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

SEA responsibility (Sec. 300.519(h))

Comment: Some commenters recommended requiring LEAs to report to the SEA when a child needs a surrogate parent so that the SEA can fulfill its obligation to ensure that surrogate parents are assigned within the 30-day timeframe required in Sec. 300.519(h). Some commenters requested clarification regarding what it means for the SEA to make "reasonable efforts" to appoint surrogate parents within the 30-day timeframe. The commenters recommended that SEAs track whether LEAs or courts appoint surrogate parents in a timely manner and provide technical assistance to LEAs and courts that fail to meet the 30-day timeframe.

Some commenters stated that LEAs spend too much time determining that a surrogate parent is needed and prolong the decision that a surrogate parent is needed until the LEA is ready to appoint the surrogate parent. One commenter stated that children in residential care facilities often have an immediate need for a surrogate parent and waiting 30 days to appoint a surrogate parent could cause lasting damage to a child.

Discussion: It would be over-regulating to specify the specific "reasonable efforts" that a State must take to ensure that a surrogate parent is appointed within the 30-day timeframe required in Sec. 300.519(h), because what is considered a "reasonable effort" will vary on a case-by-case basis. We do not believe we should require LEAs to report to the State when a child in their district needs a surrogate parent or to require SEAs to track how long it takes LEAs and courts to appoint surrogate parents because to do so would be unnecessarily burdensome. States have the discretion to determine how best to monitor the timely appointment of surrogate parents by their LEAs. States also have discretion to use funds reserved for other State-level activities to provide technical assistance to LEAs and courts that fail to meet the 30-day timeframe, as requested by the commenters.

Under their general supervisory authority, States have responsibility for ensuring that LEAs appoint surrogate parents for children who need them, consistent with the requirements in Sec. 300.519 and section 615(b)(2) of the Act.

Therefore, if an LEA consistently fails to meet the 30-day timeframe or unnecessarily delays the appointment of a surrogate parent, the State is responsible for ensuring that measures are taken to remedy the situation.

Changes: None.