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School & Education > Representatives and Advocacy > Appointment of Educational Surrogate Parent or Developmental Services Decision-Maker

Appointment of an Educational Representative, Educational Surrogate Parent, or Developmental Services Decision-Maker

0700-507.10 | Revision Date: 07/01/14

Overview

This policy guide provides information on the appointment of an Educational Representative, an Educational Surrogate Parent, and a Developmental ServicesServices provided by the Regional Centers, which include diagnostic evaluation, coordination or resources such as education, health, welfare, rehabilitation and recreation for persons with developmental disabilities. Additional services include program planning, admission to and discharge from state hospitals, court-ordered evaluations and consultation to other agencies. Decision-Maker when the educational and developmental services decision-making rights of the child’s parent/legal guardian have been limited by the court.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Parent/Legal Guardian Educational Rights

Limitations to Parent/Legal Guardian Educational Rights

Juvenile Court Educational Rights

Process for Limiting Parent/Legal Guardian Educational Rights

DCFS Education Staff and Other Educational Representatives

DCFS Educational Consultant

DCFS Education Section

Developmental Services Decision-Maker

Educational Liaison for Foster Youth

Educational Representative

Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP)

Holder of Education Rights (HER)

Regional Center Coordinator (RCC) and Regional Center Liaison

Procedure

Responding to an Unable, Unavailable, or Unwilling Parent/Legal Guardian

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

Court Officer Responsibilities

Education Section Staff Responsibilities

Regional Center Coordinator (RCC) Responsibilities

Monitoring an Educational Representative, ESP, or Developmental Services Decision-Maker

CSW Responsibilities

Terminating a Status as an Educational Representative and/or Developmental Services Decision-Maker

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Forms

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 07/09/13 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan. The title of this policy guide has been changed from “Appointment of an Educational Representative or Educational Surrogate Parent and/or Developmental Services Decision-Maker.”

POLICY

Parent/Legal Guardian Educational Rights

A child’s parent or legal guardian is the legal Holder of Educational Rights (HER) and is the child’s developmental services decision-maker. She/he is legally responsible for making decisions regarding school, education, or developmental services for the child. In cases of legal separation, divorce, or child custody matters, the legal custody status of the parents/legal guardians must be reviewed to determine whether one or both of them should be designated the HER and/or developmental services decision-maker.

 

Nonminor dependents (NMDs) are the holders of their educational rights. However, if the court finds that the appointment of an educational or developmental services decision-maker is in the best interest of the NMD, the court may appoint one for him/her.

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Limitations to Parent/Legal Guardian Educational Rights

For further information on the required consent for Regional Center services, refer to Assessing a Child's Development & Referring to a Regional Center.

Juvenile Court Educational Rights

The Juvenile Court may limit a parent’s education and/or developmental services decision-making rights and appoint an Educational Representative and/or developmental services decision-maker, if a parent/legal guardian is unable or unwilling to meet this legal, educational responsibility. In such a case, the Court must order, by law, that the parent/legal guardian’s rights are limited and do one (1) of the following on the child’s behalf:

 

For a child 0-3 years old, the court may limit the parent’s educational rights and appoint an Educational Representative or HER to make educational decisions for the child, per Part C (Early Intervention Services) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

 

For a child three (3) years of age or older to obtain Regional Center services under the Lanterman Act or any other developmental services, a court order must limit the parent’s developmental decision-making rights and must appoint a developmental decision-maker.

Process for Limiting Parent/Legal Guardian Educational Rights

To limit a parent/legal guardian’s educational and developmental services decision-making rights, a CSW must make a recommendation to the court, using DCFS 1727 Request for the Juvenile Court to Limit Parental Rights to Make Educational Decisions for Minor. The CSW must consult the following individuals when making this recommendation:

 

Following the receipt of the DCFS 1727:

 

 

The LEA must make reasonable efforts to appoint an ESP for the dependent child within thirty (30) days after the court’s referral.

 

The Juvenile Court has issued a standing order that DCFS may provide the LEA and the ESP with information related to the following:

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DCFS Education Staff and Other Educational Representatives

DCFS Educational Consultant

Educational Consultants are professional educators under contract with DCFS. They are located in each Regional OfficeThe DCFS office that is responsible for providing services to the child, youth, dependent, or nonminor dependent. Usually, the office where the child's CSW is located. and provide guidance and advocacy to address the more challenging educational needs of youth under the Department’s jurisdiction.

DCFS Education Section

The DCFS Education Section works actively with community agencies to minimize the barriers to collaboration. The Education Section also works to improve learning opportunities and academic outcomes for foster children by supporting the sharing of information to address their educational needs.

