(a)General. Each lead agency or other public agency must ensure that the rights of a child are protected when—
(1) No parent (as defined in § 303.27) can be identified;
(2) The lead agency or other public agency, after reasonable efforts, cannot locate a parent; or
(3) The child is a ward of the State under the laws of that State.
(b)Duty of lead agency and other public agencies.
(1) The duty of the lead agency, or other public agency under paragraph (a) of this section, includes the assignment of an individual to act as a surrogate for the parent. This assignment process must include a method for—
(i) Determining whether a child needs a surrogate parent; and
(ii) Assigning a surrogate parent to the child.
(2) In implementing the provisions under this section for children who are wards of the State or placed in foster care, the lead agency must consult with the public agency that has been assigned care of the child.
(c)Wards of the State. In the case of a child who is a ward of the State, the surrogate parent, instead of being appointed by the lead agency under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, may be appointed by the judge overseeing the infant or toddler's case provided that the surrogate parent meets the requirements in paragraphs (d)(2)(i) and (e) of this section.
(d)Criteria for selection of surrogate parents.
(1) The lead agency or other public agency may select a surrogate parent in any way permitted under State law.
(2) Public agencies must ensure that a person selected as a surrogate parent—
(i) Is not an employee of the lead agency or any other public agency or EIS provider that provides early intervention services, education, care, or other services to the child or any family member of the child;
(ii) Has no personal or professional interest that conflicts with the interest of the child he or she represents; and
(iii) Has knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child.
(e)Non-employee requirement; compensation. A person who is otherwise qualified to be a surrogate parent under paragraph (d) of this section is not an employee of the agency solely because he or she is paid by the agency to serve as a surrogate parent.
(f)Surrogate parent responsibilities. The surrogate parent has the same rights as a parent for all purposes under this part.
(g)Lead agency responsibility. The lead agency must make reasonable efforts to ensure the assignment of a surrogate parent not more than 30 days after a public agency determines that the child needs a surrogate parent.