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Programs and Services » Special Education » Surrogate Parent Information

Surrogate Parent Information

  • updated November 2018, to align with changes from HB 1556 (effective September 2017) impacting students who are in TDFPS custody and live in foster homes, and updated TAC §89.1047 (effective February 2018) 

Surrogate/Foster Parent Training Modules are now online and FREE!  Available in English and in Spanish from the School, Family, and Community Engagement Statewide Leadership Network, a collaborative project of TEA and the 20 Education Service Centers (ESCs). 

Brief Overview of Changes from HB 1556/

19 TAC §89.1047:

  • Foster parents of students in TDFPS custody may now immediately act as the parent of the child (previously this was after the child had been in the home for 60 days).
    • No surrogate parent is needed in this situation. 
    • The foster parent must complete foster/surrogate parent training no later than 90 days after date of assignment if he/she has not already done so.
    • If a school district denies the foster parent the right to serve as a parent, the school district must provide the foster parent with prior written notice of denial within 7 calendar days.
  • TDFPS must notify the school district no later than the 5th day after enrollment if the foster parent is unable or unwilling to serve as the parent.
    • If the district receives this notification, the district must appoint a surrogate parent
      • Unless the district has received a form 2085-E with a court appointed surrogate parent.
      • The court appointed surrogate parent MUST meet the criteria outlined in IDEA and may be the child’s guardian ad litem or the court-certified volunteer advocate.)
      • If the district has received a 2085-E form with a court-appointed surrogate parent, they must honor this surrogate parent, unless the surrogate parent does not meet the requirements in IDEA.
    • The district may appoint the child’s guardian ad litem or the court-certified volunteer advocate as the child's surrogate parent.

Brief Summary of Differences between Court Appointed and District Appointed Surrogate Parents

A school district appointed surrogate parent must undergo training no later than 90 days after date of assignment as surrogate parent. A judge may assign a court-appointed surrogate parent to undergo training.
  • If the judge assigns training, the court-appointed surrogate parent's training must meet the same requirements as a district appointed surrogate parent, including the timelines (no later than 90 days after date of assignment).

If a court-appointed surrogate parent does not perform his/her surrogate parent responsibilities:

The district must:

  • Consult with TDFPS; and
  • appoint another surrogate parent.

TDFPS must :

  • promptly notify the court of the surrogate parent's failure to perform his/her duties.

For a quick view of laws and regulations regarding surrogate and foster parents, please see The Legal Framework for the Child Centered Special Education Process

Texas Education Code (TEC) §25.007 (b)(9) 

For a student who is in foster care, the LEA must provide notice to the student’s educational decision-maker (this may be different than his/her foster parent/parent or surrogate parent) and his/her caseworker regarding events that may significantly impact the student’s education. 

This includes (but is not necessarily exclusive to):

  • Requests or referrals for an evaluation under Section 504 or special education;
  • ARD committee meetings;
  • Manifestation determination reviews (MDRs);
  • Any disciplinary actions for which parental notice is required;
  • Citations issued for a Class C misdemeanor offenses on school property or at school-sponsored events; and
  • Reports of restraint and seclusion.

Note:  This is separate from all foster/surrogate parent requirements above and is not a special education exclusive requirement; it applies to ALL students in foster care.

For additional information on students in foster care, visit our ESC-20 Foster Care page.