Educational Rights Holder

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Limiting Educational Rights of Parent(s)
If there ever is a situation where the parents are unavailable or incapable of exercising educational rights, the juvenile court must take action. This can include limiting educational rights of the parents (in whole, or in part). If the court does limit the educational rights, then it must appoint a responsible adult (using a JV-535 form).

Why appoint a CASA?
CASA volunteers are often considered as educational rights holders. The law states that when either the juvenile court or the school district appoints an educational rights holder, both must consider appointing either the caregiver or CASA (if he or she was willing to serve). The court may consider others as well, including a responsible adult relative, nonrelative extended family member, family friend, or other mentor. See Cal. Rule of Court 5.650(c)(1) and Gov. Code 7579.5(b).

If the court cannot locate a responsible adult and the youth appears to need special education services, the court will send it to the school district for appointment of an educational surrogate. See Welf. & Inst. Code 361.

The Process
The court must consider whether the parent’s educational rights should be limited at virtually every hearing in dependency. However, the right of a parent to make educational decisions is a constitutional right, and may only be limited by a court when it follows certain procedures and makes certain findings.

Therefore, if you think that the child or youth needs an appointed educational rights holder, you can make that recommendation to the court, file a 388 (a motion to change a previous order based on the best interest of the child), or make the request another way. Once any parents whose whereabouts are known have notice, the court can proceed.

The court will hear evidence, consider the circumstances and needs of the child, and rule in that child’s best interest.

  • If the court decides to limit educational rights the court will appoint a responsible adult if it can identify one (including allowing a foster parent if qualified by law)

or

  • If the court cannot identify a responsible adult, it is to send a request to appoint one to the district – if and only if the youth is or may be eligible for special education services.
  • If the youth has no indication of needing special education, and the court cannot find a responsible adult, then the court itself holds educational rights.

See California Rule of Court 5.650(b).

[Relevant Law: California Rule of Court 5.650(b); Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 319, 361, 366, 366.27, 726; 20 U.S.C. § 1415; 34 C.F.R. § 300.519]