Should You Sign a Parental Authority Form before School is Out?

Parental Authority
Parental Authority

Parental authority forms come in waves.  As you and your child celebrate another school year, very likely summer activities and groups will ask you for authorization forms.

Authorization forms from a school or camp protect that specific entity.

On the other hand, a Delegation of Parental Authority Form (DOPA) can protect you and your child.

What is a Delegation of Parental Authority Form (DOPA)?

Basically, this form helps another adult identified by a parent to care for a child, including:

  • Taking a child to the doctor,
  • Dropping them off at school,
  • Picking-up a child from school.

Who Should Have a Delegation of Parental Authority Form?

Personally, I think everybody who has a child should have a DOPA.  But, here are examples of other situations when a parental authority form can be very helpful:

  • Single parents,
  • Parents who travel for their job,
  • Parents fearful of going to jail,
  • Parents who fear immigration issues, and
  • Any parent concerned with day-to-day activities.

Minnesota is being ProActive

Likely, none of your friends will know this.  But, Minnesota has been very proactive with delegation forms.  In fact, we as residents can have the DMV add information to our drivers license.

In other words, if we are involved in an emergency accident, our drivers license can help others identify a temporary guardian for our children.

What I Include on a Minnesota DOPA

When I draft a DOPA on behalf of a parent or family, I like to make sure the following information is easily identified:

  • School Name and Location
  • Doctor Contact Information
  • Food Allergies
  • Medial Insurance Issues
  • List of Weekly Activities

Of course, these types of contacts change on a regular basis.  But, having a starting point can be critical for the stand-by guardian.

Free Delegation of Parental Authority Forms

Even better, there are free resources available to help parents and families with their Delegation of Parental Authority Form.

Not surprising, I believe these types of forms should be specifically drafted to help a specific family and their concerns.  But, it is nice to know that free options exist too.