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Ed. Surrogate Federal Regulation Changes

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Subject: Federal Regulation Changes to the Educational Surrogate Program
Intended Audience: All Public Agencies
Date: September 5, 2006

State and federal regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) require that State Educational Agencies ensure that all educational surrogates are trained and that conflict of interest does not exist with any surrogate/student assignment.

As you may know, the final federal regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) have been released and take effect October 13, 2006. In the new regulations there is a change to the Section covering surrogate conflict of interest. The old regulations stated:

Section 300.515 (c)(2): The public agency may select a surrogate parent in any way permitted under State law. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(3) of this section. Public agencies shall ensure that a person selected as a surrogate--

(i) Is not an employee of the SEA, the LEA or any other agency that is involved in the education or care of the child:

(ii) Has no interest that conflicts with the interest of the child he or she represents: and

(iii) Has knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child.

Paragraph (3) states:

(3) A public agency may select as a surrogate a person who is an employee of a nonpublic agency that only provides non-educational care for the child and who meets standards in paragraphs (c)(2)(ii) and (iii) of this section.

In the new regulations (300.519), the exception stated in paragraph (3) has been removed.

Based on this change, as of October 13, 2006, we can no longer assign any employee of the residential facility where the child resides as surrogate. We will be notifying you shortly of all students in your district affected by this change and we will be making every attempt to re-assign those students to educational surrogates not employed by the residential facility in which the child resides.

As you may be aware, assisting DESE with recruitment of educational surrogate volunteers and supplying DESE the names and addresses of those interested in becoming surrogate volunteers is one of the public agency’s responsibilities outlined in state regulations for Part B of IDEA. We are planning to conduct training for individuals wishing to become surrogates, and we will need the assistance of school districts, particularly those affected by this change, to help us locate and recruit interested individuals. If you have a child in you district who has a court appointed special advocate or guardian ad litem, you may want to contact that person to see if he or she would be interested in being trained to serve as that child’s educational surrogate.

Workshop Notification Form (pdf)