Since the fall is coming up and many of a youth ministry is going to be starting that new academic year of ministry you might be in need for updating your youth ministry medical release & permission forms.
I did one of my top-secret search engine tricks and found a plethora of youth ministry release forms for you to check and and pull from in designing your own release forms.
Before that, some thoughts on crafting these pseudo official forms:
- Many times these will not protect you from a lawsuit if something goes horribly wrong. Even if you have a covenant of conduct type list that is signed off on the youth ministry could still be charged with some lawsuit. It is a good defense piece, but it doesn’t stop someone from seeking some legal system consequences. You will see some, ‘release from liability’ on some of the forms posted here. That is just wording, especially since injury many times happens during negligence, not all, but in many cases & then liability can be brought up again.
- Since they are not some official legal documentation, what are they? Many times they stand as a written document that reflects a single decision. If a youth needs to go to the hospital the hospitals will take you as a guardian and let you sign for stuff, but any real decisions are not considered covered under that one decision on paper. So you will need to be in constant communications with actual parents in those scenarios.
- This is your best avenue for getting contact information. Since this in many ways is an official document (though as mentioned, not legally binding) your parents will give it greater attention to filling out and turning. So put in there all the contact information you think you will need.
- Have photo releases if you plan on taking pictures of your youth community. If you are taking photos and using them for Facebook, website, newsletter etc. then it is best to have a photo release portion of your form. You can do it where people initial they are okay or have an opt out statement (we are going to use youth photos for X, Y, Z. If you do not want your child reflected in this sign below…).
- Designate for a specific time period. I used mine for a full year & would put in that this covered week to week and special church specific youth retreats. I would put them all into a folder and take that where ever we went. This didn’t keep me from needing to get releases for some of the ministry companies (short term missions camps, concert retreats, etc.) but it does help stand in for those in between times when you go off campus or just as a church group.
- Get a photo copy of the child’s insurance cards. You can put the insurance numbers on your release forms for people to fill out, but hospitals want to see that insurance card. It helps to as those group id, policy number, prescription code, can get mixed up really easily.
- Notarize: If you want to bring a little more legitimacy to your release form you can get them notarized. If one of the parents in a notary then they can come to the meeting prepared to stamp various documents. I wasn’t always sure of the value of the notary versus waiting on people to get me the information. So I often opted out of the notary portion to make sure I had the information in hand as soon as possible. Usually for the big trips they had their own papers which required notaries, so we were covered there.
Release Form Flea Market: Now, I really didn’t pull some top-secret thing to get these. Found these with google search as people had posted on the net and some folks gave me a few. Pull from these forms whatever you like. Best thing to do is not just do a cut and paste job or a ‘save as’ without going through the document. It still needs some legitimacy and having the wrong date or church name is a big Ooops! We put all these into a zip file for easiest use.