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Q&A: Does a Child with ADHD Impose a Higher Duty of Care Upon Leaders?

Churches may need to increase supervision.

Some of the news accounts of the 12-year-old Boy Scout who was lost for four days in the mountains of North Carolina indicated that he had Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Does such a condition impose a higher duty of care upon scout leaders? What about church leaders who know of children in the church who have this condition?

ADHD has several symptoms, including inattention and impulsive behavior. Clearly, a child with such a condition is more prone to wander away from a group and so a higher degree of supervision is warranted. There is little doubt that a church will be held to a higher duty of care in the supervision of a child with ADHD, whether on church premises or during any off-site activity. This is not to say that a church will be legally responsible for any injury that may occur to such a child. To the contrary, a church will be responsible only if its conduct in ...

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  • May 1, 2007