Developmental Services Decision-maker

The developmental services decision-maker is appointed by the Court when the court limits a parent/legal guardian’s developmental decision-making rights. He/she can represent a child/NMD in matters related to developmental services through the Regional Center and has the authority to access the child/NMD’s records. The developmental services decision-maker also acts on the child/NMD’s behalf for the creation and implementation of Individual Program Plan and the fair hearing process.

 

For information on who qualifies to be a developmental services decision-maker, see Education Representative.

Educational Liaison for Foster Youth

An Educational Liaison for Foster Youth is employed, by law, by each LEA/school district to ensure that the educational rights of foster youth are honored and that all legally required educational services are provided to foster youth.

Educational Representative

If the Juvenile Court limits a parent/legal guardian’s educational rights, it must appoint an Educational Representative to serve as the HER. The Educational Representative or the developmental services decision-maker may be any of the following:

 

Before appointing an Educational Representative or Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP) who is not known to the child, the court must determine, by law, whether there is a responsible relative, NREFM, or other adult known to the child that is available and willing to serve in this role. A caregiver may be appointed as an Educational Representative and/or developmental services decision-maker only if the placement is stable.

 

The Educational Representative or the developmental services decision-maker may never be any of the following individuals:

 

The status of an Education Representative or a developmental services decision-maker for a child/youth is terminated when one (1) or more of the following circumstances occur:

 

The Educational Representative is responsible for the following:

Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP)

An Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP) is appointed by the LEA, per Court instruction and as needed, to act as the HER on educational decisions for a child with special education needs.

 

An ESP should be appointed if all of the following circumstances apply:

 

Before appointing an Educational Representative or ESP who is not known to the child, the court must, by law, determine whether there is a responsible relative, NREFM, or other adult known to the child that is available and willing to serve as the child’s Educational Representative.

 

The ESP performs the following functions:

 

An ESP may represent a child/youth until one (1) or more of the following occur:

 

Only the LEA, or when applicable the Regional Center Coordinator, may terminate an ESP. An ESP must be terminated when either:

 

When an ESP resigns or when the LEA terminates an ESP or replaces the ESP for any reason other than those stated above, the LEA must notify the court and the minor’s attorney via the JV 536, Local Agency Response to JV 535 Appointment of Surrogate Parent, within seven (7) calendar days of the ESP’s date of resignation, termination, or replacement.

Holder of Education Rights

The Holder of Education Rights (HER) has the legal authority to make educational decisions for a child or NMD if applicable. The parent/legal guardian is the HER, unless there is a court order that limits the parent/legal guardian’s educational decision making rights.

 

The HER has the following responsibilities:

 

If a child reaches eighteen (18) years of age or becomes an NMD, he/she becomes the holder of his/her own educational or developmental decision-making rights. The exceptions are when such a child/NMD:

 

If the child is under the plan of a court-appointed, legal guardianship, the appointed legal guardian is the HER and/or developmental services decision-maker. If the court later limits the legal guardian’s educational and/or developmental services decision-making rights, an Educational Representative or Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP) and/or a developmental services decision-maker will be appointed. For further information, see Responding to an Unable, Unavailable, or Unwilling Parent/Legal Guardian.

 

A foster parent, relative caregiver, prospective adoptive parent, or nonrelative extended family member (NREFM) has the right to represent a child/NMD as his/her HER and/or developmental decision-maker, with a court order, in matters regarding educational and/or developmental services under the following circumstances:

Regional Center Coordinator (RCC) and Regional Center Liaison

The Regional Center Coordinator (RCC) works under the Office of the Medical Director and is responsible for coordinating and overseeing DCFS’ responsibilities to foster youth who do or who may have a developmental disability.

 

The Regional Center Liaison serves as the Regional Center consultant in each Regional Office. The Regional Center Liaison works closely with the Regional Centers and especially the RCC to ensure coordinated services to a child with a developmental disability.

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PROCEDURE

Responding to an Unable, Unavailable, or Unwilling Parent/Legal Guardian

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Develop an Educational Case Plan for the child, and advocate for appropriate educational services to meet the child’s needs.

 

  1. Assess the child’s development. Refer to the Regional Center, when appropriate, by following the procedural steps outlined in Assessing a Child's Development & Referring to a Regional Center.

 

  1. Encourage the child’s caregiver, identified adoptive applicant, relative, NREFM, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), mentor, or a person significant in the child’s life to consider becoming the court appointed Educational Representative and/or developmental services decision-maker.

 

  1. Provide the following to the court for a previously scheduled court hearing or through an ex parte request:
  1. A report with a recommendation to limit the parent/legal guardian’s educational and/or developmental services decision-making rights.
  1. A request that the court appoint an Educational Representative and/or developmental services decision-maker.
  1. Discussion of the circumstances and the reason(s) for the request.
  1. If the parent’s whereabouts are unknown, confirmations that search efforts have been made and that their location remains unknown.
  1. Indication as to whether or not the parent/legal guardian is contesting the DCFS recommendation and whether or not an appearance hearing needs to be scheduled.

