This policy provides direction for conducting activities with youth and establishes the university’s Youth Protection Framework, which sets forth minimum requirements that include: registering activities for the purpose of university-wide tracking; screening and training of personnel; behavioral standards and expectations; emergency preparedness; and reporting incidents as mandated by federal law, state law, and other university policies. Specific requirements vary according to the nature of the Youth Activity. The Office of Youth Protection, in collaboration with other university offices and subject matter experts, offers guidance in identifying risks and determining applicable youth protection measures.
Registering a Youth Activity
The Office of Youth Protection maintains a campus-wide registry of youth activities to enable coordination of oversight at the campus level. Specific registration requirements vary by activity type (See Figure 1: “Taxonomy of Youth Activities”).
Office of Youth Protection Registration
- A youth activity must register with the Office of Youth Protection no later than 30 days before the date when youth arrive on campus or begin the activity.
- The Office of Youth Protection collects campus-wide data regarding the type, scope, and frequency of youth activities. Demographic data are also collected.
- Registration does not reflect endorsement of the academic content of the activity.
- Each youth activity must identify when registering with the Office of Youth Protection all of the following:
- Primary contact person. An individual to serve as the activity’s primary contact person, who will ensure the activity’s adherence to the requirements under this policy. This individual must be a university employee.
- Sponsoring department. A single university school/college/division responsible for the youth activity. Activities with joint sponsorship are required to identify which sponsor has lead responsibility. Third-party activities require a university sponsor.
- Youth activities, including third-party activities, require approval from the school/college dean or division director, or their designated appointee. The Office of Youth Protection may request written documentation of this approval.
- Youth activities are subject to review by and required to comply with policies established by other university offices, such as Risk Management; Environment, Health and Safety; University Health Services; and the Office of Human Resources.
- Timeframe. Activity start date and end date; total number and length of sessions. Multiple sessions can be included in the same registration.
- In the Office of Youth Protection registration, additional logistics and operational details may also be collected, depending on the type of youth activity.
- Authorized custodian. Depending on the youth activity type, an authorized custodian may be required. This role is a university employee who operates and is responsible for the logistics of a youth activity, ensures compliance with applicable policy and laws, is counted in the supervision ratio, and has been authorized for this role by completing required screening and training.
- Data collection and retention practices that satisfy cybersecurity requirements, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), and other policies governing university records containing personally identifiable information (PII).
- Supervision plan that meets required ratios of adults to minors, including ratios as established by the DATCP and adopted by the university for youth activities. (See Figure 4: “Supervision Ratios for Youth Activities.”)
- Insurance purchased according to eligibility determination by Risk Management. For example, some youth activities are eligible for coverage of youth participants under UW System’s “Camps and Clinics Blanket Accident Insurance” policy.
- Health services and medication administration. Proof of arrangements for provision of health services including a plan for youth medication administration, if applicable. Certain types of youth activities must provide health services as mandated by the DATCP in ATCP 78 - Recreational and Educational Camps. ATCP 78.18 describes the requirement to have a licensed health professional on site.
- General description of the youth activity plans, including disclosure of any high-risk activities, to allow for an adequate risk analysis of physical activities, transportation, location, food, and partnerships with outside entities. For example, disclosure of activities that involve swimming or other water recreation, live animals, chemicals, lab equipment, travel, etc.
- Reasonable accommodation request process outlining the program’s accessibility tagline statement included on registration materials and the program designated contact who will receive and determine reasonable accommodations in accordance with university policy.
- Other operational details, according to the type of activity. Some of these details are required for certain activity types. Information collected by the Office of Youth Protection may include staff roster, participant roster, funding source, location(s) where activity is conducted, methods of university-provided transportation of participants, format of interaction (this includes online activities), a safety/emergency plan, family/guardian communication plan, 24/7 emergency contact, method of identifying staff comprising the supervision ratio during the activity (such as name badges or lanyards), and/or other relevant operational details.
Screening of Personnel
Careful consideration is necessary when assigning duties related to activities with minors. Screening requirements vary by role; a role indicates the individual’s duties and level of responsibility for youth participants. The Office of Human Resources, in collaboration with the Office of Youth Protection, offers guidance in determining the applicable role and related screening requirements. (See Figure 2: “Roles and Responsibility Levels in Youth Activities.”)
Determination of Youth Activity Role
- University employees and university-appointed volunteers can be considered for youth activity roles.
- Third parties are required to meet or exceed the standards for youth activity roles established by the university to be eligible to conduct a youth activity.
- University students are not eligible for youth activity roles unless appointed as a university employee or university-appointed volunteer.
- Student organizations are not eligible for youth activity roles unless individual members are appointed as a university employee or university-appointed volunteer.
- Making a determination. A youth activity role determination must be made for any university employee or university-appointed volunteer whose duties include conducting or participating in an activity with youth. The purpose of the determination is to identify when and what screening and training are required for that individual based on the duties and responsibilities of their assigned youth activity role.
- The youth activity role is determined by Human Resources in consultation with the Office of Youth Protection, based on the level of responsibility of the job/volunteer duties.
