California has a set list of rules when it comes to children working in the entertainment industry. It takes a little bit of legwork on the parents part but pretty easy to do.
The first step is to get an Entertainment Work Permit. All children ages 15 days to 18 years old will need to have a work permit before they can be employed. This can be done online, by mail, or in person.
If the child has already booked a job and needs a permit right away taking a visit to the office is definitely recommended. In my experience, the Van Nuys location has the quickest turn around on getting your child a permit (6150 Van Nuys Blvd., Room 100 Van Nuys, CA 91401). They usually give you one on the spot, given all the required documents are turned in. The good thing is that there is no fee for the permit, but it does have to be renewed every six months.
Visit the California Department of Industrial Relations page for exact details on obtaining a permit: http://www.film.ca.gov/ProductionTools_WorkPermits.htm
The second step in setting up your child to work in the entertainment industry is to set up a Coogan Account.
A Coogan Account is a blocked trust account that ensures that 15% of the minor’s gross wages go directly into the account by the employer. This account was set into law to protect child actors from their parents using all the money they have earned. I look at it as a forced savings for your child. A minor working in California must set a Coogan Account within the state. Not all banks set up these accounts or know what they are. I personally set one up for my children at Wells Fargo. If you prefer another bank just ask them if they can set one up.
Proof of a Coogan Account must be shown, along with an Entertainment Work Permit, before a child can be employed. Parents should always carry these with them to any job their child has booked. It may seem that these laws might be a bit of a hassle, but in the long run, they are there to protect our children.
Wishing a very successful and bright career for your child.