirements for special education;
  3. The rights and responsibilities of parents in the educational decision-making process;
  4. The procedure that a surrogate parent follows if the surrogate parent believes that circumstance regarding the surrogate parent's role may create a conflict with the interest of the child, including the procedure for immediately notifying the District if such a potential conflict exists (see Training Agenda in this Appendix); and
  5. The nature of the child's disability.
Appointment of Surrogate Parent for Individual Child
  1. In selecting the surrogate parent the District does not select any person from the list who:
    1. Is an employee of an agency assigned as the child's guardian, or an employee who exercises the rights of a guardian as a part of his job with the State;
    2. Is employed by an agency involved in the care and treatment of the child; or
    3. Has interests that are in conflict with the interests of the child.
  2. A conflict of interest exists for a person as a surrogate parent if:
    1. The person might benefit personally or professionally from decisions regarding the child;
    2. The person may be required to make decisions regarding the child that might affect policy in which the individual has a personal or professional interest; or
    3. The person is not able to faithfully represent the child because of an institutional bias or interest.
  3. Upon determination that the individual selected meets the criteria, the District immediately makes the appointment. The District, within 5 days of determining the appointment of a surrogate parent, provides written notice of appointment to the individual so selected and shall record such appointment in the child's record (see Notice of Appointment in this Appendix).
Responsibilities and Term of Appointment
  1. During his or her appointment, a surrogate parent is expected to exercise all of the rights, responsibilities and authorities of a parent, including:
    1. The right to receive notice of actions proposed or refused by the District;
    2. The right to provide or withhold consent requested by the District;
    3. The right to participate in the development, review and revision of the IEP and the eligibility and placement decisions;
    4. The protection of the confidentiality of personally identifiable information collected, used or maintained by the District;
    5. The conduct of an independent educational evaluation of the child; and
    6. The initiation and conduct of due process hearings.
  2. A surrogate parent continues to serve unless the District terminates the appointment prior to the expiration of the agreed upon period by request of the surrogate parent or because the District determines that:
    1. The natural or adoptive parent or guardian has been located; or
    2. The surrogate parent no longer meets the standards for a "qualified" surrogate parent set forth above and, thus, such termination is necessary to protect the rights of the child.
  3. If a surrogate parent is no longer considered "qualified" by the District, the District notifies the individual in writing and informs him or her of the right to initiate a due process hearing to challenge the decision to terminate the appointment (see Notice of End of Appointment in this Appendix).
  4. The person whose term is terminated or whose appointment is not continued, remains the surrogate parent until an administrative or judicial proceeding is completed.
  5. Prior to the expiration of the term of a surrogate parent, the District reviews the qualifications of the surrogate parent and determines whether to reappoint the surrogate parent for a new term or to appoint a new surrogate parent. If the District decides to reappoint a surrogate parent, notification of that reappointment is sent to the surrogate parent at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the term (see Notice of Appointment in this Appendix).

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