What is a surrogate parent?
A surrogate parent is a volunteer who agrees to advocate for an IDEA-eligible or thought-to-be eligible child in the special education process. Under the IDEA, a parent is defined as:
When is a surrogate parent appointed?
What are the roles and responsibilities of a surrogate parent?
A surrogate parent has all the rights of a birth parent and has the duty to represent the child throughout the special education process. The surrogate parent familiarizes herself or himself with the child’s needs and educational history, receives notices about the child’s educational program, and participates in the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). The surrogate parent can approve the IEP and the Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) or disapprove one or both and initiate Special Education Due Process procedures. Only a birth parent, a person who is acting as a parent (such as a grandparent or foster parent), or a surrogate parent has these legal rights and responsibilities.
What information does a surrogate parent have access to?
The surrogate parent has a right to review the child’s school records and to get copies when necessary. He or she can also visit the student’s class, talk with the teachers, and generally obtain any information necessary to represent the child adequately.
Who appoints a surrogate parent?
In Pennsylvania, each School District is responsible for locating all children who need surrogate parents and for assigning a surrogate parent to each.
What qualifications are required for a surrogate parent?
Surrogate parents cannot have any conflict of interest with the child and must have the knowledge and skills necessary to represent the child adequately.
Who should I contact if I need more information on surrogate parents?
For more information, help, or assistance in obtaining a surrogate parent in the Susquehanna Community School District, please reach out to
Elizabeth Shivock, Special Education Supervisor
(570) 853-4921 x1335