 

  1. Contact County Counsel for specific courtroom protocol.

 

  1. Complete the DCFS 1727, Request for the Juvenile Court to Limit Parental Rights to Make Educational Decisions for Minor.

 

  1. Partially complete the JV 535, Findings and Orders Limiting Right to Make Educational Decisions for the Child, Appointing Educational Representative and Determining Child's Educational Needs.
  1. Include the following information:
  1. Attorney identification and contact information
  1. Child’s name and case number
  1. Court department
  1. Judicial officer and mailing information
  1. Follow the instructions on the JV 535.
  1. Attach to the DCFS 1727.

 

  1. Determine whether the child meets at least one (1) of the following requirements for having special education needs:
  1. If a least one (1) of these criteria are met, if there is no one to assume the role as the Educational Representative for the child, and if either the court has limited parent/legal guardian election rights or you are recommending that the court do so:
  1. Report information to the court via an ex parte request or during the previously scheduled court hearing. Attach a completed DCFS 1727 and JV 535.
  1. Recommend to the court that the LEA, or the Regional Center for children under the age of three (3), be authorized to appoint an Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP) for the child/youth with special needs who requires special education services.

 

  1. Notify the parent/legal guardian by providing a copy of the DCFS 1727.
  1. If the ex parte request was submitted to the court and the matter set an appearance hearing, notify all parties of the court hearing and of the DCFS recommendation.
  1. If the DCFS 1727 is being submitted with a previously scheduled hearing, send hearing notices to all parties. Attach the DCFS 1727 to the hearing notice.

 

  1. Upon receipt of the court’s minute order and/or the JV 535:
  1. Contact the Educational Representative and/or developmental services decision-maker to confirm the assignment.
  1. Provide a copy of the JV 535 if he/she does not already have one.
  1. If the JV 535 does not reflect the necessary orders related to the appointment of a developmental services decision-maker, the minute order reflecting this appointment and this limitation of decision-making rights may be provided to the developmental services provider and/or the Regional Center.

 

  1. Upon receipt of the JV 536, Local Agency Response to JV 535 Appointment of Surrogate Parent, from the LEA, contact the ESP and confirm the assignment.

 

  1. File copies of the received JV 535 and JV 536 in the Court Documents and the Psych/Ed folder.

 

  1. Document the court order that limits the parent/legal guardian’s educational rights and that appoints an Educational Representative and/or authorizes the LEA to appoint an ESP on the Enrollment Page of the child’s CWS/CMS Education Notebook.

 

  1. Document the court’s limiting of the parent/legal guardian’s developmental services decision-making rights and the appointment of the developmental services decision-maker on the “Summary of the Current Health Condition” under the Summary Page of the Health Notebook.

 

  1. Upon receipt of the court’s minute order, the completed and signed JV 535, and/or the JV 536 from the court:
  1. File copies of these forms in the Court Documents folder and the Psychological/Medical/Dental/School report folder.
  1. If the request is denied by the court and the court requests further information, comply with the request for additional information, additional noticing, or requirement for appearances for the next calendar date.
  1. If the request is denied and the court does not have further instructions, the parent/legal guardian continues to have the right to make educational and/or developmental services decisions for his/her child.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the JV 535 and or the JV 536.

 

  1. Approve the ex parte request or court report that recommends the court limit the parental/legal guardian’s educational and/or developmental services decision-making rights and requests that the court appoint an Educational Representative or authorize the LEA to appoint an ESP and/or developmental services decision-maker.

 

  1. If not approved, return to the CSW for corrective action.

Court Officer Responsibilities

  1. After the court hearing and upon receipt of the completed JV 535 that has been signed by the Judicial Offer, place two (2) copies in the mailroom to be forwarded to the CSW.

 

  1. If the JV 535 does not reflect the necessary orders related to the appointment of a developmental services decision-maker, forward the minute order reflecting the parent/legal guardian’s limitation of the developmental services decision-making rights and the appointment of a developmental services decision-maker.

DCFS Education Section Staff Responsibilities

  1. Provide information to and consultation with the CSW and SCSW as request.

Regional Center Coordinator (RCC) Responsibilities

  1. Conduct regular scheduled meetings with the CSW and the Regional Center Liaisons. Discuss the best practices, resources, services, and legal matters concerning a child’s developmental disability.

 

  1. Assist the Regional Center Liaison, CSW, SCSW, ARA, RA, DCFS administrative staff, and DCFS involved families in resolving questions and issues concerning the child’s developmental disability and services provided by the Regional Center.

