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  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 1: School/Education
16-2  Educational Representatives and Special Education Surrogate Parents
School/Education
16-2  Educational Representatives and Special Education Surrogate Parents
Reference Points
Overview
Key Points
Criteria for Limiting Educational Decision- Making Rights of Parents
Foster Youth Liaison Contacts - California Department of Education
Addressing Educational Decision-Making in Court Reports
Educational Representatives
Reference Points
How Educational Representatives Are Appointed
Definition of Parents in Special Education Matters
Special Education Surrogate Parents
How Surrogate Parents Are Appointed
Responsibilities of an Educational Representative or Surrogate
Contacts
Source Document
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: 12/1/07
Last Updated: 02/18/2013
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 361
Popup Window Education Code § 56055
Popup Window Individuals with Disabilities Educational Rights, Part B
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Educational Representative Appointment (JV535)
MS Word Attachment to Order Designating Educational Rights Holder (JV-535A)
MS Word Surrogate Parent Appointment (JV536)
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Court Management Section: Court Report


Overview  

California law states that whenever the court limits the right of a parent to make educational decisions for a youth who is a dependent of the juvenile court, it must appoint a responsible individual, such as a relative, non-relative extended family member or a responsible adult known to the child, to serve as the child's Educational Representative, before appointing an educational representative or surrogate who is not known to the child.  If there is no one available for the court to appoint as the Educational Representative, and the dependent youth is qualified for or in the assessment process for Special Education services, then the school district must appoint a Surrogate Parent to make decisions related to special education.  If the court cannot identify a responsible adult to appoint as the Educational Representative and the appointment of a Surrogate Parent is not warranted (i.e. the child is not involved in special education), then the court may make the educational decisions for the child (WIC § 361).

Social workers who supervise children involved in the Juvenile Dependency Court have a responsibility to address the issue of educational rights in court reports and, if necessary, to recommend that an individual be appointed as the Educational Representative for a dependent youth.
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Key Points  
  • Educational Representatives and Surrogate Parents only apply to cases in which the Court has limited the educational decision-making authority of the parent.
  • The Court appoints an Educational Representative.
  • The school district appoints a Surrogate Parent.  A Surrogate Parent is appointed for court dependent youth ONLY if:
    • There is no individual available to serve as the Educational Representative AND
    • The youth is either a potential or actual special education student.
  • Educational Representatives may make all educational decisions, including those involving Special Education services, on behalf of the court dependent youth.
  • Surrogate Parents may make educational decisions only on matters involving Special Education services.
  • Social workers must give serious consideration before recommending removal of educational rights of parents of non-Special Education court dependent youth, if there is no individual available to act as the Educational Representative.
    • School districts are only required to appoint a Surrogate Parent for Special Education purposes.
  • Social workers, as employees of a county agency involved in the care and supervision of court dependent youth, CANNOT serve as either Educational Representatives or Surrogate Parents.

 

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Criteria for Limiting the Educational Decision-Making Rights of Parents  

At the initial hearing, the Court can temporarily limit the educational decision-making rights of the parent(s) and temporarily appoint a responsible adult or ask the school district to appoint a surrogate parent to make educational decisions for the child, if all the following are true:

  • The parent or guardian is unavailable, unable or unwilling to exercise educational rights for the child;
  • The Department of Family and Children's Services has made diligent efforts to locate and secure the participation of the parent or guardian in educational decision makings; and
  • The child's educational needs cannot be met without the temporary appointment of a responsible adult.
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Foster Youth Liaison Contacts  

Click the following link to access a listing of foster youth liasion for each school district

in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County Foster Youth Liasion Contacts

in other areas in California.

Foster Youth Liasion Contacts

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Addressing Educational Decision-Making in Court Reports  

The social worker must address the issue of who makes educational decisions for the youth in reports prepared for the:

  • Jurisdictional/Dispositional Hearing
  • Six-Month, Twelve-Month and Eighteen-Month Status Review Hearing
  • Post Permanency Planning Hearing

The court report must include under the section "Evaluation of Child(ren) - Educational:

  • A factual discussion of the parents' or guardians' willingness and ability to participate in making educational decisions for the child.
  • A discussion of any circumstances that exist that compromise the ability of the parents or guardians to make educational decisions.

If the social worker assesses that the rights of the parents or guardians to make educational decisions for the child should be limited, the court report must further include:

  • A recommendation to limit the parents or guardians rights and
  • An identified responsible adult available to make educational decisions for the child.

 

Recommendations to the Court

Social workers must name the child's education representative in the court recommendations.  Included in the templates for recommendations 71-81, 91-96, 100, 101, 103, 110, 112, 113 and 114 for 6 Month, 12 Month, 18 Month and 366.3 Hearings under "Child Health and Safety" is:

b) Educational Rights:

The  __ mother   __ father   __ Other: ________

__  is appointed   __ continues to be the child's

__  educational representative.

__  educational surrogate parent appointed by the school district.

For Jurisdictional/Dispositional Hearings, the social worker must add the above in the recommendations.

