(a) Appointment. Unless appointed by the district school superintendent, the court must appoint a surrogate parent for a child known to the department who has or is suspected of having a disability when
(1) after reasonable efforts, no parent can be located; or
(2) a court of competent jurisdiction over a child under Chapter 39, Florida Statutes, has determined that no person has the authority under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, including the parent or parents subject to the dependency action, or no person has the authority, willingness, or ability to serve as the educational decision maker for the child without judicial action.
(b) Who May Be Appointed. The surrogate parent must meet the minimum criteria established by law.
(c) Recognition of Surrogate Parent. The dependency court and school district must recognize the initial individual appointed as surrogate parent.
(d) Duties and Responsibilities. The surrogate parent must be acquainted with the child and become knowledgeable about the child’s disability and education needs and
(1) must represent the child in all matters relating to identification, evaluation, and educational placement and the provision of a free and appropriate education to the child;
(2) must represent the interests and safeguard the rights of the child in educational decisions that affect the child, and enjoy all the procedural safeguards afforded a parent regarding the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of a student with a disability or a student who is suspected of having a disability; and
(3) does not have the authority to represent the interests of the child regarding the child’s care, maintenance, custody, residential placement, or any other area not specifically related to the education of the child, unless the same person is appointed by the court for those purposes.
(e) Notice of Appointment. When the court appoints a surrogate parent, notice must be provided as soon as practicable to the child’s school.
(f) Substitution or Discharge. The court may, through a determination of the best interest of the child or as otherwise established by law, find that it is appropriate to substitute or discharge the surrogate parent. The surrogate parent must continue in the appointed role until discharged.