A letter giving another person permission to care for your child can save a lot of hassle and trauma when you need someone to pick him up from school, get him to the doctor or act as the primary caregiver for more than a few hours. In today's safety-conscious age, you will need such a letter any time your child and caregiver encounter an official situation.
Before You Write
Check with your child's school and pediatrician. They may have specific forms they prefer to use when a caregiver will be filling in for a parent. Also, check legal requirements in your state for caregiver authorizations.
Unless you're addressing a specific person, begin your letter with: "To Whom It May Concern." In the first paragraph, include your full legal name and address, the caregiver's name as it appears on her photo ID and your child's full legal name and date of birth. Next, state: "I, Dave Wilson, 223 Peach Pie Lane, Anytown, grant Melissa C. Smith permission to care for my child Emily Wilson, born March 14, 2010."
In paragraph two, spell out exactly what the letter is meant to cover. If it's specific, such as picking your child up from school or day care on certain days or taking her on a plane, include that information. If the caregiver will have sole charge of your child for a period of several days or more, include the beginning and ending dates and specify what the permission covers: medical care, school pickups and any other situation you anticipate the caregiver may face, such as a sports or music practice outside school hours.
The Final Touch
Have your letter notarized. Most banks, municipal offices and insurance companies have a notary public on staff who will check your identification and put an official stamp on your letter for a very small fee.