Can I Authorize a Relative to Make Medical Decisions for my Minor Child?

I recently received a note from concerned grandparents. Their daughter had died, and their son- in-law worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week, and was often away on business trips for weeks at a time.

They took care of their grandchildren in their father’s absence, but were concerned they would not have the authority to make medical decisions for their grandchildren if they needed medical care while their father was out of town.

They asked if there was a way for their son-in-law to grant them the authority to handle medical and school related decisions while he was away at work and on his extended business trips.

Chapter 34 of the  Texas Family Code give parents the ability to authorize grandparents, aunts and uncles, or adult siblings to perform the following acts for a child in their care:

  1. 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;
  2. obtain and maintain health insurance coverage for the child and automobile insurance coverage for the child, if appropriate;
  3. enroll the child in a day-care program or preschool or in a public or private elementary or secondary school;
  4. authorize the child to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, civic, social, or recreational activities, including athletic activities;
  5. authorize the child to obtain a learner’s permit, driver’s license, or state-issued identification card;
  6. authorize employment of the child; and
  7. apply for and receive public benefits on behalf of the child.

The Department of Family and Protective Services developed a form that parents can use to confer this authority to a caregiver. You can access the form by clicking on the following link: Authorization Agreement for Non Parent Relative.

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