Protecting children is a critical responsibility for any ministry organization. In some cases, though, ministries may not be equipped to safely care for children with severe medical needs. Childcare policies and procedures, including a plan for how the ministry will deal with children who use personal medical devices, can help workers and volunteers handle health concerns consistently and respectfully.
One step in creating a policy is to learn about the laws that apply to the situation. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a key federal law that outlines the accommodations that must be made for people with disabilities. While most religious organizations are exempt from complying with the ADA, they may be required to follow similar state or local laws.
In some states, ministry schools or childcare facilities may be required to accept all children, regardless of the accommodations that must be made to handle any medical conditions. In other states, ministries may not be required to accept children with extraordinary special medical needs. Consult with a locally licensed attorney to find out the ministry’s legal requirements.
If the decision of accommodating children with chronic and severe medical conditions is left to the ministry’s discretion, consider the following in drafting your policy:
One way to limit the ministry’s liability is to require a waiver of liability, signed by parents and legal guardians, stating that they accept full responsibility for their children’s health. See Brotherhood Mutual’s sample Special Medical Needs Agreement as an example. Be sure to ask an attorney to review the ministry’s childcare policies, procedures, and forms on a regular basis to adjust to any law changes.
One way to limit the ministry’s liability is to require a waiver of liability, signed by parents and legal guardians, stating that they accept full responsibility for their children’s health.
It’s best to review insurance policies and correct any coverage gaps that may exist in relation to the ministry’s childcare operations. Ask your insurance agent to audit your policy to help ensure you have the necessary coverage to protect the ministry and its children.
*Important information: Brotherhood Mutual is pleased to provide Legal Assist as a complimentary resource. The services we offer through Legal Assist are intended to provide general legal information to our current and prospective policyholders.
The information we provide is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Accordingly, no attorney/client relationship is created through this process, and no legal advice will be provided. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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