In Loco Parentis Law & Legal Definition


In loco parentis is a Latin term meaning "instead of a parent" or "in place of a parent". A foster parent, a county custodial agency or a boarding school which is assuming the parental obligations for the minor, including protecting his/her rights, may be referred to as being in loco parentis. In loco parentis infers that the person or entity is standing in the role of the parent of a minor, without having gone through the formal adoption process. At one time, colleges and universities acted in loco parentis for their students, but this is no longer true. For example, a person standing in loco parentis for a minor may be authorized to consent to medical treatment if the minor is injured.

Some states allow persons who stand in loco parentis to a child to have visitation rights. Such laws allow a person “other than a legal parent” to seek visitation or custody of a child. For example, one state law provides that “[a] grandparent, a great-grandparent, or a person who stands in loco parentis to a child may bring a proceeding for visitation rights with a child.”State law varies, so local law should be consulted for applicability in your area.

Individual employer policies vary, but in loco parentis is also sometimes used in the context of eligibility for employment leave. For example, some employers allow a leave of absence to care for “immediate family”, which may include a child for whom the employee stands in loco parentis or other individual who stands in loco parentis to the employee.