Surrogate Parent Program

Surrogate Parent Program
Mount Union Area School District 

*The Mount Area School District will work cooperatively with Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 in the assignment of a surrogate parent.   


The surrogate parent program is a response to requirements of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEIA 2004. It is recognized that special provision must be made to guarantee that children who do not have parents available to act for them nonetheless will have access to the extensive rights and protection afforded by IDEA. On behalf of school districts, the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit coordinates the training and assists in the assignment of surrogate parents in compliance with federal IDEIA ’04 regulations.

  • A surrogate parent is someone who may assume the responsibilities in matters relating to identification, evaluation, and educational placement of students for whom no parent or guardian can be identified, or their whereabouts is unknown, or the child is a ward of the state. Surrogate parents are volunteers who are trained by the intermediate unit to serve in this capacity.

A foster parent may be considered a parent for IDEA purposes if the natural parents’ authority to make educational decisions on the child’s behalf has been extinguished under State law and the foster parent has an ongoing, long-term parental relationship with the child, is willing to make the educational decisions IDEA requires of parents and has no interest that would conflict with the interests of the child. A foster child who has a foster parent who meets these criteria would not need to have a surrogate parent appointed.

Duties of a surrogate parent include becoming familiar with special education regulations, being involved in the MDE/IEP process, and receiving notifications regarding evaluation and/or placement of the student and the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to the child. Training will be provided through the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit.

To qualify as a surrogate parent, individuals must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a volunteer
  • Be a person of good character
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Possess reasonable abilities to make a decision concerning a student’s educational needs
  • Be committed to be acquainted with the student’s educational needs and with Pennsylvania’s educational system
  • Have no vested interest that would conflict with the primary allegiance to the student they would represent. 




For more information contact:


          Mrs. Dianne Thomas, Director of Special Education/Pupil Services

          Mount Union Area School District

          814-542-2518 Ext. 162

          [email protected]


          Mrs. Sandi Dinardi, Director of Special Education, IU 11


          [email protected]