Can You Include Religious Activities in Your Program?


It is against the law for a family child care provider to discriminate against a parent because of the parent’s religious beliefs. (It’s a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.)

In other words, you cannot refuse to provide child care because the family is Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, etc.

But, you can provide whatever religious activities you want for your program.

A parent who is a Jehovah’s Witness asks you to not celebrate birthdays or any religious holidays. She explains that it’s because of her religious beliefs. How do you respond?

You are not violating the law if you choose to conduct religious activities as part of your program for children. This might include praying with children, saying a blessing before eating, conducting daily devotionals, or reading Bible stories.

If you celebrate birthdays and religious holidays, you could suggest that you will notify the parent when this will occur so the parent can remove her child from your program on those days.

If you regularly conduct religious activities as part of your program, you cannot refuse to provide care for this family. Instead, you should explain clearly what religious activities you do conduct and let the parent make the decision about whether or not to enroll her child in your program.

Some child care providers write a “statement of faith” in their policies that explains what religious activities they offer. This will clarify to parents what they can expect.

Tom Copeland –

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Legal & Insurance For more information, see my book Family Child Care Legal and Insurance Guide.

Categories: Legal, Legal & Insurance

3 replies

  1. Tom,
    I understand we, as family home providers, can share religious activities of our choice. What if a parent wants you to do activities from their religion, which is different from your own. Can we refuse on the grounds we don’t believe the same way? What if they offer to come in the home and do these activities?
    Thank you Tom for sharing your knowledge and wisdom.

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