For a number of different reasons, there are thousands of children in Massachusetts who do not reside with their parents, or who are not cared for by their parents on a regular basis. For example, some children may live with their grandparents or other relatives, or may be primarily cared for by, and evening living with, a nanny. For parents of children who fall into this category, knowing that a caregiver is authorized to make decisions about the child’s well being can provide peace of mind. In order to guarantee this right, a caregiver authorization affidavit is a must.
What Is a Caregiver Authorization Affidavit?
As explained by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, a caregiver authorization affidavit is a legal document that “creates a simple mechanism to clarify decision-making relating to education and health care in situations where minor children are living with an adult other than their parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian.” Essentially, a caregiver affidavit allows the “caregiver” to make decisions on the minor’s behalf when the parent is not present. The authorization form does not give the caregiver custody, and can be changed or revoked by the parent or legal guardian at any time. If there is a disagreement between the caregiver and parent regarding a decision about the child, the parent’s wishes trump those of the caregiver. Additionally, the caregiver authorization form is only valid for two years, after which time it must be renewed.
Who Is a Considered a “Caregiver” Under Massachusetts Law?
Massachusetts Code Chapter 201F Section 1 defines a caregiver as any adult with whom a minor child resides. This may be a sibling, grandparent, nanny, relative, or other adult; the code does not specify. If a caregiver is given authorization via a caregiver affidavit, they may exercise the following rights regarding the minor child:
- Give consent to any medical treatment, including dental care, surgery, mental health care, and more;
- Acquire medical, insurance, and educational records of the child; and
- Make decisions regarding the child’s education, including the child’s participation in school activities, where the child goes to school, and more.
Filling Out a Caregiver Authorization Affidavit
Caregiver authorization affidavits are easy to complete, and should be done with the caregiver, the parent or legal guardian, a notary, and two witnesses. While the form does not need to be filed with a Massachusetts’ court, it is recommended that a lawyer aid you in completing the form. Once the form is completed, a copy of it will need to be given to the child’s school, doctor, and dentist, as explained by the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court.
Create Your Caregiver Affidavit with Help from Our Family Law Attorney Today
If you have questions about a caregiver affidavit, Attorney Heather M. Ward can help. The Law Office of Heather M. Ward can assist you in completing a caregiver affidavit and understanding the rights it grants as well as its limitations. To learn more, please contact our family law attorney today at (617) 903-8955. You may also contact us online at your convenience.