Parent or Guardian
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Thu, 12 Oct 1995 03:02:59 -0400
Although BSA and other organizations could be more clear, the term
"Parent or Guardian" means a person who stands in the same legal
relationship to the child as a natural parent. Generally a guardian is a
person appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction to watch over the
welfare of a child; e.g. a stepparent, grandparent, etc. This is usually
accomplished by a court order or decree following a petition and hearing.
The order/decree spells out the guardians duties and responsibilties for
acting on the child's behalf. Normally this relationship is either
permanent or for a set period, but not as temporary as for a weekend or
specific activity. Short of such an arrangement a person who is not the
natural parent is not a guardian.
Some folks have discovered that they can give a power of attorney to a
youth group leader to cover medical care, etc., on a trip or activity.
In most states this must be counter-signed by two witnesses and
notarized. This sort of document creates a right in the leader to act on
behalf of the parents, but does not create a legal guardianship of the
type contemplated by YPP standards.
A signed statement by a parent to a leader without more saying that
another person can act in their place, is legally very questionable and
probably worthless. In most states it would be considered an invalid
attempt at creating a power of attorney and fail for want of witnesses
Unless the individual is a legal guardian appointed by a Court, I think
you are asking for trouble by allowing that person to substitute for a
parent on any activity. The answer should be NO.
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
DDC-Training, GW Dist. Nat Capital Area Council mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City