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Education Laws and Regulations

Caregiver Authorization Affidavits - Mass. General Laws Chapter 201F

To:Superintendents, Charter School Leaders, Principals, and Other Interested Parties
From:Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:August 24, 2009

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An Act Relative to Caregiver Education and Health Care Authorization (Chapter 511 of the Acts of 2008, codified at Mass. General Laws Chapter 201F, sections 1-6) took effect on April 14, 2009. The law is available online at http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/seslaw08/sl080511.htm. It 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.

Chapter 201F, section 1, defines a "caregiver" as an adult with whom a minor resides. Chapter 201F, section 2, permits a parent, legal guardian or legal custodian (the "authorizing party") to authorize a caregiver to exercise certain parental rights relative to the minor's education and health care, by signing a "caregiver authorization affidavit." The caregiver's exercise of these rights is concurrent with the rights of the authorizing party. In other words, the parent, legal guardian or legal custodian who signed the authorization still retains decision-making rights. In the event of conflicting decisions between the authorizing party and the caregiver, the authorizing party's decision supersedes that of the caregiver.

The caregiver may exercise the following rights with respect to the minor:

  • consent to medical, surgical, dental, developmental, mental health or other treatment
  • obtain records and other information with regard to health care and insurance
  • make educational decisions and stand in for the authorizing party with respect to federal, state and district educational policy, including, but not limited to, accessing the minor's educational records; representing the minor in enrollment, disciplinary, curricular, special education or other educational matters; signing permission slips for school activities; and any other decision that facilitates the minor's educational experience.

The law specifies that the caregiver authorization affidavit cannot be used to circumvent any state or federal law, solely for the purposes of attendance at a particular school, or to re-confer rights to a caregiver from whom those rights have been removed by a court of law.

A caregiver authorization affidavit must be signed in front of two witnesses and a notary public. The caregiver cannot be one of the witnesses. The affidavit does not have to be filed with or approved by a court. School officials receiving caregiver authorization affidavits should file them with the student's record. The affidavit is valid for two years, although the parent or other authorizing party may revoke it at any time by writing a letter to the caregiver and giving a copy of the letter to school officials.

A sample caregiver authorization affidavit and instructions prepared by the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court are attached for your convenience.

The caregiver authorization affidavit should be helpful for families, schools, and health care providers in situations where minor children are living with an adult other than their parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian. If you have questions about the law, please contact legal@doe.mass.edu or consult with your own legal counsel.

Attachments:

View HTML PageInstructions, Massachusetts Caregiver Authorization Affidavit
Download PDF DocumentSample Caregiver Authorization Affidavit



Last Updated: August 31, 2009
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