Global Village minor policy

The following information is important for volunteers under the age of 18.

Habitat for Humanity International policy regarding minors on short-term trips

These guidelines apply internationally and domestically, unless otherwise specified.

  • The minimum age for participation on a Global Village trip is 16 years, but may be older if required by the hosting programs or local child labor laws.
  • Minors must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or responsible adult over 24 years old. 
  • Work will be modified for minors in accordance with the Habitat for Humanity International child labor policy detailed below. Minors will only be allowed on the trip if the host program has identified, in advance, age-appropriate work for the minor volunteers.
  • The work team chaperone ratio is at least one adult to every five minors, or more as required by the hosting program.
  • Every minor must have a waiver of liability for minors [PDF], signed by their parents or legal guardians, notarized and emailed to the team leader. If traveling without a parent or legal guardian, an authorization for minor to travel without a parent or legal guardian must also be signed and submitted.
  • Minors cannot participate in short-term disaster response trips.

Leading a team of minors

If you are leading a team of minors, please consider:

  • Volunteers younger than 18 will be restricted to age-appropriate activities.
  • Host programs may not be able to guarantee age-appropriate work will be available because of local laws, construction schedules, local program guidelines or capacity. The Global Village office will let you know if a location cannot accommodate minor volunteers.
  • Minors must be supervised by the team leader(s) at all times. Minors not allowed on the active construction site must still be supervised at their alternative location.
  • Trip costs are the same for minors, regardless of the availability of age-appropriate work.
  • A youth-to-adult ratio of no greater than 5-to-1 must be met.

Age-appropriate work for minors

The following pertains to all short-term volunteer programs where teams, families and individuals are performing work at Habitat host programs.

Minors under the age of 16 are not able to travel on Global Village trips.

Minors aged 16 and 17 may participate in Global Village trips under the following conditions:

  • Must be accompanied by a parent or under care of an institution such as a Habitat affiliate, school or university.
  • Ratio must be no more than five minors to one adult.
  • The host site has identified age appropriate activities for the minor volunteers. See restrictions below.

Minors may work on active construction sites but cannot:

  • Work on the roof.
  • Operate power tools.
  • Participate in blitz builds.
  • Work above six feet.
  • Be a part of demolition, excavation or disaster response work.
  • Do heavy lifting.

Affiliates or host programs in any country must be equipped, trained and willing to handle children under 18 in order to host. In addition, a memorandum of understanding with the partner organization and a minor release with waiver and authority to treat must be signed by both parents.

Have any questions about minors joining Global Village teams? Email us at gv@habitat.org or give us a call at 1-800-HABITAT.