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Legal Age Requirement for Children's Workers

Is there a minimum age for child care workers at church?

We have a child protection policy in place but I am running into a major problem with the fact that we have stated an age for our workers as 18 years. I am having a very difficult time filling all the areas needed with this age requirement. We are looking at rewording our policy to fit the needs of the church. My question is what is the legal age, or is there one, for child care workers?

Using children's workers who are under 18 years of age is a common church practice. However, consider the following points:

  1. The younger the worker's age, the greater the risk to the church. A church must exercise reasonable care—some courts have said a "high" degree of care—in the selection and supervision of children's workers. Obviously, using workers who are 10 years of age in a church nursery will expose the church to greater risk than using someone who is 17.

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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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  • September 9, 2009