• Educational Surrogate Program

    The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and Columbia Public Schools seek volunteers to serve as educational surrogates for special education students without a parent representing them in educational decisions.

    State and federal laws require that these students have educational surrogates. An educational surrogate is an impartial individual appointed to ensure that the educational rights of a child with disabilities are protected.

    The educational surrogate fills the role of parent for these students whenever decisions are made about educational programming and placement. The responsibilities of a surrogate parent include attending conferences and meetings with school personnel about the student's programs, reviewing the child’s education records, and ensuring the child is receiving an appropriate education.

    The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) trains volunteers appointed as education surrogates. The greatest number of educational surrogates is needed for students who are in the legal custody of the Division of Family Services and reside in a residential facility. Educational surrogates have no responsibility for the physical or financial care of the student, nor are they liable for civil damages due to representing the student in educational decisions.