015-11 Power of Attorney
Can a parent authorize a third party, such as a relative, family friend or advocate to act in place of the parent with regard to special education matters?
No. The Virginia Regulations, at 8 VAC 20-81-10, provide a comprehensive and exclusive definition of who may act as a parent for special education purposes. To ensure that the child’s interests are safeguarded, the regulations purposefully limit those who may act as a parent to individuals who have a strong natural interest in protecting the child or who have been vetted through legal processes. More specifically, the Virginia Regulations limit those who may act as a parent to biological or adoptive parents, persons such as relatives with whom the child lives, and persons appointed through court action or other legally recognized processes, such as foster parents, guardians and surrogate parents. Under the definition, other persons or agencies, such as departments of social services and guardians ad litem, are excluded. Virginia’s Office of the Attorney General has advised VDOE that allowing a parent to designate a person to act in place of the parent by power of attorney circumvents the protections intended by the regulations.