As a kid, I remember my mom always giving my friends’ parents a note whenever I would spend the night. It was always “just in case” I did something stupid and got hurt (which sadly, I did a lot of the time). As time has passed, and the simpler times of my childhood have disappeared, doctors, hospitals, schools, and others who would have, in the past, taken these notes have stopped.
Parental rights can now be shared.
Starting in 2009, Texas Law caught up (almost) with the wisdom of our parents. We can now authorize a grandparent, adult sibling, adult aunt, or adult uncle of a child:
- to authorize medical, dental, psychological, or surgical treatment and immunization of the child, including executing any consents or authorizations for the release of information as required by law relating to the treatment or immunization;
- to obtain and maintain health insurance coverage for the child and automobile insurance coverage for the child, if appropriate;
- to enroll the child in a day-care program or preschool or in a public or private primary or secondary school;
- to authorize the child to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, civic, social, or recreational activities, including athletic activities;
- to authorize the child to obtain a learner’s permit, driver’s license, or state-issued identification card;
- to authorize employment of the child; and
- to apply for and receive public benefits on behalf of the child.
Unlike our parent notes of yesterday, third parties (doctors, hospitals, schools, and others) can’t get into any trouble for relying in good faith on the authorization agreement, so they will be accepted by more people and places.
No effect on parental rights
Also, and best of all, the authorization agreement does not affect the parental rights of the child’s parent or legal guardian regarding the care, custody, and control of the child, and does not mean that the relative has legal custody of the child.