The local education agency (LEA), must take steps to ensure parent participation in the Admission, Review, and Dismissal/Individualized Education Program (ARD/IEP) process and have afforded the opportunity for parent participation. In the event the parent(s) of a child eligible for special education services are not known, the child is a ward of the State or the child is an unaccompanied homeless youth, the LEA must determine whether or not a surrogate parent is warranted.
The LEA must also ensure that surrogate parents are selected in accordance with 34CRF §300.519(d)(2)
and comply with TEC §29.001(10)
prior to representing children with disabilities in the ARD/IEP process. Once appointed, the surrogate parent is afforded all the same rights, procedural safeguards and access to educational records as the natural parent(s).
Children in the conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) may be appointed a surrogate parent by the overseeing judge. In this case the LEA must ensure the surrogate parent selected complies with the same regulations in accordance with 34CRF §300.519(d)(2)
and TEC §29.001(10)
as indicated in the previous paragraph. Children placed in foster group homes and foster care homes by TDFPS may be represented by the Foster Parent(s) if they meet the criteria and complete the required training. Children placed in residential group-care facilities by TDFPS must be appointed a surrogate parent.
Once a child turns 18 years or older, the child is legally an adult and his/her own education decision maker regardless of functioning level or type of disability. If a court determines that the individual is legally incompetent then the court appointed guardian is the legal decision maker.