Registering Qualified Members Beyond Age of Eligibility
Youth and adults who are developmentally disabled, or youth with severe physical challenges, may be considered for registration beyond the age of eligibility for their program: over age 11 for a Cub Scout, 18 as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout, or 21 as a Venturer or Sea Scout (see Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, article XI, section 3, clause 20, reproduced in the appendix, 18.104.22.168). A developmentally disabled adult of any age, for example, may be considered for youth membership and join Scouting if a qualified medical professional is able to correlate cognitive abilities to less than the upper limit of an eligibility age. Members approved to be so registered are indicated in the system with a disability code.
A disability, to qualify an individual for registration beyond the age of eligibility, must be permanent and so severe that it precludes advancement even at a rate significantly slower than considered normal. If ranks can be achieved under accommodations already provided in official literature, or with modifications as outlined below, then the disability probably does not rise to the level required. This is often the case in considering advancement potential for youth with moderate learning disabilities and such disorders as ADD/ADHD. If ranks can be earned, but it just takes some what longer, the option is not warranted.
10.1.0.1 Possible Criteria for Registering Beyond Age of Eligibility
In considering registration beyond the age of eligibility, members with conditions such as those listed below may meet the severity requirement, but every case must be considered individually. If members are able to take advantage of the flexibility already built into Scouting advancement, and participate in essentially the same way as typical youth, then they may not be registered beyond the age of eligibility.
Examples of conditions that, if severe, may be criteria for registration beyond the age of eligibility include these:
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Blind or sight-impaired
- Deaf or hard of hearing
- Developmental cognitive disability
- Developmental delay
- Down syndrome
- Emotional or behavioral disorder
- Physically impaired
- Severely multiple impaired
- Traumatic brain injury
10.1.0.2 How to Register a Member Beyond Age of Eligibility
To register a person who will remain as a youth member beyond the age of eligibility, the following documents must be assembled and submitted to the local council.
- A letter from a parent or guardian describing the disability and its severity and permanence, and petitioning the council for approval of registration beyond the age of eligibility
- A completed youth membership application or proof of current membership
- A completed Annual BSA Health and Medical Record form, online at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/ahmr.aspx, signed by a licensed physician
- A signed statement from a qualified health professional attesting to the nature of the disability, its severity, and permanent limitations connected with it. For physical disabilities, this must be a licensed physician; for developmental or cognitive issues, a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, or as appropriate, a neurologist or other medical professional in a specialty related to the disability.
- A letter from the unit leader advocating and supporting the registration
- Other supporting documentation, such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), treatment summaries, etc., which are optional, but can make a difference in the decision
If well done, and available from the parents, an Individualized Education Plan can give valuable information on how to work with an individual Scout and help him achieve at the best of his abilities.
The council executive board must approve petitions directly, or delegate action to a council operating committee or other group of responsible volunteers at the council level. This may or may not be the advancement committee. Individual cases must be deliberated upon. Consideration of registration beyond the age of eligibility shall not be delegated to any district or to any single individual, either professional or volunteer. If granted, the Scout executive prepares an approval letter and sends it to the Scout's parent or guardian and unit leader or committee chair. A copy is retained in the unit's registration file for as long as the member remains registered. Upon entering the member, the council registrar selects the appropriate code based on the nature of the disability, and follows any other procedures as outlined in the most current edition of the Registrar Procedures Manual, No. 524-901. The national Membership Resources Team is available to assist as needed.
Young people approved for registration beyond the age of eligibility may continue working on advancement, including the Eagle Scout rank and Eagle Palms, for as long as they continue to be so registered. The local council or the National Council, upon uncovering evidence that a youth was improperly registered with a disability code, or for whatever reason no longer meets the required level of severity, may make the decision to expire the registration. Registration of an adult as a youth member with a disability code may also be expired if it is determined the registrant has progressed sufficiently to be registered as an adult.