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7. Add a new parental consent provision for an initial evaluation of a ward of the State.

For initial evaluations only, if the child is a ward of the State and is not residing with the child’s parent, the public agency is not required to obtain informed consent from the parent for an initial evaluation to determine whether the child is a child with a disability if:
  • Despite reasonable efforts to do so, the public 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.
[34 CFR 300.300(a)(2)] [20 U.S.C. 1414(a)(1)(D)(iii)]

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. In your view, how might an LEA proceed if a child is found eligible for special education with surrogate consent and subsequently, the biological 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 that school personnel understand when consent is and is not necessary?

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

    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:

    Role: Teacher
    Location: West Virginia

    Role: Family Member
    Location: New Jersey

    Role: General Education Administrator
    Location: California

    Role: Higher Education
    Location: Indiana

    Role: Administrator
    Location: Illinois

    Role: Special Education Administrator
    Location: Kentucky