 

  1. If there are unresolved concerns regarding the services the child receives or needs from the Regional Center, consult with the Office of the Medical Director.

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Monitoring an Educational Representative, ESP, or Developmental Services Decision-Maker

CSW Responsibilities

  1. When an Educational Representative, ESP, and/or developmental services decision-maker is appointed, monitor his/her performance.
  1. If an Educational Representative or developmental services decision-maker does not adequately appear to be performing his/her duties, provide support and referrals to resolve the problem.
  1. If the problem is not resolved, document this in the court report.
  1. When applicable, submit a JV 535 to the court, recommending that the court appoint a replacement.
  1. If an ESP does not appear to be performing his/her duties, provide support and referrals to resolve the problem.
  1. Notify the LEA or Regional Center.
  1. If the problem is not resolved, document this in the court report.
  1. When applicable, submit a JV 535 to the court, recommending the dismissal of the ESP status and for the court to appoint a replacement.

 

  1. Consult with the Education Consultant and/or County Counsel assigned to your office and/or the DCFS Education Section staff with any further questions or challenges related to the school or the child’s education.

 

  1. If requested, provide necessary information and consultation to the LEA and/or developmental services provider and/or Regional Center using existing confidentiality procedures.

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Terminating a Status as an Educational Representative and/or Developmental Services Decision-Maker

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Notify the court as well as the LEA and/or Regional Center or developmental services provider of any information relevant to either of the following:

 

  1. Notify the LEA and/or Regional Center or developmental services provider of information relevant to the termination of a developmental services decision-maker.

 

  1. If another Educational Representative and/or developmental services decision-maker should be appointed, follow the procedural steps outlined in Responding to an Unable, Unavailable, or Unwilling Parent/Legal Guardian.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the JV 535, Findings and Orders Limiting Right to Make Educational Decisions for the Child, Appointing Educational Representative and Determining Child's Educational Needs and/or JV 536, Local Agency Response to JV 535 Appointment of Surrogate Parent.

 

  1. Approve the ex parte request or status review court report that pertains to the limitations of parental/legal guardian’s educational and/or developmental services decision-making rights and to the recommendation to terminate the currently appointed Educational Representative and/or developmental services decision-maker.

 

  1. If not approved, return to the CSW for corrective action.

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APPROVALS

SCSW Approval

HELPFUL LINKS

Forms

LA Kids

DCFS 179, Parental Consent and Authorization for Medical Care and Release of Education Records

DCFS 1727, Request for the Juvenile Court to Limit Parental Rights to Make Educational Decisions for Minor

JV 535, Findings and Orders Limiting Right to Make Educational Decisions for the Child, Appointing Educational Representative  and Determining Child's Educational Needs

JV 536, Local Agency Response to JV 535 – Appointment of Surrogate Parent

Referenced Policy Guides

0070-516.10, Assessing a Child's Development & Referring to a Regional Center

0070-516.15, Screening and Assessing Children for Mental Health Services and Referring to the Coordinated Services Action Team (CSAT)

0300-306.05, Noticing Process for Juvenile Court Proceedings

0300-503.94, Set-On/Walk-On Procedures

0500-501.20, Release of Confidential DCFS Case Record Information

0600-501.09, Consent for Mental Health Treatment and/or Developmental Assessments and Services

0700-504.20, Referring Children for Special Education or Early Intervention Services

Statutes

Assembly Bill (AB) 490 (2003) – States, in part, that each local educational agency must designate a staff person as an Educational Liaison for foster children to ensure and facilitate the proper educational placement, enrollment in school, and transfer between schools.

 

Education Code (EDC) 48853.5 – Specifies, in part, that the LEA will designate an Educational Liaison for the child who will collaborate with parent, legal guardian, or Holder of Educational Rights (HER) to transition the child to new school. The HER will participate in the decision-making process to determine if it is in the best interest of the child to remain in the school-of-origin or to transfer to a new school.

 

EDC 56055 – Specifies, in part, the circumstances under which the foster parent, relative caretaker, or nonrelative extended family member has the right to represent a child who is placed in a Planned Permanent Living Arrangement in educational matters.

 

Government Code (GOV) Section 7579.5 – Specifies, in part, the circumstances under which the court must refer a dependent child to the Local Educational Agency for the appointment of an Educational Surrogate Parent.

 

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – Ensures all children with disabilities have access to free, appropriate, public education and educational services in the least restrictive environment that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs.

 

Rules of Court (ROC) Section Chapter 10, Section 5.650 – Provides, in part, instructions for Judicial Officers regarding limiting parental/legal guardian education rights and regarding the appointment of an Educational Representative to make education decisions on behalf of a dependent child.

Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 361(a) – States, in part, the circumstances under which the Juvenile Court may direct orders to the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) regarding dependent minor’s education.

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