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Educational Surrogate Parent Program

Educational Surrogate Parents (ESPs) are volunteer advocates who act as parents in the special education process on behalf of children with disabilities who have been placed in the state’s foster care system.

This brief webinar provides an overview of the Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP) Program and highlights the role of the ESP. This is a helpful video to watch if you are interested in becoming an ESP or just need a quick refresher.

To guarantee that each child in need of an ESP has a knowledgeable advocate, PIC provides training, consultation and support to community volunteers and foster parents who serve as ESPs. PIC also offers technical assistance and training to educators and professionals regarding parental rights and special education regulations.

The Educational Surrogate Parent Program is administered by the Parent Information Center through a contract with the Delaware Department of Education. The provision for appointing Educational Surrogate Parents was established under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

For Current and Potential Educational Surrogate Parents (ESPs)

If you are a foster parent or community volunteer interested in becoming an Educational Surrogate Parent, please complete the Application and Agreement of Volunteer Services and email to Kathie Herel, ESP Program Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click HERE for the Manual.

This manual provides information about special education and the role and responsibilities of an ESP, together with how an ESP works with school team members in the educational planning for a child who receives special education services.

Click HERE to view the ESP/CDW Webinar.

This webinar provides information for ESPs and CDW Workers who are supporting young children between the ages of birth through three.

For Division of Family Service (DFS) Workers

CDW Referral Form

School-age Referral Form

ESP Referral Tip Sheet

If you are uncertain about when to make a referral for an ESP, refer to this document for helpful tips and contact information.

For Child Development Watch (CDW) Workers

Click HERE to view the ESP/CDW Webinar.

This webinar provides information for ESPs and CDW Workers who are supporting young children between the ages of birth through three.

CDW Checklist

This checklist is helpful to CDW staff who are working with children in foster care.

CDW Referral Form

For Schools 

Quick Checklist

This is a handy reference for school staff to use when trying to determine who a “parent” is under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It is an especially helpful resource when determining who to invite to the IEP meeting for a child in foster care.


Educational Surrogate Parent Program: DFS and Schools

An overview of the Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP) Program as presented to DFS (Division of Family Services) staff.

Basic Special Education Information

A brief overview of the five important steps in the special education process.

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