Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 4. Special Education for Exceptional Children

Appointment And Termination Of Appointment Of Surrogate Parent

20-7-461. Appointment and termination of appointment of surrogate parent. (1) A school district or institution that provides education to a child with a disability shall adopt procedures to assign an individual to act as a surrogate parent for a child with a disability whenever the parents or guardian cannot be identified or, after reasonable efforts, the location of the parents cannot be discovered or if the child is a ward of the state. Within 10 days of determining that a child is in need of a surrogate parent, the school district or its designee or the governing authority of an institution or its designee shall nominate a surrogate parent and deliver the appropriate documentation to the youth court.

(2) The person nominated as a surrogate parent must be an adult who is not an employee of a state or local educational agency that is providing educational services to the child. The surrogate parent may not have a vested interest that will conflict with the person's representation and protection of the child. The surrogate, whenever practicable, must be knowledgeable about the educational system, special education requirements, and the legal rights of the child in relation to the educational system. Whenever practicable, the surrogate parent must be familiar with the cultural or language background of the child.

(3) The nomination for appointment of a surrogate parent, along with all necessary supporting documents, must be submitted to the youth court for official appointment of the surrogate parent by the court. The trustees of a school district or their designee or the governing authority of an institution or its designee shall take all reasonable action to ensure that the youth court appoints or denies the appointment of a person nominated as a surrogate parent within 20 days of the court's receipt of all necessary supporting documents. If the youth court denies an appointment, the trustees of a district or their designee or the governing authority of an institution or its designee shall nominate another person to be appointed as the surrogate parent. If the youth court fails to act within 20 days, the individual nominated is the surrogate parent for the child.

(4) The superintendent of public instruction shall adopt rules for a procedure to terminate the appointment of a surrogate parent when:

(a) a child's parents are identified;

(b) the location of the parents is discovered;

(c) the child is no longer a ward of the state; or

(d) the surrogate parent wishes to discontinue the appointment.

History: En. Sec. 5, Ch. 618, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 249, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 356, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 99(4), Ch. 51, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 16, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 255, L. 2005.