The Maine Department of Education needs volunteers to serve as education “surrogate” parents to a child or children with disabilities who have no available natural parents and/or guardians, including children in the custody of the state.

An educational surrogate parent is appointed to act independently on behalf of a student with disabilities and to safeguard the student’s rights in the special education process. Examples include permission for evaluation and placement, meetings to discuss the child’s programming, release of information and request for educational hearing.

As part of the state’s Education Surrogate Parent program, Maine DOE matches children with a volunteer surrogate parent, who acts to ensure the child is provided with equal educational opportunities.

The time commitment is as much or as little as the volunteer wants it to be. Some are only able to attend the annual IEP (educational programing) meeting either in person or by phone, and others are very involved, not only attending meetings, but also visiting the student and staying in regular contact.

The voluntary position may sometimes require travel, but travel expenses are reimbursed by the state of Maine. For more information, contact Staci Fowler at 624-6670 or