Welcome to the Surrogate Parent Program  page. We hope you will find useful information and resources here.

A Surrogate Parent is a volunteer who assumes the parental rights of a child in foster care to advocate on their behalf for Early Intervention or Special Education services.

The provision for appointing Surrogate Parents was established under the federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. Part C of IDEA refers to children who are from birth to three years of age. Part B refers to children from three to 21 years of age. IDEA and Delaware regulations describe how eligible children with disabilities whose parent(s) cannot be identified or located, are entitled to have an adult appointed who can assume IDEA parental rights and responsibilities. Surrogate Parents are appointed by the Delaware Department of Education (DOE). Once appointed, a Surrogate Parent exercises their IDEA rights and responsibilities to advocate on a child’s behalf for Early Intervention or Special Education services.

Parent Information Center (PIC) administers the Surrogate Parent Program through a contract with the Delaware Department of Education (DOE).

Does this type of volunteer work interest you? We are always looking for dedicated individuals  who are eager to share their knowledge and skills and are open to learning and working with a team.

What steps should you take if you are interested in becoming a Surrogate Parent? The first step is to learn more by viewing our orientation which provides an overview of the Surrogate Parent Program . If you are drawn to this type of work and want to explore more, email your Surrogate Parent Application of Volunteer Services to Kathie Herel, kherel@picofdel.org Surrogate Parent Program Coordinator.

For Current and Potential Surrogate Parents

Community volunteers currently serving as Surrogate Parents include foster parents, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and child attorneys, retired educators and other dedicated community members with various backgrounds of knowledge and expertise.

Foster parents and pre-adoptive parents serve as Surrogate Parents primarily for children from birth to three years of age. Community volunteers appointed to school-age children are considered Educational Surrogate Parents (ESPs). A handbook with additional information to help guide ESPs with their work is available here.

All bring valuable knowledge and skills to their role and share the common goal of supporting a child in the foster care system to experience success in learning.

Be sure to check our the resources below for specific information that is relevant to the work of a Surrogate Parent. We also hope you will explore PIC’s website for other useful resources and materials.

  For Division of Family Services (DFS) Workers

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.



Age of majority-IDEA Rights at Age 18

Form used by Delaware IEP teams when discussing educational rights for a student turning 18 (age of majority).

Basic Special Education Information

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

Best Interest Determination Form

Form used by Delaware school teams when making educational placement decisions for a child in foster care who has moved.

Birth to Three Early Intervention  

Information about Delaware’s statewide early intervention program for children birth to 3 years of  age

Early Intervention Services for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and Their Families 2020

Information about eligibility for Early Intervention Services, examples of services, contact information and resources.

Eligibility for Special Education

An Overview of the eligibility process to receive special education services including the educational disability categories.

Foster Care Information

Information from the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) about foster care requirements and responsibilities.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Information about the The Individualized Education Program (IEP) or the blueprint developed by the IEP team to meet a child’s unique needs.

Public Education at a Glance 2019-2020

Report from RODEL with enrollment information about Delaware’s public schools.

Relative Caregivers’ School Authorization Affidavit and Frequently Asked Questions

Information about relative caregivers who are raising children without custody or guardianship.

Trauma and its Impact on Children

Information about trauma and mental health, triggers and behaviors resulting from trauma.

Trauma Informed Schools

Information about schools addressing trauma in a learning environment.


Helpful information and tips for navigating Delaware’s Truancy Court process.

Surrogate Parent Training Videos

For Surrogate Parent training videos click  here.

The Parent Information Center of Delaware is committed to providing access to our web pages for individuals with disabilities. The content of this site has been tested for usability and accessibility using a combination of standards-based, automated procedures and accepted heuristic methods. We make every effort to comply with the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Compliance is an ongoing process and we encourage notification when information on our website is inaccessible. If for any reason you are having difficulty accessing any of our resources please call us at (302) 999-7394 or email us at picofdel@picofdel.org.