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Is Parental Consent Needed for Children on Church Videos?

Seven things church leaders should note on this evolving area of law.

Is Parental Consent Needed for Children on Church Videos?

We plan to do a neighborhood outreach event in neighborhoods near the church. We will do puppet shows, face painting, and general ministry in the community. We are putting together a DVD highlighting this ministry. The DVD will include images and video of children filmed on the day of the event to send home with them for viewing. Can we put these images and video of the children on the DVD without a signed permission from the parents? We don't think parents will be at the event to sign.

Let me make the following observations in response to your question:

  1. Unfortunately, this is an evolving area of the law and so there is no definitive answer to your question.
  2. Ultimately, it is a matter of how risk averse your church is. If your church wants to be absolutely certain that there will be no legal consequences, then it will need to obtain the signed consent of the parents of every child who appears on the DVD. Anything less than this will result in some risk.

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • December 17, 2013

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