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Surrogate Parents and Decision-Making Guidance, Michigan Department of Education

This document, presented by the Michigan Department of Education, explains the role of surrogate parents for children with disabilities. A surrogate parent may be appointed for a child who is eligible or suspected to be eligible for special education services if there is no parent or guardian available to make educational decisions on behalf of the child. Surrogate parents are generally appointed by the student’s local education agency and have authority to make decisions for the child only in relation to special education. Surrogate parents represent students throughout the special education process and are available to provide consent for evaluation, placement, and release of records. The surrogate parent also plays a vital role in the IEP process. Students held in juvenile justice facilities are also entitled to be appointed a surrogate parent, if otherwise eligible. The surrogate parent’s authority in this situation varies based on the individual case and may sometimes require that the student also be appointed an attorney.