•  Surrogate Parents
    Why is there a need for Surrogate Parents?
    he Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) is a law which guarantees a free and appropriate education for every child with a disability between the ages of 3 and 21.  The law also states that children with a disability should have representation related to their identification, evaluation and education placement.  The Tuscaloosa County School System (TCSS) Surrogate Parent Program is a volunteer program designed to provide representation to students with disabilities whose parents cannot be identified or located.

    What are the Responsibilities of the Surrogate Parent?

          The Surrogate Parent Program acts on behalf of the educational rights of a child with a disability through the special education process. 

          The identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child;

          Development and implementation of an Individualized Educational Program (IEP); and,

          The provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).


    The Surrogate Parent should:

    1. Be familiar with the child’s educational needs;
    2. Respect the confidentiality of all records;
    3. Be familiar with other human services agencies in the community that might provide resources or other assistance that may affect the child;
    4. Visit the child’s school and consult with the teachers and other involved in the child’s education.  Be familiar with state and federal regulations concerning the education of students with disabilities, including the contents of the local school system’s document on procedural safeguards; and,
    5. Recommend changes in the program and/or placement of the child, if it does not seem appropriate and initiate mediation or due process hearing when necessary.


    Surrogate Parent Qualifications:

     TCSS has designed a training program for surrogate parents that will provide skills and knowledge in the following areas:

    o   The federal law affecting children with disabilities;

    o   District policies and confidentiality;

    o   Procedural rights of children and parents;

    o   Roles and responsibilities of Surrogate Parents;

    o   Processes and procedures used in special education;

    o   Techniques of effective advocacy; and,

    o   Definitions terms commonly used.

    Through training, those who serve as surrogate parents will expand, enhance, and improve services for children and youth.
                         Scheduled Surrogate Parent training:
                      September 17, 2021, 11:30am 
    Location: Sweet Home Food Bar

                                        *If you are interested in becoming a surrogate parent, please contact the

                                  Special Education Department, Tuscaloosa County Schools at 205-342-2756 in advance of the meeting.