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In Loco Parentis in Texas

"In loco parentis" literally means "in the place of a parent" and refers to "acting as a temporary guardian or caretaker of a child, taking on all or some of the responsibilities of a parent."

In Texas, in loco parentis status has been conferred on persons and entities who have voluntarily assumed parental responsibilities and attempted to create a home-like environment for the child.

"One who through kindness or charity or other motive has received into his family and treats a child as a member thereof, stands in loco parentis . . . so long as the child remains in his family."

The defining characteristics of in loco parentis are the actual care and custody of a child by a nonparent who assumes parental duties because the parent--generally due to his or her absence--is unable or unwilling to care for the child.

A person who has only a temporary responsibility for supervising a child, however, is not deemed to be in loco parentis as to the child.

See McGee v. McGee, 936 S.W.2d 360, 369-70 (Tex. App.--Waco 1996, writ denied) (op. on reh'g) (holding that stepfather stood in loco parentis because he had cared for child from early childhood and was the only father child had every known);

Goetz v. Lutheran Social Serv. of Tex., Inc., 579 S.W.2d 82, 83 (Tex. Civ. App.--Austin 1979, no writ) (holding that children's home had in loco parentis status and appointing home as child's managing conservator after parental rights were terminated);

Malone v. Dixon, 410 S.W.2d 278, 285 (Tex. Civ. App.--Eastland 1966, writ ref'd n.r.e.) (concluding that orphanage stood in loco parentis as to child after his aunt placed him there following his parents' death);

Trotter v. Pollan, 311 S.W.2d 723, 729 (Tex. Civ. App.--Dallas) (deeming couple in loco parentis to child who lived for years in their home with no financial assistance from child's father and whom they voluntarily cared for and treated as their own), writ ref'd n.r.e. per curiam, 158 Tex. 494, 313 S.W.2d 603, 1 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 441 (1958);

Cantu v. S. Pac. Ry. Co., 166 S.W.2d 963, 965 (Tex. Civ. App.--Amarillo 1942, writ ref'd) (holding couple stood in loco parentis to child whose parents had committed to couple child's care, custody, and child-rearing responsibilities from age 15 months until child's death ten years later).