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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Unaccompanied homeless youth (Sec. 300.519(f))

Comment: A few commenters requested clarification on how long the appointment should be for a temporary surrogate for an unaccompanied homeless youth. A few commenters also requested clarification on how the conflict of interest, and knowledge and skills requirements for surrogate parents apply to temporary surrogate parents for unaccompanied homeless youth.

Discussion: Section 300.519(f) allows LEAs to appoint a temporary surrogate parent for a child who is an unaccompanied homeless youth, without regard to the requirement in Sec. 300.519(d)(2)(i) that a surrogate parent not be an employee of any agency involved in the education or care of the child. Thus, a temporary surrogate parent for an unaccompanied homeless youth may include State, LEA, or agency staff that is involved in the education or care of the child.

The Act does not specify how long a temporary surrogate parent can represent the child. Nor do we believe it is necessary or appropriate to specify a time limit for a temporary surrogate parent, as the need for a temporary surrogate parent will vary depending on the specific circumstances and unique problems faced by each unaccompanied homeless youth.

Section 300.519(f) specifically allows the appointment of a temporary surrogate parent without regard to the non-employee requirements in Sec. 300.519(d)(2)(i). There are no similar exceptions for the requirements in Sec. 300.519(d)(2)(ii) and (iii). Therefore, temporary surrogate parents for unaccompanied homeless youth must not have a personal or professional interest that conflicts with the interest of the child the surrogate parent represents, and must have the knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child, consistent with Sec. 300.519(d)(2)(ii) and (iii), respectively.

Changes: None.