Becoming an Educational Surrogate

The Butte County SELPA and its member districts are always looking for volunteers to become an Educational Surrogate/Responsible Adult for children with special needs. A “surrogate parent” is an adult appointed by a local educational agency (LEA) or special education local plan area (SELPA) to represent a pupil (aged birth-21) for the purpose of their individualized education program (IEP) to ensure that the rights of the pupil to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) are protected when the biological parents cannot be found or the courts have removed their educational rights and have not assigned them to another. This person’s role is to ensure that a child is receiving the educational services for which he/she is eligible. Special education students need your help, and you can make a difference in a child’s education.

Who can be an Educational Surrogate/Responsible Adult?

Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations 300.519(1) provides that individuals appointed as educational surrogates may not be an employee of the local LEA, the State educational agency (SEA), or another agency that is responsible for providing care or services to the student; that they do not have a conflict of interest in representing the interests of the student; and that they have the knowledge and skills to ensure adequate representation of the child.  Any person interested in seeing that children with special needs receive appropriate educational services is welcome to join one of our Educational Surrogate/Responsible Adult training sessions. Training sessions are provided to teach candidates about the special education planning process, children with special needs, and their rights under this process. For more detail on Surrogate Parents, please see this excerpt from the SELPA Procedural Manual

Image of a quote from The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful log, nothing is going to get better, it's not."What is the Role and Commitment?

The Educational Surrogate/Responsible Adult may represent a child in matters relating to special education and related services, including identification, assessment, instructional planning and development, educational placement, reviewing and revising the individualized education program (IEP), and in all other matters relating to the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) of a child.

The Educational Surrogate/Responsible Adult is required to meet with the designated child at least one time, attend the child’s initial or annual IEP meeting (which on average lasts about 2 hours), review the child’s education plans, and sign any consent relating to IEP purposes. The specific time commitments vary based on each individual child.

Additional Information

California Department of Education Surrogate Parents in California - Training Module
California Department of Education -- Surrogate Parents in California Special Education - An Overview

If you are interested in getting more information on becoming an Educational Surrogate, please call (530) 532-5621 or email us at