3A - Parent, Including Foster and Surrogate Parent October 2012

Notice: This policy was reviewed, revised, and/or renamed. We provide this revision for historic purposes only. Please see our current policies and procedural directives.

This procedural directive was archived February 2023.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “parent” means:

  • A biological or adoptive parent of a child;
  • A foster parent, unless State law, regulations, or contractual obligations with a State or local entity prohibit a foster parent from acting as a parent;
  • A guardian generally authorized to act as the child’s parent, or authorized to make educational decisions for the child (but not the State, if the child is a ward of the State);
  • An individual acting in the place of a biological or adoptive parent (including a grandparent, stepparent, or other relative) with whom the child lives, or an individual who is legally responsible for the child ’ s welfare; or
  • A surrogate parent who has been appointed in accordance with § 300.519 or section 639(a)(5) of the Act.

(34 C.F.R. § 300.30(a))

For purposes of this procedural directive, the term "unaccompanied youth" includes a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.  (42 U.S.C. § 11434a(6))

Foster Parents

A foster parent of a child with a disability may act as a parent if:

  • The foster parent or the state children, youth and families department (CYFD) provides appropriate documentation to establish that CYFD has legal custody and has designated the person in question as the child’s foster parent;
  • the foster parent is willing to make the educational decisions required of parents under the IDEA; and
  • The foster parent has no interest that would conflict with the interests of the child.


A foster parent who does not qualify under the above requirements to act as a parent but who meets all requirements for a surrogate parent may be appointed as a surrogate if Albuquerque Public Schools deems such action appropriate.  ( NMAC)

Surrogate Parents

Albuquerque Public Schools shall ensure that the rights of a child are protected when:

  • No parent can be identified;
  • Albuquerque Public Schools, after reasonable efforts, cannot locate a parent;
  • The child is a ward of the State; or
  • The child is an unaccompanied homeless youth.

(34 C.F.R. § 300.519(a))

Albuquerque Public Schools shall assign an individual to act as a surrogate parent for a child who requires a surrogate parent.  (34 C.F.R. § 300.519(b))

The assignment shall be made not more than thirty (30) days after Albuquerque Public Schools determines that the child needs a surrogate parent.  (34 C.F.R. § 300.519(h))

Albuquerque Public Schools shall maintain a list of trained surrogate parents, provide a training program for surrogate parents, manage the contracting and remuneration process for surrogate parents, and assign surrogate parents to students identified as needing surrogate parents.  (34 C.F.R. § 300.519(b)(2))

Albuquerque Public Schools may select a surrogate parent in any way permitted under State law.  (34 C.F.R. § 300.519(d)(1))

Albuquerque Public Schools shall ensure that a person selected as a surrogate parent--

  • Is not an employee of the PED, the Albuquerque Public Schools, or any other agency that is involved in the education or care of the child;
  • Has no personal or professional interest that conflicts with the interest of the child the surrogate parent represents; and
  • Has knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child.

(34 C.F.R. § 300.519(d)(2))

In the case of a child who is an unaccompanied homeless youth, appropriate staff of emergency shelters, transitional shelters, independent living programs, and street outreach programs may be appointed as temporary surrogates without regard to whether that individual is an employee of the PED, the Albuquerque Public Schools, or any other agency that is involved in the education or care of the child, until a surrogate can be appointed that meets all of the requirements of a surrogate parent.  (34 C.F.R. § 300.519(f))

The surrogate parent may represent the child in all matters relating to:

  • The identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child; and
  • The provision of FAPE to the child.

(34 C.F.R. § 300.519(g))

In the case of a child who is a ward of the State, the surrogate parent alternatively may be appointed by the judge overseeing the child’s case, provided that the surrogate meets the criteria for surrogate parents.  (34 C.F.R. § 300.519(c))

Parent Hierarchy

When more than one person who meets the definition of parent is attempting to act as the parent, Albuquerque Public Schools shall address those situations in the following hierarchical manner:

  • If a judicial decree or order identifies a specific person or persons as the parent of a child or to make educational decisions on behalf of the child, then such person or persons shall be determined to be the parent for purposes of these procedural directives.  (34 C.F.R. § 300.30(b)(2))
  • Unless there is a judicial decree or order, the biological or adoptive parent, when attempting to act as the parent and when more than one party is qualified to act as a parent, must be presumed to be the parent for purposes of these procedural directives unless the biological or adoptive parent does not have legal authority to make educational decisions for the child.  (34 C.F.R. § 300.30(b)(1))

Administrative Position: Chief Academic Officer

Department Director: Executive Director of Special Education


Legal Cross Ref.:

For more information about the legal references below, refer to the following sites:
  • United States Code (U.S.C.)
  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
  • New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC)
  • 34 C.F.R. § 300.30
  • 34 C.F.R. § 300.519
  • 42 U.S.C. § 11434a
  • NMAC

Board Policy Cross Ref.:

  • II Special Education

Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:

  • Special Education – Prior Written Notice
  • Special Education – Consent
  • Special Education – Parent Participation in Meetings


NSBA/NEPN Classification: IHBA

Introduced: April 1, 2011
Reviewed: April 12, 2011
Adopted: April 22, 2011
Reviewed: October 12, 2012
Revised: October 12, 2012