Guidance and Resources

OSEP Guidance

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is the office within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), a unit within the U.S. Department of Education, dedicated to improving results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21 by providing leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts.  OSEP, directly and through its partners and grantees, develops a wide range of research-based products, publications and resources to assist states, local district personnel and families improve results for students with disabilities.

OSEP provides information, guidance and clarification regarding implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in a number of ways including Memos, Dear Colleague Letters, and Policy Letters. Some of these guidance documents are listed below. Additional documents can be found at

Surrogate Parent Training

Pursuant to IDEA, 34 CFR §300.519, and Section 15.00 of the ADE, Special Education and Related Services, Procedural Requirements, a public agency must appoint a surrogate parent to ensure that the rights of a child are protected when:

  1. 1. No parent (as defined in 34 CFR §300.30 of the IDEA regulations) can be identified;
  2. 2. The public agency, after reasonable efforts, cannot locate a parent;
  3. 3. The child is a ward of the State under the laws of that State; or
  4. 4. The child is an unaccompanied homeless youth as defined in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a(6)).

A surrogate parent may represent the child in all matters relating to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child, and the provision of FAPE to the child.

The public agency must ensure that a surrogate parent:

  1. 1. Is not an employee of the SEA, the LEA, or any other agency that is involved in the education or care of the child;
  2. 2. Has no personal or professional interest that conflicts with the interest of the child the surrogate parent represents; and
  3. 3. Has knowledge and skills that ensure adequate representation of the child.

In an effort to assist districts in providing knowledge of IDEA to surrogate parents, the ADE Special Education Unit has developed a PowerPoint presentation that may be used by districts for information and training purposes. Notes are included as part of the presentation to help facilitate discussion.


In recent years, the U.S. Department of Education has encouraged state departments of education to review their respective statutes, regulations, rules, or advisory documents, regarding the use of student restraints in public schools to determine whether they need to be updated or developed, and issued a Resource Document to aid states and school districts in this process.

In an effort to assist Arkansas school districts, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) has developed Advisory Guidelines for the Use of Student Restraints in Public School or Educational Settings. It is ADE’s recommendation that districts review and consider these guidelines when developing or revising their own policies and procedures for implementation during the school year. These guidelines are not regulatory, but provide useful information regarding prevention and appropriate use of physical restraint. The guidelines also provide suggested procedures for training district staff, reporting incidents, and debriefing. Also attached is a sample Incident Record and Debriefing Form.

Shortened School Day and Homebound Decision Guidance

One of the cornerstones of special education is providing education in the least restrictive environment (LRE). A shortened school day or a homebound placement undeniably moves a student to the most restrictive option since the student is removed from all opportunities to participate in an environment with his or her non-disabled peers. Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams should exercise caution when placing a student on a shortened school day or homebound services as it may affect a student’s ability to make adequate progress, access the general education curriculum, meet graduation requirements, and receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

This guidance document outlines the considerations necessary for making decisions regarding a shortened school day or homebound services. This document should be used in conjunction with the DESE Special Education and Related Services, Procedural Requirements and Program Standards (Rules) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its implementing regulations. It reinforces the basic legal requirement that every child is entitled to a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, and supports teams in their efforts to implement that requirement.

Shortened School Day and Homebound Decision Guidance