Downingtown Area School District


A surrogate parent is a person who acts in the place of the parent to make educational decisions on behalf of a child with a disability in all matters relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  A child must have a parent working on their behalf, making educational decisions in their best interest. There are some unique situations when a parent cannot be located and a surrogate parent participates in discussions about the child and is part of the team making special education decisions.

A surrogate parent may be a relative of the child, a prior foster parent, a person who knows the child, a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or a Guardian ad Litem also known as a child advocate.  A surrogate parent stands in the place of the parent and can make all of the special education decisions that are usually made by the biological or adoptive parent.  A surrogate parent under IDEA does not have any rights outside of the special education system unless awarded by a court. 

A short training provided by the CCIU would include a discussion of the surrogate parent’s rights and responsibilities, the child’s rights under IDEA, and how to enforce the child’s rights through due process or other dispute resolution mechanisms. 

Anyone interested in becoming a surrogate parent can learn more by calling the Pupil Service Department at 610-269-8460, extension 6162. 

Surrogate Parent Basic Education Circular and Guidelines