- Examples include: risk executive sponsor, authorized custodian, authorized assistant custodian, authorized adult, and guest speaker. (See Figure 2: “Roles and Responsibility Levels in Youth Activities.”)
- Disclosure and documentation of duties.
- An employee/volunteer’s duties and level of responsibility for youth must be disclosed to Human Resources by the employee/volunteer.
- Any duties with youth that are added after the initial hire or volunteer appointment must also be disclosed by the employee/volunteer on an ongoing basis for the duration of the university employment or university-appointed volunteer role.
- Any duties related to youth must be documented.
- Acceptable documentation includes specifying youth activity duties in a hire letter, volunteer appointment letter, or position description.
- Documentation must be updated with Human Resources whenever new or higher-level responsibilities for youth are added to a person’s duties.
- When documented duties require clearance as a Position of Trust - Vulnerable Populations, documentation of this determination will be noted within Human Resources records, where applicable.
- Levels of screening. Roles with more responsibility and access to youth require more screening. The most responsibility is associated with roles that have custodial care of unaccompanied minors under age 18. Less responsibility is associated with a role such as guest speaker who only interacts with youth when an authorized adult is also present. (See Figure 2: “Roles and Responsibility Levels in Youth Activities.”)
- Criminal background checks will be conducted for all roles engaged in youth activities according to university policy and employment law.
- Refer to university policy UW-5014 Criminal Background Check Policy: Section VII Positions of Trust, Section 1 Access to Vulnerable Populations. This section mandates a background check every two years for individuals with unrestricted access to minors.
- Changing to a new position: A background check may be required when an employee or volunteer changes position. Human Resources will determine when a check must be conducted. For guidance, see “CBC Movement Matrix.” Refer to State of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Employment Relations Statutes 111.335 “Arrest or Conviction Record.”
- Additional screening. Based on the proposed duties, additional screening beyond the criminal background check will be conducted at the discretion of Human Resources. For example, some youth activity roles require reference checks.
- Required screening, including criminal background checks, must be completed prior to the individual beginning duties of supervising or interacting with minors.
- Screening may also be conducted after a break in service, as determined by Human Resources.
- Parental consent must be obtained for a minor requiring a criminal background check because they are in a role engaged in youth activities.
- Self-reporting: Employees and volunteers with duties related to a youth activity are required to report any of their own criminal arrests, charges, or convictions (excluding misdemeanor traffic offenses punishable only by fines) as directed by university policy (See UW-5014 Criminal Background Check Policy).
Ensuring Completion of Screening
- The division/department Human Resources in the sponsoring department (submitted in the Office of Youth Protection registration) is responsible for conducting the criminal background check and, if needed, additional screening.
- The youth activity’s primary contact person (submitted in the Office of Youth Protection registration) is responsible for verifying that criminal background check and, if needed, additional screening has been completed for every individual in that youth activity whose role requires screening. This includes employees of third parties sponsored by the division/department.
Training of Personnel
Training ensures a foundation of expectations and knowledge for all individuals who conduct activities with youth on behalf of the university.
Training requirements vary by role; a role indicates the individual’s duties and level of responsibility for youth participants. University subject experts (Human Resources; Risk Management; Office of Compliance; UW–Madison Police Department; Environment, Health and Safety; University Health Services; University Housing; Cybersecurity) in collaboration with the Office of Youth Protection offer guidance in determining the applicable role and related training requirements. (See Figure 2: “Roles and Responsibility Levels in Youth Activities.”)
- Levels of training. Roles with more responsibility require more training. The Office of Youth Protection determines the amount and type of training aligned with each level of responsibility based on standards established in collaboration with university subject experts.
- Minimum training.
- The minimum required training varies by youth activity role.
- All university employees/volunteers whose duties include an activity with youth will complete required training developed in conjunction with the Office of Compliance in the following topics:
- Mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect
- Preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence
- Additional training.
- Based on the youth activity role and specific duties, additional training may be required. Examples include: roles that take custodial care require first aid/CPR/AED certification; roles that serve as a Clery Campus Security Authority must complete training to report crimes; roles in overnight programs must be trained on 24/7 emergency response procedures.
- Youth activity roles have different levels of responsibility for incident reporting and are provided Role-based training regarding how to file reports that are required by university policy, state law, and federal law.
- An overview of role-based training requirements is maintained by the Office of Youth Protection. (Figure 2: “Roles and Responsibility Levels in Youth Activities.”)
- Approved alternatives to trainings may be determined in consultation with the Office of Youth Protection and the university department or office responsible for the training requirement.
Ensuring Completion of Training
- The sponsoring department (as listed in the Office of Youth Protection registration) is responsible for providing access to the training, for example by issuing a NetID.
- The youth activity’s primary contact person (as listed in the Office of Youth Protection registration) is responsible for verifying that training has been completed for every individual in that youth activity according to the requirements of the role.
Behavioral Standards and Expectations of Personnel
Adults serve as positive role models for minors and will act in a caring, honest, respectful, and responsible manner that is consistent with the university’s mission and guiding principles.
