Education Advocate

The Education Advocate training is for Kansas foster parents, adoptive parents, community volunteers and anyone who wishes to help a child whose parents are unknown or unavailable by acting on their behalf for special education decisions. This training is also great for parents who want to know  more about their rights in the special education process.

Families Together, Inc. is contracted to coordinate the Education Advocate Program by the Kansas State Department of Education. Persons wishing to serve as an education advocate must attend the training provided by Families Together. The training is free and offered at various locations throughout Kansas eight times per year.

Photo: two girls looking at a workbook

Upcoming Education Advocate Training Sessions

Education Advocate Training Overview

The primary goal of the Education Advocate training is to train persons who are wishing to serve as legal decision-makers for eligible children who are in the care of the state.

Eligible children:

  1. are between the ages of 2.3 and 21 years of age;
  2. are in the custody of the Department for Children and Families (DCF) or the Department of Corrections (DOC);
  3. have parents who are unknown, unavailable, or whose parental rights have been terminated; and,
  4. are receiving special education services or are in need of an evaluation to determine eligibility; or,
  5. are homeless and unaccompanied and receiving special education services.

This 5.5 hour training will cover:

  • The role and responsibilities of an education advocate
  • Definition of parent and child with an exceptionality
  • General education interventions and Multi-tier System of Supports (MTSS)
  • Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
  • Evaluation processes
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) components and team membership

Commonly Asked Questions about the Education Advocate Program

What does an Education Advocate do?

Education advocates are volunteers assigned to step into the role of a parent in the special education process. Education advocates should:

  • become acquainted with the child and his or her school program;
  • give input and be an active member of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team;
  • agree or disagree with proposed actions;
  • attend disciplinary hearings if necessary;
  • communicate with teachers to track the student’s progress; and,
  • most importantly, advocate for the interests of the child at all times.

How do I Become an Education Advocate?

Interested persons must attend a training by Families Together, Inc. to become an education advocate. Please contact the Topeka Center to be added to a mailing list and receive notification of trainings. Workshop dates and locations will be posted on this website.

Why Become an Education Advocate?

There are more than 800 Kansas children and youth with disabilities whose parents are unknown, unavailable or whose parental rights have been terminated.

These children and youth need someone like you to represent them in special education matters!

How much time does it take?

Much communication can be done electronically or by phone. It’s important that you attend eligibility meetings and annual IEP reviews regarding your appointed child. These meetings will be scheduled at mutually agreeable times. When possible, you will be appointed to a child in your county of residence to make it easier for you to appropriately represent the child.