Policy on Activities Involving Minors

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I.  Purpose:

Southern Illinois University, as a part of its public engagement mission, has many activities that include minors. The protection and safety of minors in these activities is a high priority of the University and of the organization administering these activities.  The University is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable environment for minors when they are using campus facilities or interacting with campus departments and staff.  This comprehensive policy is set forth to provide that all reasonable steps are taken so that activities involving minors are carried out in accordance with all applicable laws, policies, and regulations.

II. Definitions:

  1. Minor:  A child or minor for the purposes of these provisions shall be any person under the age of eighteen (18).  This definition may not capture certain circumstances in which minors are present on campus, and further consideration will be given as to whether they fall within the scope of the policy.
  2. Activities:  The term “activities” includes ongoing or planned events that are designed to include minors such as camps, lessons, workshops, clubs, teams, projects, practices, tours, or open-houses.
  3. Child Abuse and Neglect:  Child Abuse and/or Neglect is the maltreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian, foster parent, relative caregiver, paramour, any individual residing in the same home, any person responsible for the child’s welfare at the time of the alleged abuse, or any person who came to know the child through an official capacity or position of trust.  Child abuse can be physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or neglect.

    Physical abuse occurs when a parent or a person responsible for the child’s welfare inflicts, caused to be inflicted, or allowed to be inflicted a physical injury; created a substantial risk of physical injury; commits an act of torture; inflicts excessive corporal punishment; allows the use of alcohol and/or drugs.

    Sexual abuse occurs when a parent responsible for the child’s welfare commits or allows to be committed any of the following:  transmission of a sexual disease; sexual penetration; sexual molestation; sexual exploitation and/or places a minor at risk of sexual harm.  (Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act)

    Neglect occurs when a parent or a person responsible for the child deprives or fails to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or needed medical care.
  4. The term “activities” does not include:  Commercial performances or events open to the general public that are not targeted toward children (such as University athletic competitions, plays, concerts), regularly scheduled classes, or activities designed primarily for enrolled students who are age 17 and above.
  5. University Facilities:  Facilities or property owned or controlled by the University.
  6. These definitions do not include the placement of enrolled students receiving academic credit and/or clinical or student teaching requirements, with external entities.  Rather, when schools and/or departments place students at external entities for such purposes, students must be informed of their obligation to comply with the external entity’s own policies and procedures, including those regarding background checks and working with minors.

III.  General Terms and Conditions:

  1. The following provision applies to all faculty, staff, students, and volunteers:
    1. Notification:  Illinois State Law
      www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=097-0711 requires any personnel of institutions of higher education and recreational or athletic facilities who has reason to believe that a minor is a victim of child abuse or neglect has an affirmative duty to make a report to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)[1-800-25-ABUSE].  Failure to report may result in criminal charges.  If the minor is in immediate danger or injured, 9-1-1 shall be called immediately.
    2. In addition to notifying DCFS, the University requires that faculty, staff, students, and volunteers report any suspected abuse of minors to the Southern Illinois University Department of Public Safety [618-453-3771].
    3. Southern Illinois University and the Director of Public Safety have the obligation to report any suspected abuse to DCFS and any mandated reportable associated crime(s) as a part of the compliance with the Clery Act. 
  2. The following provisions apply to all activities and programs serving minors.  Programs currently underway shall comply with these provisions within three months of issuance of this policy.  Failure to do so may result in cancellation of the activity.
    1. Activity Information:  Units sponsoring activities that include minors and University facilities that are used by activities including minors must maintain an up-to-date list of activities.  Such list should include each program’s dates, times, locations, attendance (age range and number of participants), an activity contact so that in the event of an emergency, consideration may be given to the presence of minors, and the appropriate course of action to address their health and safety.  At least fourteen days prior to the start of an activity, the responsible University unit must also submit (original) this information to the Director of Public Safety by completing the Activity with Minors Event Form, and sending a copy to the University official responsible for compliance with the Policy as identified in Section 5.
    2.  Activity Logistics:  Activities that include or serve minors shall have in place, enforce, and make available policies that address the following areas, if they are applicable to the activity.  These policies must be kept on file by the respective department.
      1. Transportation:  Including the transportation of minors at the beginning and end of the activity, to and from the activity, and within the program, whether by parents, guardians, staff, or others.  University activities must comply with University policies regarding drivers and vehicles.
      2. Procedures in the event of an emergency, including but not limited to weather, large scale disaster, and first aid.
      3. Appropriate levels of access to and supervision of minors.  Proper ratio of supervisors per group size of minors.
      4. Appropriate physical contact and communication by personnel with minors based on the age of the minors and the nature of the activities.
      5. Statement to participants about avenues for reporting issues.
      6. Appropriate forms including permission forms, medical contact information, and liability waivers. Forms should be safeguarded and readily available.
  3. Activities including overnight stays by minors shall have the following additional policies:
    1. Identification to be worn by staff members and participants, if appropriate.
    2. Curfews
    3. A Code of Conduct for participants.
    4. Contractual agreements concerning personnel, facilities, or housing related to activities including minors must include compliance with this policy as a term of the contract.  When appropriate, such contracts shall also include an indemnification provision in which Southern Illinois University is held harmless for the acts or omissions of other activity participants or third party employees or agents.
    5. The Department Head or supervisor who oversees the unit hosting or sponsoring the activity with minors is responsible for ensuring that the activities are in compliance with this policy.
  4. Background Checks:
    1. Units sponsoring or hosting activities with minors must take all reasonable steps so that all faculty, staff, students, volunteers, or other personnel who will work with minors have been subject to a check of the Illinois sex offender registry prior to the date of the activity.  The Illinois Sex Offender Registry is available at www.isp.state.il.us/sor.  A record of the sex offender registry check must be maintained by the sponsoring University unit.
    2. If an individual appears on the Illinois sex offender registry, the Unit shall contact the Department of Public Safety to confirm the results. A unit will not allow the participation in an activity by faculty, staff, student, volunteer, or other personnel whose sex offender registry check includes a record of sexually based offenses or crimes against minors
    3. The University official responsible for compliance with the Policy as identified in Section 5, in consultation with the Director of Public Safety, may approve an exception to these requirements if the Unit has adopted appropriate measures and safeguards. This process may only be used for one-time events or events that are not operated or sponsored by the University. The Unit shall maintain records of such approvals and the measures and safeguards used.
  5. The Provost, Vice Chancellor, or Athletic Director responsible for the Unit sponsoring or operating the activity shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with this Policy. . A copy of all forms required by this Policy shall be submitted to the Provost, Vice Chancellor, or Athletic Director.