Surrogate Parents header banner.

Interested in Becoming a Surrogate Parent?

Individuals who serve as surrogate parents fulfill an important role in the life of a child with a disability. Surrogates have become increasingly important in special education because a growing number of children are living outside their family for some period of their lives. Like parents, surrogates of children with disabilities are granted a significant decision-making role and are involved at every step of the special education process, including:
  • Identification that the child may have a disability;
  • Evaluation to see if the child has a disability and is eligible for special education services;
  • Placement in an appropriate special education program for eligible children; and
  • The provision of a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) for the eligible child.
The absence of a parent can deny a child’s access to appropriate identification, evaluation, placement and provision of FAPE.

Questions and Answers

What Is a Surrogate Parent?

A surrogate parent is a person who is appointed to act in the interests of an exceptional student who does not have a parent who can make educational decisions. The surrogate parent works with the school to plan the child’s special education services. A surrogate parent does not take care of the child at home, like an adoptive parent or a foster parent does. A surrogate parent is not financially responsible for the child. A surrogate parent is more like a “school parent”—involved only in planning and making decisions about the child’s special education.

What Does a Surrogate Parent Actually Do?

A surrogate parent does all the things that a parent would do as part of the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) process, such as:
  1. Becoming familiar with the child’s abilities, disabilities, needs, services, and goals (This may include observing and talking with the child in school, gathering information from written records, and talking with teachers.)
  2. Going to meetings and helping the team plan and make decisions about the child’s education.
  3. Signing papers giving consent for special education services.
  4. Asking the school to change the child’s special education services.


How Can I Join the Team? (How do I qualify?)

Surrogate parents must:
  1. Be a citizen of the United States.
  2. Be a resident of the state of Florida.
  3. Be at least 18 years old.
  4. Not work for the local school board or any agency involved in the education or care of the child.
  5. Have no interest that conflicts with the interest of the child.

How Do I Apply?

If you feel you meet the qualifications stated in the section above, click on the "Click Here to Apply" button to the right of the page. You'll then need to download and fill out the application completely. When you are done, click on the "Click Here to Submit your Application" button and attach your completed application to the auto-generated email and click send. A member of our team will reach out to you in a timely manner to inform you of next steps. 

Contact Info

Carlos Velazquez, MSW, LCSW
School Social Worker
Orange County Public Schools
Non Public Services
3909 S. Summerlin Ave.
Orlando, FL 32806

407-317-3900 ext. 2035589
Main Number: 407-317-3550
Cell Phone: 407-928-4692

Quick Links

Click here to apply to be a surrogate parent for an OCPS student.

Click here to submit your Surrogate Parent Application