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Surrogate Parent

Surrogate Parent

Federal law recognizes the importance of parental involvement in making decisions about a child's education programs, especially special education programs for children with disabilities. What does one do when there is not a parent available for the student?  In those cases school districts appoint a Surrogate Parent to represent the child with a disability who may need special education services.  
What is a Surrogate Parent?  
A person who represents a child in all matters relating to: (a) the identification, evaluation and educational placement of the child; and (b) the provision of free and appropriate public education to the child.
Who is eligible to act as a Surrogate Parent?
A person who:
  • Is not an employee of the ODE, the school district, or any other agency that is involved in the education or care of the child;
  • Has no personal or professional interest that conflict with the child's interests;
  • Has knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child; and
  • Has successfully completed training prescribed by ODE.
Online Surrogate Parent Training through ODE is available. For more information - click here.

Additional Resources

InspirEd Virtual Learning Session - Surrogate Parent for a Child With a Disability

Have you ever thought about volunteering to be a Surrogate Parent for a Child with a Disability?   Explore best practices, key concepts, and resources to increase knowledge, understanding, and skills to serve as or support a surrogate parent in Ohio. Check out the overview of the New Surrogate Parent training, Surrogate Parent for a Child With a Disability.  For more information click here.

Helpful Links and Supporting Documents

This FAQ from Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) describes the process for determining when a child with a disability needs a surrogate parent and the surrogate's responsibilities.

This link includes required and optional forms to meet state and federal special education laws.

Use this resource to gather information about the student you are working with. The document includes helpful questions to guide you.

Information to support the needs of children that are homeless youth as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

Optional Form 7 is provided by the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce for DoR to use when assigning a Surrogate Parent to a student. It is not required but would be considered to be good practice to use this form or a similar district-approved form.