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6. Mandates consent for wards of the state.
If the child is a ward of the state (See Section 602(36)) and is not residing with the child’s parent, the agency shall make reasonable efforts to obtain the informed consent from the parent (as defined in Section 602) of the child for an initial evaluation to determine whether the child is a child with a disability. The agency shall not be required to obtain informed consent from the parent of a child for an initial evaluation to determine whether the child is a child with a disability if:
  • Despite reasonable efforts to do so, the agency cannot discover the whereabouts of the parent of the child;
  • The rights of the parents of the child have been terminated in accordance with state law; or
  • The rights of the parent to make educational decisions have been subrogated by a judge in accordance with state law, and consent for an initial evaluation has been given by an individual appointed by the judge to represent the child.

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. In your view, how might an Local Education Agencies (LEAs) proceed if a child is found eligible for special education with surrogate consent and subsequently, the natural parent appears and wishes to terminate special education services?

  2. Why was it necessary to clarify the guidelines for obtaining consent when children are wards of the state?

  3. What roles within the LEA might be charged with the authority to ensure implementation of this provision?

  4. How might a child’s educational program be affected if s/he is a ward of the state and does not have a surrogate?

Application Questions

  1. How might states define “reasonable effort” for purposes of locating a parent for consent?

  2. What types of professional development may be necessary to ensure school personnel understand when consent is and is not necessary?

  3. What strategies might be helpful in resolving differences among educational agencies, social services agencies, and or other agencies regarding the obtainment of consent?

    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:

    Role: National Family Advocacy Organization
    Location: Minnesota
    Role: Assistant Superintendent
    Location: Michigan
    Role: Family Advocate
    Location: Maryland
    Role: National TA Provider
    Location: Oregon
    Role: Principal
    Location: Virginia
    Role: State Education Agency
    Location: Pennsylvania
    Role: TA Provider
    Location: Washington, D.C.
    Role: Family Advocate
    Location: Tennessee