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

Surrogate parent responsibilities (Sec. 300.519(g))

Comment: A few commenters requested a definition of "surrogate parent." Some commenters stated that Sec. 300.519(g) provides only general parameters regarding the responsibilities of surrogate parents and does not provide guidance on specific duties or responsibilities of surrogate parents. The commenters stated that, at a minimum, the regulations should require that States develop duties and responsibilities for surrogate parents, such as meeting with the child, participating in meetings, and reviewing the child's education record.

Discussion: We do not believe that it is necessary to define "surrogate parent" because Sec. 300.519(g), consistent with section 615(b)(2) of the Act, clarifies that a surrogate parent is an individual who represents the child in all matters related to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child, and the provision of FAPE to the child. This is a longstanding provision and is intended to describe the areas in which a surrogate parent may represent the child.

We believe that the provisions in Sec. 300.519 are sufficient to ensure that public agencies fulfill their obligation to ensure that the rights of children are protected in the circumstances in Sec. 300.519(a). Therefore, we believe it is unnecessary, and would be over regulating, to specify in these regulations requirements for surrogate parents to meet and get to know the child prior to meetings, as recommended by one commenter. Likewise, we do not believe that it is necessary to require public agencies to develop specific duties and responsibilities for surrogate parents because public agencies already must ensure that a surrogate parent has the knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child, consistent with Sec. 300.519(d). However, if a public agency determined there was a need to specify the duties and responsibilities for surrogate parents, there is nothing in the Act or these regulations that would prohibit them from doing so.

Changes: None.