Are young children permitted in the Sea Organization?
Men and women in the Sea Organization (Sea Org) are permitted to marry, but if they wish to have children, they do so outside the Sea Organization.
The Sea Organization is a relatively new religious order, founded in 1967, and until 1976 it was based on seagoing vessels with no small children on board. When the Sea Organization moved to land in 1976, it had had no experience with children, but as members bore children, the Order provided facilities to accommodate them. After ten years of experience with children, by 1986 it had become apparent that the duties of a member of the Sea Organization were not compatible with raising children. For example, a Sea Organization member must be free to travel on short notice and sometimes for extended periods, which is not easily balanced with parenting young children.
Hence, in 1986 the policy was established that Sea Organization couples desiring to have children would do so outside the Sea Organization. The current practice is that couples leave the Order until their children reach majority.
This does not mean that the individual is in any way no longer a member of the Church. The person would simply carry on as a Scientologist outside of a staff position as a Sea Org member with whatever their chosen career may be. Once their children are grown or of age to choose to join the Sea Org themselves, the parents are welcome to return to the Sea Org.
For Sea Organization members who had children before the policy of the religious order changed in 1986, school facilities were built to properly educate and provide for the children. By way of example, for several years the Church of Scientology International operated private boarding schools for the children of Sea Organization members in Riverside and Los Angeles counties. The Sea Organization similarly provided schooling for the children of Sea Organization members in Florida and New York, as well as at Sea Organization facilities outside the United States. Each child who attended these schools was sent there at the specific request of his or her parents.
Today, if an individual with minor-age children wishes to join the Sea Organization, the children must qualify for the Sea Organization and wish to join on their own determinism. The minimum age of Sea Organization members is generally the minimum age in any state or country that a person is legally permitted to work. The Church of Scientology adheres to all child labor laws and no underage Sea Organization members are permitted to perform tasks or to work hours longer than permitted by law.
Minors are permitted to voluntarily join the Sea Organization, with the consent of a parent or a guardian approved by the parents. Once in the Sea Organization, if the minor’s parents are not also members of the Sea Org, the minor must then also have an assigned guardian approved by their parents.
Schooling is provided at Sea Organization installations for minor Sea Organization members who still need to complete education requirements. These are minor Sea Organization members who are otherwise of an age whereby they are permitted to work, generally from 16 to 18 years of age. Where local laws regulate the number of hours a minor may work, their schedules are adjusted accordingly. Each jurisdiction is different. Schooling is provided for the legally required number of hours.