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Policy Manual
Education

45-10
Surrogate Parents

Policy The Department of Children and Families shall ensure that a surrogate parent is appointed for any child within the care of the Department who is eligible for such a service.

Legal Reference: CONN. GEN. STAT. 10-94f through 10-94k;

and 17a-6(l).

Definitions A surrogate parent is a person appointed by the Commissioner of the State Department of Education (SDE) to serve as the child’s advocate in the educational decision-making process or early intervention decision-making process in place of the child’s parent or guardian.

The educational decision-making process includes all matters related to special education including referral, evaluation, eligibility determination, Individualized Education Program (IEP) design, IEP service delivery, and due process procedures.

The early intervention decision-making process includes all matters related to early intervention services (the Birth to Three program) including referral, evaluation, eligibility determination, Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) design, IFSP service delivery, and due process procedures.

The Local Education Agency (LEA) provides special education and related services to eligible children, three (3) to twenty-one (21) years of age (school-aged children).

The Regional Family Service Coordination Center (RFSCC) provides early intervention services (Birth to Three Program) to eligible children less than three (3) years of age.

When is a Child Eligible for a Surrogate Parent? A child is eligible to have a surrogate parent appointed if
  • the child requires, or may require, special education or early intervention services

and

  • at least one of the following is applicable:
    • The Commissioner of DCF has been appointed as the child’s guardian or statutory parent
    • the child’s parent or guardian
      • cannot be identified
      • cannot be located
      • is unavailable to represent the child regarding special education or early intervention services and agrees, or fails to object, to the appointment of a surrogate parent.
Procedures to Appoint a Surrogate Parent The table below presents the procedures for requesting the appointment of a surrogate parent.

Note: The DCF staff member responsible for the case may be either the child’s DCF Social Worker or DCF Parole Services Officer, as designated.

Department / Person Responsible

Activity

DCF Staff Member Telephone the Local Education Agency (LEA) or Regional Family Service Coordination center (RFSCC) to advise of the need for the appointment of a surrogate parent.

Within two (2) working days of placement of the child or of a change in the child's status which requires formal notification,

  • send the LEA form DCF-603, "Notification to LEA of a Department Placement," and a copy to the SDE Surrogate Parent Program.

NoteNo written notice is sent to the RFSCC.

Cross-Reference:  Policy 45-5, "Notification to the Local Education Agency of a DCF Placement".

LEA or RFSCC which has jurisdiction for the child Submit a referral application to the SDE to appoint the surrogate parent (SDE form, "Application for Referral to the Surrogate Parent Program")

 

Note: When the child is under the guardianship of the Commissioner of DCF, the initial referral must include a "Certificate of Child Status Form", (an SDE form) to be completed by the DCF staff member or immediate supervisor. If the LEA or RFSCC does not already have a copy of this form, they will notify DCF to complete and submit one.

DCF Staff Member or Supervisor Upon request of the LEA or RFSCC,
  • complete the "Certificate of Child Status Form", and submit it to the LEA, RFSCC or SDE, as requested, within two days of the request (see above).
State Department of Education
  • Appoint the surrogate parent.
  • Send a letter of appointment to the surrogate parent and a copy to DCF.
DCF Staff Member
If... Then the DCF staff member shall...
DCF does not receive written notification from the SDE regarding the identity of the surrogate parent

or

the DCF staff member believes that the LEA or RFSCC has not requested the appointment

complete and forward to the LEA or RFSCC the following forms:
  • DCF-2132, "Request for a Surrogate Parent"

and

  • the "Certificate of Child Status Form"
no response is received from the LEA or RFSCC within two (2) weeks of the above request request the assistance of the USD II Education Consultant.
USD II Education Consultant The Education Consultant shall
  • telephone the LEA or RFSCC to follow-up on the request
  • if necessary, submit an "Application for Referral to the Surrogate Parent Program" to the SDE
DCF Staff Member Upon notification from the SDE of the identity of the surrogate parent,
  • record the surrogate parent’s name, address, and telephone number in the DCF uniform case record, educational section.

 

Communi-
cation with the Surrogate Parent
The DCF staff member shall
  • communicate with the surrogate parent, as appropriate
  • ensure that the surrogate parent receives the following:
    • notice of a placement of the child by DCF and/or of information which changes the status of that placement.

Note: The DCF staff member shall provide such notification to the SDE on DCF-603, and the SDE will forward the information to the surrogate parents.

Because the SDE assigns surrogate parents based upon the location of the child’s residence, a different surrogate parent may be appointed each time DCF moves the child to a different town or residential facility.

  • an invitation to participate in each Placement Review Team Meeting
  • a copy of each determination made by the Placement Review Team.

Cross-Reference: Policy 45-6-2, "Placement Review Team".

USD II Consultation The USD II Superintendent of Schools shall assign USD II Education Consultants to provide consultation, including training and assistance, to other DCF personnel regarding surrogate parent matters.

Upon request from the DCF staff member or supervisory personnel, the Education Consultant shall

  • review the status of the child to determine if he/she is eligible to have a surrogate parent appointed.
  • ensure that the LEA or RFSCC has requested the appointment of a surrogate parent, when the DCF staff member has been unsuccessful in this regard
  • complete an "Application for Referral to the Surrogate Parent Program," if no LEA or RFSCC will complete such application for an eligible child, when appropriate
  • interact with the State Department of Education to identify the surrogate parent
  • attempt to resolve any issues between the DCF staff member and the surrogate parent.
Surrogate Parent Access to DCF Records The surrogate parent has the same right of access to DCF records as would the child’s natural parent or guardian regardless of whether such parent or guardian retains such rights.
Foster Parent as Surrogate Parent The SDE Commissioner may appoint a child’s foster parent to serve as the child’s surrogate parent if
  • the DCF Commissioner has been appointed the child’s guardian and/or statutory parent
  • the foster parent has made a request to the SDE for such appointment
  • the child’s Social Worker certifies in writing to SDE that DCF supports such appointment.

Note: The foster parent shall be in good standing and actively support the Department’s treatment goals and plans.

The SDE is responsible for providing training to a foster parent who is appointed as a surrogate parent.

Connecticut Department of Children and Families Effective Date: July 15, 1995 (New)