- Conduct that violates the law or university policy is not tolerated. Prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to: bullying, child abuse, child sexual abuse, discrimination, emotional abuse, grooming, harassment, hazing, inappropriate use of technology, indecent exposure, neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, manufacture of methamphetamines around a child, and illegal activities.
- All university employees and university-appointed volunteers who have a role in a youth activity will adhere to the university’s behavior expectations for interactions with minors.
- “One-on-one contact” interactions between adults and minors is not permissible. (See policy: UW-5040 Minor Protection and Adult Leadership.)
- Ensure that all interactions are observable and interruptible. This includes online interactions during virtual youth activities.
- Follow the Rule of Three: there must be at least two adults and one minor or two minors and one adult present within the context of the supervision plan.
- Exceptions to the Rule of Three may be made in these circumstances only:
- Family relationship. There is a parent, familial, or legal guardian relationship between the adult and minor.
- One-on-one tutoring occurring in an instructional or research setting. In such settings, free access to the setting by authorized adults to and from any space must be maintained at all times.
- Emergency exception. The prohibition of one-on-one interactions may be temporarily suspended if an emergency situation warrants it, such as when one adult accompanies a minor to the emergency room, is summoning law enforcement, or is searching for a missing minor.
- Retaliatory actions are prohibited against:
- Anyone acting in good faith to report a concern about possible violations of institutional policy,
- Individuals involved in investigating or responding to concerns, and
- Anyone involved in enforcement of youth protection policy.
- Additional behavior expectations or restrictions may be assigned by the supervisor.
Adults who serve as youth activity authorized custodians are expected to develop and follow emergency preparedness protocols specific to their youth activity. In addition, every youth activity must have and follow a safety plan that satisfies university expectations for health, wellness, and emergency response. These expectations are established by multiple units across the university.
University policy requires a timely and appropriate response if an incident occurs. It is imperative that all employees and volunteers actively participate in protection measures and remain alert to the safety of minors. It is the duty employees and volunteers to understand and follow incident reporting requirements, including where to report an incident and what types of incidents to report. (See Figure 3: “Incident Reporting Obligations for Youth Activities.”)
Required reporting categories.
- An incident may fit definitions in more than one category.
- Categories include:
- Child abuse and neglect
- Sexual harassment and sexual violence
- Crimes reportable under the Clery Act
- General incidents
- Accidental injury
- Suspicion of communicable disease
- Cybersecurity risk or violation
- Program level incidents (such as but not limited to peer conflicts, behavioral issues, rule violation, other incidents)
- Reporting procedures are defined by report category.
- The incident type determines whether a report is required to be made to a university unit, the police, and/or an outside agency.
- In order to meet reporting obligations, an individual may be required to make more than one report.
- Reports must be submitted timely.
- See also Figure 3: “Incident Reporting Obligations for Youth Activities.”
- The youth activity role of an employee/volunteer has an impact on required reports.
- All university employees and volunteers are obligated to report child abuse and neglect, per State of Wisconsin Executive Order #54.
- University employees who supervise other staff may have additional responsibilities, such as Title IX and Clery Act required reports.
- Employees and volunteers with custodial care of minors may have additional responsibilities.
- Training on incident reporting requirements is offered by the university for employees and volunteers with identified youth activity roles. These reporting obligations are articulated by multiple units across the university.
- Each employee or volunteer in a youth activity must determine and follow all applicable reporting requirements for any reportable incident that is observed or becomes known to them.
Consequences for Noncompliance
University employees, volunteers, and any others subject to this Youth Protection policy who violate this policy and/or associated policies, protocols, or procedures may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or dissolution of volunteer status, in accordance with the relevant policies and procedures applicable to their employee category. University-appointed volunteers are also subject to disciplinary action up to and including removal from their role. Third parties are subject to contract termination and associated financial liabilities.
University youth activities that do not fulfill the requirements of this Youth Protection policy and/or associated policies, protocols, or procedures may be subject to restrictions or limitations imposed on their operations, up to and including cancellation.
- All university employees and university-appointed volunteers to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy.
- The highest-level dean/director of the school/college/division who is responsible for all operations of the unit, or the dean/director’s designee, is responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to ensure compliance with the policy and consequences for non-compliance.
- The Office of Youth Protection is responsible for collecting and maintaining records of registered youth activities; communicating expectations to university employees associated with registered youth activities; providing guidance and interpretations related to the policy; in partnership with responsible offices, assessing the compliance status of registered youth activities; and conducting periodic reviews of program documentation or site visit inspections.
- The provost and/or the vice chancellor for finance and administration have the authority to review the operation of a youth activity and/or specific youth protection measures, and temporarily suspend, limit, restrict, or permanently cancel the youth activity at their sole discretion.
- The executive sponsors (provost and vice chancellor for finance and administration) have designated the Office of Youth Protection in the Division of Continuing Studies as the designated authority with responsibility for oversight of this policy along with the authority to enforce the policy’s provisions in collaboration with its university partners.