How to link a child to their parent

ChurchSuite makes it easy to link parents and children to one another other across the Address Book and Children modules. For parents that are not in the Address Book, you can still maintain parent contact details against the child's profile. In this support article, we'll explore both scenarios - let's begin with how to link a child to their parents in the Address Book...

Link the child to a parent in the Address Book

To link a child with a parent in the Address Book you first need to ensure the parent is in the Address Book module. Next, working within the Children section of the Children module, locate the child and open their profile to view. Select Edit.

On the Edit child pop-up locate the Parent/Guardian Details section. Select between Not in the Address Book - in which case you can manually enter all the child's parent/guardian contact details in the fields provided, including specifying the Relationship (see next section in this article for further details), or... In the Address Book and use the Contact search to locate the child's linked parent/guardian - the list of matching results will auto-suggest as you type in the search. It's only necessary to select and link to one Address Book parent - the child will be auto-linked to their other Address Book parent by the spouse/partner relationship status of the primary linked parent in the Address Book. The linked parent address and contact details are automatically populated against the child - the fields are greyed out and not editable here, but can be later updated by editing the linked contact's profile in the Address Book if necessary. Note the option to select a different adult-child Relationship.

Save the child's profile changes. The parent/guardian details are shown on the right-hand side of the Details tab on the child's profile, alongside all other linked family members, which may include their other parent and siblings, if they are also linked.

Note that some relationships will display differently if the linked family member's sex is not specifically set to male or female. For example, the following child's parent has their sex set to 'unknown' so ChurchSuite can't determine that Nathaniel is the child's 'father' or 'mother' and lists them instead as their 'parent'. Whereas Tabitha is married to Nathaniel and has her sex set as 'female', so Tabitha is shown as the child's 'mother'. This also applies to other relationships that may be specified when linking children to people in the Address Book.

Does it matter which Address Book parent you link the child to?

For instance, you may find yourself linking one child to their mother and another child in the same family to the father. Not to worry - ChurchSuite puts all the pieces together - as long as "Mother" and "Father" are linked in the Address Book by marital status of married, separated or cohabiting. If possible, be sure to specify the sex of the Address Book parents as 'male' or 'female', which will ensure the system correctly denotes the relationships as 'father' or 'mother'.

Why can I only link a child to one parent?

This is just a matter of keeping things simple. In the majority of situations you only need to link a child to one parent because as long as both parents are linked in the Address Book, the system will automatically link the child to the other parent too.

However, if the child's biological parents are not linked by marital status - perhaps if they are divorced - and if both parents are with your organisation and therefore in your Address Book, you will need to amicably agree with them pastorally which parent is to be used for the linking. Typically this would be the parent with whom the child normally resides - since the child inherits the address and contact details of the linked parent contact. However, in this scenario, note that there are optional fields (enabled in the Children module's settings) for adding Additional [parent] mobile and Additional [parent] email addresses. This information will ensure that the other parent can still be included in your primary/linked parent communications. In the example below, Jenna is linked to her biological mother Gemma. Gemma is linked to Peter by marital status and is therefore deemed to be the other linked parent/guardian. However, David has been added as an additional contact - perhaps Jenna's biological father.

The Additional Email and Additional Mobile fields carry the same communications priority as the linked parent, so any communication sent as Send to Parent will go to the linked/unliked parent and also to the additional parent contact, ensuring divorced parents are both kept informed. The Send to all Parents option will send in the same way, but will also include the linked partner/spouse of the linked parent.

Additional Parent contact fields

The Additional Email(s) field and Additional Mobile(s) fields are optional fields that must first be enabled in the Children module's settings before they can be used. Click on the 'cogwheels' Settings icon and locate the [Child] Fields settings on the Module Options tab - click Edit to make changes.

What if the child's parents are not in the Address Book?

There are many times when a child or young person is part of your Children module but the parents are not associated with the organisation and therefore do not exist in your Address Book. In this scenario, on the Add/Edit child pop up select Not in the Address Book and complete all the parent contact details - relationship, name, email, mobile, telephone, address and communication opt-ins. If necessary, use the Additional Email and Additional Mobile fields for the child's second parent contact details as described above.

Note, as shown in the example below, as you type into the unlinked parent/guardian Name field, ChurchSuite will auto-suggest matching parent names from your existing unlinked children, along with the unlinked child's name in brackets. This is helpful when you have multiple unlinked children in the same family. Selecting a suggestion from the list will auto-populate the parent/guardian details into the pop-up, saving you typing the same details for each child in the same family. Or you can disregard the suggestions and enter the name and contact details for a new unlinked parent/guardian.

Subject to your consent processes, you can easily add a Not in the Address Book parent to the Address Book using the Add Parent as a Contact option, located under the More button as highlighted below. Adding the parent to the Address Book in this way will automatically create the parent-child links.

What happens if you delete a linked parent from the Address Book?

When you delete an Address Book contact who is a linked parent of one or more children, ChurchSuite will unlink the parent from each child and retain the parent's contact details (name, address, email, mobile, telephone) against each unlinked child's profile. Importantly you won't lose any of that all-important parent contact information on your children's records, even if the parents are deleted from your Address Book.

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