Adding children to the Children module

Adding new children is probably among the most basic functionality you'll use in the Children module so we've made the process easy and intuitive. As well as importing child data using the Import children option, you can add children individually, as explained in this article. We've produced a separate support article on Linking children to their parents/carers. Outside the scope of this article, but covered in the related articles, ChurchSuite includes a customisable newcomer connect form that can be used to collect details and areas of interest for new families - there are two versions of the form - one that can be embedded in your website and the other designed to be accessible through a device running at your Information Point using ChurchSuite Connect.

In this article

Introduction to the Children module
How to add a new child
Standard, optional and custom fields
Adding new children through My ChurchSuite
Accounting for school-year offsets

Introduction to the Children module

The Children section of the Children module is the core repository for children and young people. Here, you can switch between viewing Active, Archived and Pending status children.


The Children module may well contain different types of children, not just those who are attending, serving or participating. The Active section is all those whom your church or organisation is 'touching and tracking', from the crowd to the core at all levels of engagement or commitment, and whom you consider to be actively part of your ministry and mission. They're all the people you might communicate with or wish to maintain historical or statistical data for. You can use Tags to distinguish the different levels of engagement of Active children and young people.

When people move on from your church or organisation, you may decide to delete them from the module. This would certainly be the best data protection practice if you no longer have a lawful basis for continuing to process personal information. However, subject to your data protection policy, you may prefer to archive children for a season, giving you the option to reinstate them again in the future or to delete them after a further period of inactivity. The archived section is helpful if you are required to maintain certain details about former members where you have a lawful basis. See the related support articles for further information on What happens when you archive or delete people.

When families submit their details through one of ChurchSuite's web-embedded features, new children are first added to the Pending section of the module. In this context, pending doesn't refer to a child's level of engagement. New people submitting their details through a ChurchSuite form on your website are subject to review, and if a legitimate submission, they can be set as Active, or they can be deleted. Once set active, children cannot be set as pending again. Until set active, pending status children are unable to participate in any wider ChurchSuite functionality. For example, only Active children can be processed through Flows, be assigned to Tags, be included in communications or show in most report results. The Pending section is therefore not the place for non-members! Those who you consider non-members should be tagged accordingly in the Active section of the Children module.

How to add a new child

Working in the Children section of the module, click Add child.

On the Add child pop-up, complete the various fields of child information. A child's first name is typically their known-as name. Optional Middle Name and Formal Name fields can be enabled in the module settings - see later in this article. Click Save when you have finished entering all the child's information.

The newly-added child profile is displayed, showing all the Details just added, including any parent/carer specified when adding the child. You can return to a child's profile at any time in the future to Edit and make further changes. You can add other parents/carers - click Add parent/carer - see the related support article How to link a child to their parent/carer.

Returning to the Children section, from here you can add or import further children or search for children - selecting advanced search surfaces additional fields that can be searched. 

Also, using the Action menu, you can view, edit, archive or delete existing children.

Standard, optional and custom fields

In addition to the standard fields for children, there are several optional child fields that can be enabled in the module settings, accessed via the cogwheel icon in the top-right corner of the module.

Click Edit and select the optional Fields you wish to surface on each child's profile page. An optional field that is not selected will be hidden from the module - it will not be possible to generate reports for that field or include that field as a Smart Tag condition. Existing field data for children persists but is hidden from view/use.

For any child information that doesn't sit with the module's standard or optional fields, you can add your own custom fields. There's a choice of field types to best suit the information collected in the field. We've produced a separate support article for further information on Adding custom fields for people.

Adding new children through My ChurchSuite

One of the features of the member-facing My ChurchSuite is enabling primary parents/carers to keep their children's details up to date, including adding new children. Before parents/carers can add details of a new child, you must first choose who can add new children. Head into the Children module settings via the cogwheels icon in the top right-hand corner of the module. On the My ChurchSuite Options tab, locate the Settings section and click Edit.

On the Settings pop-up, ensure My ChurchSuite access is enabled - the My Children section is not shown for anyone if disabled. Next, choose your preferred setting for Adding Children:

There are three Adding Children options controlling who can add new children: -

  • Allow any contact with My ChurchSuite access to add their children (the default) - the My Children section is visible to all contacts with My ChurchSuite access, and the Add child button is visible
  • Allow only existing parents/carers to add additional children - the My Children section is only visible to parents/carers with an existing linked child, and the Add child button is visible
  • No one can add new children - the My Children section is only visible to existing parents/carers with an existing linked child, and the Add child button is hidden

The parent/carer Add child user experience opens a pop-up form through which they can enter all of the relevant details for the new child - contact details, relationship to the child, medical and additional needs information, communication options, and photo/video consent. Clicking Save adds the new child profile to the Children module linked to their Address Book primary parents/carers. The new child is not auto-added to any groups.

Top tip! Pastoral sensitivity

Seeing a My Children menu option each time they access My ChurchSuite may be a pastorally painful experience for those that don't yet have children or who may be unable to have children. You may therefore prefer to only Allow existing parents/carers to add additional children, meaning those with no linked children will not see the My Children menu option. However, this would mean that first-time parents/carers will need to contact the church office to have their first child's details added. Once added, the My Children section will then be available to them as an existing parent/carer and they will be able to add further children in the future.

Accounting for school-year offsets

The Children module uses a child's date of birth to determine their school year using the class/grade applicable to your account region/country. However, there are times when it's helpful to override a child's default school year - perhaps when a child has graduated into the next school year early or stays back a year due to additional needs. The Children module includes a helpful School Year Offset option that enables you to artificially increase or decrease a child's school year.

Here's how it works: Navigate to a child's profile page and click Edit. In this example, notice that the child is in school Year 10 based on their date of birth and actual age.

On the Edit child pop-up, scroll down to the School Year Offset - the default is --No offset--.

Selecting an offset of +1 has the effect of increasing the child's school year from Year 10 to Year 11:

Selecting an offset of -1 has the effect of reducing the child's school year from Year 10 to Year 9:

School year offsets have the effect of making the child seem older (+1/+2 years) or younger (-1/-2 years). However, adding a school year offset has no effect on the child's actual age - for example, the Birthdays report will always show the child's correct birthday age based on their actual date of birth. Similarly, adding a school year offset has no effect on the child's eligibility for your children or youth groups, which continue to be based on the child's actual date of birth and age, not the school year they are in. However, a school year offset is taken into account when viewing Children module reports that include the school year in the results or report filtering options, and when used in smart tag conditions.

Regional support for school year structure

We currently support school years in the local format (school year naming convention and school year start date) for the following locations:

  • United Kingdom (with specific support for England/Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland separately)
  • Australia (all regions)
  • Canada (with specific support for BC and QC)
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany (Regions: Bayern, Berlin, Brandenburg, Niedersachsen and Nordrhein-Westfalen)
  • Hong Kong
  • Republic of Ireland
  • The Republic of Korea
  • Netherlands
  • Singapore
  • USA
  • Zimbabwe

We can add school-year support for other countries on request - email All other countries will default to the UK (England/Wales) school year settings.

You can change the School Year Structure for your ChurchSuite account in the Children module settings, accessed via the cogwheels icon in the top right corner of the module. On the Module Options tab, scroll down to the School Year Structure settings and Edit as appropriate.

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