Global Village minor policy

The following criteria apply to volunteers younger than 18.

These minor policies are taken from the Global Village team leader manual. Please review the manual for other important policy information, trip-planning instructions and tools to help ensure a safe, meaningful trip.

Habitat for Humanity International minor policy regarding short-term missions

These guidelines apply internationally and domestically, unless otherwise specified.

  • The minimum age for participation on an international or domestic work team build site is 16 years, or older if required by the hosting program or child labor laws.
  • The minimum age for participation on a short-term disaster response trip is 18 years.
  • Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or travel as part of a team from an organization that has signed a memorandum of understanding with Habitat for Humanity.
  • Local laws may require the minimum to be raised.
  • Hosting and sending programs may raise the minimum age.
  • All work on site will be done in accordance with the Habitat for Humanity International child labor policy (see below).
  • 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 a parent or legal guardian, with the team during travel and on file with the sending program.

Global Village team leader considerations

When considering inviting minors to the team, please keep in mind and communicate to minors and parents that:

  • U.S. child labor laws prohibit minors under 16 from participating on an active construction site.
  • Volunteers younger than 18 will be restricted to age-appropriate activities (see Appendices, “Minors and age-appropriate work”).
  • 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.
  • Minors must be supervised by the named individual(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.

The team leader, in consultation with the host program and volunteer engagement specialist, can answer questions regarding participation in a specific trip. Even in circumstances where all of the above requirements are met, the team leader will make the final decision regarding whether or not to invite a minor to join the team.

Age-appropriate work for minors

The following pertains to all short-term mission 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.
  • Ratio must be no more than five minors to one adult.

They may work on active construction sites but cannot:

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

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