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. In other words, you cannot refuse to provide child care because the family is Muslim, Jewish or Catholic, etc.
But, can you conduct religious activities with the children in your program?
Let’s say 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 only 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.