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.

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

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

For Schools

  • Information About ESPs
    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.


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


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