The IDEA charges each public education agency with the responsibility to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities are protected. Among those rights is the provision of a surrogate parent to those children who's parent or guardian are unknown or unavailable, or the child has been committed to the custody of a public agency or institution in accordance with section 211.181, RSMo. The surrogate parent is assigned to protect the student's rights and to act as the student's advocate in the educational decision-making process.
The major responsibilities of a surrogate parent include:
- Knowing the child well enough to represent the child's strengths, interests, and needs in educational planning, and learning as much as possible about the child's educational history
- Signing requests from the education provider for an educational evaluation when appropriate
- Participating in Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings, and parent/school conferences
- Receiving and reviewing an updated copy of the student's educational records and protecting the confidentiality of such records
- Giving written consent for education placement when appropriate
- Monitoring the child's education placement
- Representing the child in any complaint or due process procedure initiated whether by the education provider or the surrogate parent
For more information about the Surrogate Parent program you may call the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at 573-751-4212 (main office) or go to their website at www.dese.mo.gov.