The policy should comply with all applicable medical, education, and privacy laws. It should also balance the needs of a non-immunized child with those of other children and ministry workers.
Protecting children is one of the most important responsibilities any church can undertake. Childcare policies and procedures, including an infectious diseases policy, can help workers and volunteers handle health concerns consistently and respectfully.
One step in creating a policy is to learn about state child vaccination laws. In most states, children are required to be immunized unless parents or guardians receive an exemption. Generally, exemptions are granted for three reasons:
State laws vary widely with respect to unvaccinated children. In some states, ministry schools or childcare facilities may be required to accept any unvaccinated children that have a state-recognized exemption. In other states, ministries may not be required to accept an unvaccinated child, even if he or she has an exemption. Consult with a locally licensed attorney to find out the ministry’s legal requirements.
Be sure to ask an attorney to review the ministry’s childcare policies and procedures on a regular basis to adjust to any changes in state laws.
If the decision of accommodating unvaccinated children is left to the ministry’s discretion, consider the following in drafting your policy:
One way to limit the ministry’s liability is to have the parents and legal guardians of unvaccinated children sign a waiver of liability stating that they accept full responsibility for their children’s health. Consider using one or more of the following sample forms to develop the necessary documentation for your ministry.
Be sure to ask an attorney to review the ministry’s childcare policies and procedures on a regular basis to adjust to any changes in state laws. By creating a childcare policy and following appropriate procedures, ministry leaders can better protect all children in their care.
Appeared in Brotherhood Mutual’s Safety News, April 24, 2019
Last updated on April 24, 2019
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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.
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