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Educational Representative  

Whenever the juvenile court specifically limits the right of the parents or guardians to make educational decisions for the child, the court must, at the same time, appoint a responsible adult to make educational decisions for the child.  That individual, the Educational Representative, makes educational decisions for the child until one of the following occurs:

  • The youth reaches 18 years of age.
  • The court appoints another Educational Representative.
  • The parents' or guardians' rights to make educational decisions is fully restored by the court.
  • A guardian or conservator is appointed.
  • The youth is placed into long term foster care at which time the foster parent shall have the right to represent the child in educational matters.
    • The educations rights of a parent must be limited by the court before the foster parent has the right to make educational decisions. (Education Code § 56055)

The court cannot appoint an individual as the Educational Representative if there is a conflict of interest.  A conflict of interest exists if the person to be appointed has any interest that might restrict or bias his or her ability to make educational decisions.  This includes, but is not limited to local agency officers and employees:

  • Engaging in any employment, activity or enterprise for compensation, which is inconsistent, incompatible, in conflict with or inimical to his or her duties as a local agency officer or employee, and
  • receiving compensation or attorneys' fees for the provision of services as an educational representative.  (WIC § 361)

Social workers, as employees of a County agency involved in the supervision of court dependent youth, cannot serve as either Educational Representatives or Surrogate Parents.

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How Educational Representatives Are Appointed  

In order for the court to appoint an individual as a Educational Representative, the social worker:

  • Makes a recommendation:
    • By submitting an Application for Order or
    • At a scheduled court hearing with proper prior notice.
      • For scheduled hearings, Indicate on the second page of the green Noticing Worksheet (1423) that the recommendation to appoint an educational representative is being made.
  • Provides the court with enough information in the court report or App and Order to support the recommendation.
  • Attaches a completed JV 535 to the court report or Application for Order.

After the order is signed by the court, the social worker distributes copies of the order to:

  • All parties to the matter.
  • Educational Representative.
  • Principal of the school the youth attends.
  • DFCS Educational Rights Coordinator.
  • Special Education Director for the school district, if the student is receiving Special Education services or is in the process of being assessed for Special Education services.
  • SELPA Director for the school district of the school the youth attends, if the student is receiving Special Education services or is in the process of being assessed for Special Education services.
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Definition of Parents in Special Education Matters  

For the purposes of Special Education, the following individuals are defined as parents:

  • Any person having legal custody of the child, or
  • A person acting in place of a parent (such as a grandparent or stepparent with whom the child lives.)

Under this definition, in some cases the biological parents' educational rights may not have to be limited in order to ensure that educational decisions are made for dependent children receiving Special Education services.

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Special Education Surrogate Parents  

School districts appoint Surrogate Parents for Special Education purposes only.  The appointment of a Surrogate Parent occurs only in situations where:

  • The court has limited the parents' or guardians' educational rights, and
  • There is no responsible individual available for the court to appoint as the Educational Representative, and
  • The child is qualified for or in the assessment process for Special Educational services.
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How Surrogate Parents Are Appointed  

A social worker may request the limitation of educational rights and appointment of a Surrogate Parent by the school district, if:

  • The youth is involved in Special Education and
  • There is no individual available to serve as the Educational Representative for appointment by the court.

 

In order for the court to appoint an individual as a Educational Representative, the social worker:

  • Makes a recommendation:
    • By submitting an Application for Order or
    • At a scheduled court hearing with proper prior notice.
      • For scheduled hearings, Indicate on the second page of the green Noticing Worksheet (1423) that the recommendation to appoint an educational representative is being made.
  • Provides the court with enough information in the court report or App and Order to support the recommendation.
  • Attaches to the court report or Application for Order a copy of the completed:
    • JV-535 and
    • JV-536

After the order is signed by the court, the social worker distributes copies of the order to:

  • All parties to the matter.
  • Special Education Director for the school district.
    • The JV-536 must also be sent to the Special Education Director.
  • SELPA Director for the school district of the school the youth attends.
  • DFCS Educational Rights Coordinator.

Within 21 calendar days of receiving the order, the school district must do the following:

  • Appoint the surrogate as requested.
  • Complete the JV-536.
  • Return the completed JV-536 to the juvenile court.
  • Send a copy of the completed JV-536 to the DFCS Educational Rights Coordinator.
    • The coordinator forwards a copy of the JV-536 to the child's assigned social worker.
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Responsibilities of an

Educational

Representative or

Surrogate
 

In January 2013, WIC § 361(a)(5) was amended as follows,

If an educational representative or surrogate is appointed by the Court, the appointed educational representative or surrogate must:

  • Meet with the child;
  • Investigate the child’s educational needs and whether those needs are being met;
  • Prior to each review hearing, provide information and recommendations regarding the child’s educational needs to the social worker, make written recommendations to the court or attend the hearing and participate in those portions of the hearing concerning the child’s education.
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Contacts  

SELPA Director

Pamela Ptacek

Santa Clara County

1290 Ridder Park Dr. #277

San Jose, CA 95131

(408) 453-6566

SELPA Director

Jim Russell

3434 Marten Avenue

San Jose, CA 95148
Phone: 408-223-3771

See SELPA web site for the SELPA Administrative unit and the respective school districts covered by each of the SELPA directors listed above.

 

 

 

 
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Source Document  

Educational Rights, Representative and Special Education Surrogate Parents, prepared by SCC County Counsel, 10/30/06

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Other References  
bullet2 OPP Chapter 8-6: Ex-Parte Application for Order
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