The rights of children eligible under the Early Intervention Program of IDEA are protected if:

  1. No parent can be identified;
  2. The System, after reasonable efforts, cannot discover the whereabouts of a parent;
  3. Legal custody of the child and all parental rights and responsibilities for the care and custody of the child have been terminated by Court order or permanent entrustment agreement pursuant to applicable law; or
  4. The child is under the legal responsibility of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

An individual is assigned to act as a surrogate for the parent according to the procedures that follow. The procedures include a method for determining whether a child needs a surrogate parent and assigning a surrogate to the child. The following criteria are employed when selecting surrogates.

Surrogate parents are selected in ways permitted by Illinois law.

A person selected as a surrogate:

  1. Has no interest that conflicts with the interest of the child he or she represents;
  2. Has knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child;
  3. Is not an employee of any state agency or a person or an employee of a person providing early intervention services to the child or to any family member. A person who otherwise qualifies to be a surrogate parent under this section is not an employee solely because he or she is paid by a public agency to serve as a surrogate parent; and
  4. Resides in the same general geographic area as the child, whenever possible.

A surrogate parent may represent the child in all matters relating to:

  1. The evaluation and assessment of the child;
  2. Development and implementation of the child's IFSPs, including annual evaluations and periodic reviews;
  3. The ongoing provision of early intervention services to the child; and
  4. Any other rights established under the Early Intervention Program of IDEA.

Any individual interested in becoming a surrogate parent should contact:

Division of Program Compliance
Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street, E-228
Springfield, IL 62777-0001