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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 8. Education
Agency 20. State Board of Education
Chapter 81. Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia

8VAC20-81-220. Surrogate parent procedures.

A. Role of surrogate parent. The surrogate parent appointed in accordance with this section represents the child in all matters relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child; or the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child. (34 CFR 300.519(g))

B. Appointment of surrogate parents.

1. Children, aged two to 21, inclusive, who are suspected of having or determined to have disabilities do not require a surrogate parent if the parent(s) or guardians are allowing relatives or private individuals to act as a parent.

2. Unless the exception outlined in subdivision 1 of this subsection applies, the local educational agency shall appoint a surrogate parent for a child, aged two to 21, inclusive, who is suspected of having or determined to have a disability when: (34 CFR 300.519(a))

a. No parent, as defined in 8VAC20-81-10, can be identified;

b. The local educational agency, after reasonable efforts, cannot discover the whereabouts of a parent;

c. The child is a ward of the state and either subdivision 2 a or 2 b of this subsection is also met; or

d. The child is an unaccompanied homeless youth as defined in § 725(6) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC § 11434a(6)) and § 22.1-3 of the Code of Virginia and either subdivision 2 a or 2 b of this subsection is met.

3. The local educational agency shall appoint a surrogate parent as the educational representative for a child who reaches the age of majority if the local educational agency has received written notification that the child is not competent to provide informed consent in accordance with 8VAC20-81-180 C 3 or C 4 and no family member is available to serve as the child's educational representative.

4. If the child is a ward of the state, the judge overseeing the child's case may appoint a surrogate parent as the educational representative of the child. The appointed surrogate shall meet the requirements of subdivision E 1 c of this section. (34 CFR 300.519(c))

C. Procedures for surrogate parents.

1. The local educational agency shall establish procedures in accordance with the requirements of this chapter, for determining whether a child needs a surrogate parent. (34 CFR 300.519(b))

2. The local educational agency shall establish procedures for assigning a surrogate parent to an eligible child. The surrogate parent shall be appointed by the local educational agency superintendent or designee within 30 calendar days of the determination that a surrogate parent is necessary. (34 CFR 300.519(b) and (h))

a. The appointment having been effected, the local educational agency shall notify in writing:

(1) The child with a disability, aged two to 21, inclusive, as appropriate to the disability;

(2) The surrogate parent-appointee; and

(3) The person charged with responsibility for the child.

b. The surrogate parent serves for the duration of the school year for which the surrogate parent is appointed unless a shorter time period is appropriate given the content of the child's IEP.

c. If the child requires the services of a surrogate parent during the summer months, the local educational agency shall extend the appointment as needed, consistent with timelines required by law.

d. At the conclusion of each school year, the appointment of surrogate parents shall be renewed or not renewed following a review by the local educational agency.

3. Each local educational agency shall establish procedures that include conditions and methods for changing or terminating the assignment of a surrogate parent before that surrogate parent's appointment has expired. Established procedures shall provide the right to request a hearing to challenge the qualifications or termination if the latter occurs prior to the end of the term of appointment. The assignment of a surrogate parent may be terminated only when one or more of the circumstances occur as follows:

a. The child reaches the age of majority and rights are transferred to the child or to an educational representative who has been appointed for the child in accordance with the procedures in 8VAC20-81-180;

b. The child is found no longer eligible for special education services and the surrogate parent has consented to the termination of services;

c. Legal guardianship for the child is transferred to a person who is able to carry out the role of the parent;

d. The parent(s), whose whereabouts were previously unknown, are now known and available; or

e. The appointed surrogate parent is no longer eligible according to subsection E of this section.

D. Identification and recruitment of surrogate parents.

1. The local educational agency shall develop and maintain a list of individuals within its jurisdiction who are qualified to serve as surrogate parents. It may be necessary for the local educational agency to go beyond jurisdictional limits in generating a list of potentially qualified surrogate parents.

2. Individuals who are not on the local educational agency list may be eligible to serve as surrogate parents, subject to the local educational agency's discretion. In such situations, the needs of the individual child and the availability of qualified persons who are familiar with the child and who would otherwise qualify shall be considerations in the local educational agency's determination of surrogate eligibility. Other factors that warrant the local educational agency's attention include:

a. Consideration of the appointment of a relative to serve as surrogate parent; and

b. The appropriateness of the child's participation in the selection of the surrogate parent.

E. Qualifications of surrogate parents. (34 CFR 300.519(d), (e), and (f))

1. The local educational agency shall ensure that a person appointed as a surrogate:

a. Has no personal or professional interest that conflicts with the interest of the child;

b. Has knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child;

c. Is not an employee of the Virginia Department of Education, the local educational agency, or any other agency that is involved in the education or care of the child; and

d. Is of the age of majority.

2. A person who otherwise qualifies to be a surrogate parent is not an employee of the agency solely because the person is paid by the agency to serve as a surrogate parent.

3. If the child is an unaccompanied homeless youth, appropriate staff of an emergency shelter, transition shelter, independent living program, or street outreach program may be appointed as a temporary surrogate even though the staff member is an employee of an agency that is involved in the education or care of the child. The temporary surrogate shall otherwise meet the qualifications of a surrogate, and may serve only until a surrogate parent meeting all of the qualifications outlined in this section can be assigned.

F. Rights of surrogate parents. The surrogate parent, when representing the child's educational interest, has the same rights as those accorded to parents under this chapter. (34 CFR 300.519(g)).

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-214 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 25, Issue 21, eff. July 7, 2009; amended, Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 8, eff. January 25, 2010; Errata, 26:15 VA.R. 2309 March 29, 2010.

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