In loco parentis is a latin phrase which means “in the place of a parent.” In the law, in loco parentis is a legal status which must be established in order to seek custody rights for a child to whom you are not biologically related. If you have developed a deep and caring relationship with a child, such that you have effectively taken on the role of a parent, you may be able to obtain legal rights relating to the child without formally adopting him/her.