Educational Surrogate Parent

If the whereabouts of the student’s parent/guardian are unknown or cannot be located, or the student is a ward of the state, the school corporation must appoint an educational surrogate parent for the purpose of making educational decisions on behalf of the student.  An educational surrogate parent must be appointed not more than thirty (30) calendar days after the corporation has determined that a student needs an educational surrogate parent.

Federal law permits a judge to appoint an educational surrogate parent for a student who is a ward of the state so long as the educational surrogate parent is qualified under state law.

The assignment must follow procedures as specified in state law.  The individual appointed cannot be employed by the Indiana Department of Education, the South Bend Community School Corporation, or any agency involved in the education or care of the student.

The appointment of the educational surrogate parent can be made at the school, by completing the Educational Surrogate Parent Request, and having it signed by the principal/designee.   The completed form must be sent to the Special Education Department.

The assignment of an educational surrogate parent should be done prior to the case conference.  The individual appointed must be informed of his/her responsibilities and the rules and regulations which govern special education services.

A foster parent or relative with whom the student resides may be assigned as the educational surrogate parent.

The educational surrogate parent can contact the Special Education Department at 283-8130 or INSOURCE at (574) 234-7101 for training on these issues.  The appointed individual is entitled to the parental protections defined in the Notice of Procedural Safeguards.

In the event that a case conference is ready to begin, and the custodial parent or guardian’s whereabouts are unknown, and an individual (e.g., family member, foster parent etc.) is in attendance and is qualified to be an educational surrogate parent, the principal/designee may ask the individual if he/she would serve in that capacity.  If the person is agreeable, the Appointment of Educational Surrogate Parent form should be completed.

The Educational Surrogate Parent Request can be sent to the Special Education Department for assistance in assigning a surrogate parent. 

Note:  The appointment of an Educational Surrogate parent should be made with due consideration given the fact that this individual assumes all the rights and protections afforded the parent/guardian.