Surrogate Parents

For educational purposes, a surrogate parent is a person who is legally entitled to take the place of a parent under certain conditions. This may occur when:
  • a parent cannot be identified
  • parent cannot be located after reasonable efforts by the school district
  • the child is a ward of the State
  • the child is an unaccompanied homeless youth
"Parent" as defined by law is:
  • Biological, adoptive or foster parent (unless a foster parent is prohibited by State law from acting as a parent)
  • Guardian authorized to act as the child's parent or authorized to make educational decisions (but not the State if the child is a ward of the State)
  • Individual acting in the place of a biological or adoptive parent including a grandparent, stepparent, or other relative with whom the child lives, or is legally responsible for the child's welfare
  • Individual assigned as a surrogate parent
Texas Education Code 29.015
The school district shall give preferential consideration to a foster parent of a child 
with a disability when assigning Surrogate Parent for the child. A foster parent may act as a parent of a child with a disability as authorized under  20 U.S.C. Section 140(23)and its subsequent amendments if:
(1) the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services is appointed as the temporary or permanent managing conservator of the child;
(2) the child has been placed with the foster parent for at least 60 days; 
(3) the foster parent agrees to:
  • participate in making educational decisions on the child's behalf 
  • complete a training program for surrogate parents that complies with the minimum  standards established by agency rules 
  • The foster parent has no interest that conflicts with the child's interest.
Who can be a Surrogate Parent?
An individual who has no personal or professional interest that conflicts with the interest of the child he or she represents, and who has knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child can be a surrogate parent.