What Is A Social Host Ordinance?

Teen drinking parties are not just a nuisance, but also a threat to public safety. Recognizing this, the City Council of Garden Grove passed a 'social host ordinance' on June 25, 2013. The law prohibits adults from hosting drinking parties for minors:

"The ordinance makes it illegal for persons in control of private property to hold or allow parties on such property if they know [...] that persons under 21 years of age are consuming alcohol [...]"

- Garden Grove Municipal Code

Violators will be charged with a misdemeanor and may face a $1,000 fine.

If police are called out a second time, violators will pay an additional $1,500 fine.

Why Not Host Parties for Minors?

Some parents believe that providing alcohol for teens will keep the situation under control and teach their children to drink responsibly.

However, a recent study of over 6,000 youths found that teens who received alcohol from a parent or a friend's parent at a party (1) consumed more drinks, and (2) were twice as likely to drink regularly and binge drink. To clarify, they drank more than those who stole alcohol, bought it illegally, or got it from underage friends or other adults. (Foley, et al.)

Moreover, teens frequently have harmful experiences at parent-sanctioned drinking parties. Even when parents "take the keys," they might miss someone who ends up driving into a tree or maybe killing other teens who weren't even at the party. Parents who let kids drink while they sleep upstairs might not see a girl die of alcohol poisoning or take a fall down the stairs.

What You Can Do

If you see a loud party where persons under 21 appear to be drinking, call the police.

If you are hosting a party where alcohol is being served, monitor your alcohol and make sure no minors are drinking. Call the police if minors refuse to cooperate or the party becomes unmanageable. You will not be cited if you request police assistance before someone else files a complaint.