Caretaker Authorization Fact Sheet
What is a Caretaker Authorization? A Caretaker Authorization Affidavit is a legal document. It gives a grandparent temporary authority to make decisions about a grandchild’s care.
A Caretaker Authorization Affidavit does not:
- Award legal custody
- Affect the rights of the child’s parents, guardian or custodian in any future legal proceeding;
- Give authority to a grandparent to consent to adoption or marriage of the child;
- Modify or redirect child support payments for the child.
What does a Caretaker Authorization do? It gives the grandparent legal authority to:
- Enroll the child in school
- Consent to school activities
- Access the child’s school information
- Be involved in the child’s educational planning
- Arrange for the child’s medical, dental and psychological treatment
Who can get a Caretaker Authorization Affidavit (CAA)? A grandparent may sign a CAA if;
- There is a grandchild living in the household,
- the child’s parents, guardian or custodian cannot be located or contacted.
Can any relative of the child be given a CAA? No, only grandparents at this time.
When can a CAA be created? It can be created only if the parents, guardian or custodian cannot be located or contacted. It may not be created for the sole purpose of changing schools to participate in academic or sports programs.
What if there is a case already pending? A CAA is not effective if there is:
- A proceeding to appoint a guardian or for the adoption of the child
- A divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment proceeding
- A proceeding to allocate parental rights and responsibilities
- A proceeding where the child is alleged to be dependent, neglected or abused
- The child is in shelter care or detention and no hearing has yet been held
- There is a temporary custody order for emergency medical treatment of the child.
How is a CAA created? A CAA form must be completed and signed in front of an Ohio notary public by the grandparent seeking it.
What are the other requirements after the CAA is created? It must be filed in court within the next 5 days. File the original CAA with the Juvenile Court in the county where the grandparent lives. If another court in the past has made a custody order for the child, the CAA must be filed in that court.
Does a grandparent always have to attempt to locate the parents? No. Parents do not have to be contacted if:
- The father does not have to be located if paternity has not been established.
- A court order prohibits a parent from receiving a notice of change of residence of the child
- The parent’s parental rights have been terminated by a Juvenile Court order
Is there a court hearing after the CAA is filed? No court hearing is required.
How long is the CAA valid? It’s temporary. It ends after one year or earlier if:
- The child stops living with the grandparent
- Death of the child
- Death of the designated grandparent
- A parent, in writing, revokes or reverses a decision of the grandparent
- Termination by court order
What must I do if the CAA is terminated? The grandparent must send written notice within 7 days to:
- the court
- The child’s school
- The child’s health care providers
- The child’s health insurance coverage provider
- Any other person or entity that has an ongoing relationship with the child
- The Court in which it was filed
Can the CAA be renewed by the grandparent after one year? Yes. A new CAA must be created and filed with the Court. However, the Court will hold a hearing to determine whether another CAA is in the child’s best interest.
How can a grandparent with a CAA get child support? Grandparents must file in court or with the Child Support Enforcement Agency to modify an existing order or to seek a new order of child support.
For more information see: www.kinshipohio.org
This article is meant to give you general information and not to give you specific legal advice.
Prepared by Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. Updated June 2012.