Are You Prepared for a School-Time Emergency? {3 ways to know}

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“Do you think a school emergency card is enough to protect your kids if something happens to you during school hours?” asks attorney Steve Worrall to a crowd of parents attending his popular Protect My Kids! seminar last month in Marietta, Georgia.

The majority of the room raises their hands yes. A few parents are undecided. Yet from a legal standpoint, all of them are wrong.

“Contrary to popular belief, a school emergency card will not protect your children from spending time in the hands of social services if something tragic happens to you,” says Worrall. “The emergency card only gives named contacts permission to pick your kid up if they are sick, not take short-term custody of them if one or both parents are killed or incapacitated in an accident.”

For this reason, experts such as Worrall recommend parents create an emergency plan so there is no confusion or legal headaches should tragedy strike. According to Worrall, this plan can be created in three easy steps:

1. Legally name short-term guardians for your kids.

Short-term guardians are the people who have legal permission to care for your child until the surviving parent or long-term guardian can arrive. This should ultimately be someone who lives close by and one who will comfort your children in an emergency.

2. Make sure your short-term guardians match those named on the school emergency card.

In addition to listing friends and neighbors who can pick your child up from school if he or she gets sick, it’s equally important to list the full contact information of your short-term guardians for true emergencies. Without this information, your children could be placed temporarily in the custody of social services until the surviving parent or legal guardian can arrive.

3. Make sure the babysitter knows what to do if you don’t return home.

It’s extremely important that parents give their a.m. or p.m. babysitters detailed instructions on what to do and who to call if they don’t return home. In most cases, a babysitter will panic and turn to the police for help, again opening the door for social services to temporarily take custody of your kids until a long-term care provider can arrive.

“Creating a back-to-school and babysitter emergency plan is so easy–and something that will greatly pay off if a parent is injured or, God forbid, killed during school hours,” Worrall says. “The first few hours after an emergency are the most painful for a child, so it’s important for parents to make sure their kids spend that time with people they love and trust, rather than in the arms of the state,” he concludes. Good advice for parents and teachers, alike.

For more information on Marietta family attorney, Steve Worrall, please visit or call 770-425-6060. You can also sign up for an upcoming Protect My Kids! Plan Workshop at to gain detailed guidance on how to guarantee that your kids are legally protected…no matter what.

Stephen M. Worrall is an experienced family law and wills, trusts, estate planning, probate and elder law attorney in Marietta and Atlanta, Georgia. He concentrates his practice in all areas of family law, including divorce, adoption and prenuptial agreements, and family estate planning, including estate planning, including wills, trusts, guardians for minor children and incapacitated adults, probate and trust administration. He also helps families plan to protect their assets and their children in the event of their death or incapacity, and to transfer their whole wealth: their financial, intellectual, and spiritual assets, to their loved ones.



Filed under Parenting, School Readiness, Welcome

8 responses to “Are You Prepared for a School-Time Emergency? {3 ways to know}

  1. I’d like to invite your Atlanta-area readers to attend one of our Protect My Kids! Planning workshops. The next one, on August 20 at 10AM, is almost full, but we have a few slots available. The next one after that, on September 17 at 10AM, is also filling fast! Sign up here:

  2. How do you make the temp legal guardian so specific as, for example, to apply only to school emergencies? What if THAT person isn’t able to make it to pick up your child either?

  3. Diane,
    Our Protect My Kids! Plans are not limited to the school emergency card situation. They include:
    1. Legal Documents to Name Short Term Guardians Who Can Be There Immediately For Your Children So They’ll Never Be Taken Into the Arms of Strangers.
    2. Letters to Your Short Term Guardians So the People You’ve Named Will Know Just What to Do If Called Upon.
    3. Instructions to Everyone Who Takes Care of Your Kids As to Exactly What To Do If You Are In An Accident … So There’s Never Any Question About Who to Call.
    4. Legal Documents to Name Long Term Guardians Who Will Raise Your Children Just As You Would So There is No Family Feuding Over Your Children.
    5. Letters to Your Long-Term Guardians Letting Them Know What to Do If Called Upon.
    6. Instructions and Guidelines for Your Long-Term Guardians On How You Want Your Kids to Be Raised…Make Sure Your Kids Are Raised With Your Values, Insights, Stories and Experience.
    7. Medical Powers of Attorney for Your Minor Children So The Next Time They Travel Without You or You Travel Without Them, You Know They’ll Get the Medical Care They Need.
    8. A Custom, Personalized I.D. Card For Your Wallet Stating That You Have Minor Children At Home and Who Should Be Contacted If You Are In An Accident.
    To learn more about our Protect My Kids! Plans, please join us for one of our next workshops. You can sign up in a variety of ways (see Or, if you’re ready to put a plan like this in place for your child or children, please call us at 770-425-6060 to schedule a Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session. These sessions have a value of $750, but to readers of The School Box newsletter, we will offer that session at no charge.
    Steve Worrall
    Worrall Law LLC
    Marietta GA 30060

  4. Susan

    What great ideas I will have to share this with other providers. Susan

  5. Jennifer Nuss

    I am not sure I would have thought about all of this. Thank you

  6. Fantastic info Steve! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Lots to think about, Steve. Thank you for writing this and I hope to be able to attend your next workshop.

  8. ecossick

    I just signed up for the next workshop!