Special Education Surrogate Parent Program

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Special Education Surrogate Parent Program

The Massachusetts Special Education Surrogate Parent Program (SESPP) appoints trained volunteers across the Commonwealth to act as special education decision-makers for students who have no parent or legal guardian. The mission of the Program is to promote positive educational  outcomes for children and youth in state custody by providing volunteers to represent their best interests  in the special education process.

This program, sponsored by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, offers support and technical assistance to the volunteers and guidance on the parameters of the legal decision making authority associated with the position. The program also provides comprehensive case management services to the students involved with the program. 

Students eligible for SESPP typically reside in a variety of living situations that may include residential schools, group homes, hospitals or pediatric nursing homes, state institutions, diagnostic placements, and shelters. There are over 730 students throughout the state currently represented by a Special Education Surrogate Parent.

In addition, the program conducts outreach efforts to DCF offices and to school districts across the state by offering training and informational materials; acting as a resource for local school districts, school placements, state agencies, and other community providers on the eligibility criteria of the students it serves, as well as the rights and responsibilities of the SESP volunteers. SESPP works in partnership with the Massachusetts Federation for Children with Special Needs, which is responsible for volunteer recruitment, training and support. 

Click here for more information about the SESP Program.

For more information, contact: 
SESP Program Director