A surrogate parent is an individual who has been appointed to act in the place of a parent in educational decision-making and in safeguarding a student’s rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Section 39.0016, Florida Statutes.
A child is considered to be in need of a surrogate parent when the child is an exceptional student or is suspected of being an exceptional student (Rule 6A-6.0333, FAC) and any one of the following apply:
- The student’s parent, after diligent inquiry, remains unknown
- The student’s parent, after reasonable efforts, cannot be located by the school district
- The student is an unaccompanied homeless youth as defined in section 725(6) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 1143a(6)
- The student is a ward of the State under State law (See chart)
- A court of competent jurisdiction over the student has determined that no person has the authority, willingness, or ability to serve as the educational decisionmaker for the student without judicial action