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Special Education Listserv

Subject: Educational Surrogates - Determination, Web Surrogate System, and Recruiting Assistance

Source: Dana Desmond, Program Analyst, Special Education Compliance

Intended Audience: Administrators, Directors of Special Education, School Counselors, Other Interested Individuals

Date: April 22, 2013

This SELS serves as a reminder that Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in the state are required to identify children with disabilities within their jurisdiction who might be in need of an educational surrogate and to apply to the state for appointment of a surrogate in a timely manner.  Children with disabilities eligible for an educational surrogate are those who:

* have no identified parent;

* have parents who, after reasonable efforts, cannot be located by a public agency;

* are wards of the state and are living in a facility or group home (and not with a person acting as a parent); or,

* are unaccompanied homeless youth.

To assist LEAs in determining if a child qualifies for an educational surrogate, the Office of Special Education (OSE) has created a "Need for an Educational Surrogate: Decision Making Flowchart."  This flowchart can be found on our website at: http://dese.mo.gov/se/compliance/EdSurrogate/.

In October 2012, the OSE put in place a web-based educational surrogate system.  At that time, schools were made aware the system is mandatory when requesting an educational surrogate or terminating an assignment of an educational surrogate.  Please refer to the SELS message dated October 2, 2012, http://dese.mo.gov/se/se-ls10.02.12.htm.  The web-based system requires someone at the LEA to have access to the surrogate web system.  The LEA is responsible for granting access to staff through the User Manage Application within the Department's Web Applications.  A complete description of the web-based system is available in the Educational Surrogate Web System User Manual located at: http://dese.mo.gov/se/compliance/EdSurrogate/

It is also the responsibility of the LEA to assist the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in recruiting surrogate parent volunteers.  If a sufficient number of educational surrogates is not available in your area to fill the needs of identified students, LEAs must demonstrate efforts to recruit.  For assistance in recruiting efforts, contact the Special Education Compliance section at 573-751-0699 to discuss recruiting options.

Feel free to refer anyone in your community who might be interested in serving as an educational surrogate to the educational surrogate website at  http://dese.mo.gov/se/compliance/EdSurrogate/ and encourage them to complete the free training module.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Dana Desmond at 573-751-0186 or via e-mail at dana.desmond@dese.mo.gov.