05.12 - Protecting Minors

Protecting Minors
Created/updated: July 26, 2013

Preamble: This policy adopts requirements to help ensure that the university meets its legal and ethical obligations to protect minors participating in university programs and visiting the university’s campuses.

A. Definitions
B. State Law Requirement
C. Policy
D. Process/Procedure

A. Definitions.

A-1. Abused: any case in which a minor has been the victim of:

(a) Conduct or omission resulting in physical harm that is not the result of an accidental occurrence. This may include skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, failure to thrive or death; or

(b) Sexual conduct, including rape, molestation, incest, prostitution, obscene or pornographic photographing, filming or depiction, or other similar forms of sexual exploitation harming or threatening the minor’s health or welfare or mental injury to the minor.

A-2. Abandoned: the failure of the parent to maintain a normal parental relationship with the minor, including, but not limited to, reasonable support or regular personal contact.

A-3. Child Protective Act: Idaho Code Sections 16-1601 et seq.

A-4. Mental Injury: the substantial impairment in the intellectual or psychological ability of a child to function within a normal range of performance and/or behavior, for short or long terms.

A-5. Minor: a person under the age of eighteen (18) years.

A-6. Neglected: a minor:

(a) Who is without proper parental care and control or subsistence, medical or other care or control necessary for the minor’s well-being because of the conduct or omission of the minor’s parents, guardian or other custodian; or

(b) Whose parents, guardian or other custodian are unable to discharge their responsibilities to and for the minor and, as a result of such inability, the minor lacks the parental care necessary for the minor’s health, safety, or well-being.

A-7. Public Records Review. A review of the Idaho Repository and sex offender registries for disqualifying convictions. Refer to APM 50.16, D-1 for disqualifying convictions.

A-8. University of Idaho Program (“Program”) is any program, activity, lab or research sponsored, controlled or funded by the University of Idaho that includes minors, except for official university courses not intended specifically for minors.

B. State Law Requirement. The State of Idaho Child Protective Act mandates that “any … person having reason to believe that a [Minor] has been abused, abandoned, neglected, or mentally injured or who observes the Minor being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in abuse, abandonment, neglect or mental injury shall report or cause to be reported within twenty-four (24) hours of knowledge of such conditions or circumstances to the proper law enforcement agency or the [Idaho Department of Health and Welfare].”

Failure to report is a misdemeanor. This is a personal responsibility imposed on any person who fails to report.

C. Policy. The University of Idaho (“UI”) offers many programs for minors and places great importance on taking steps to provide a safe environment for participants in these programs. In furtherance of this goal and to adhere to state law, UI requires all employees and volunteers to report minor abuse, abandonment, neglect and mental injury. Programs involving minors shall operate their programs in a safe and secure manner.

UI employees and students working in public or private schools shall follow the operational guidelines of the school. The procedures below are minimum acceptable practices at UI. Programs are encouraged to take all needed precautions to provide a safe environment for minors. Individual units may impose more stringent requirements on UI employees or volunteers involved with minors in programs than these procedures, including but not limited to obtaining criminal background checks through Human Resources. Any exemptions from compliance with this policy “Protecting Minors” must be submitted in writing to, and approved by the director of Risk Management.

D. Process/Procedure

D-1. Reporting Obligations. In compliance with the Child Protective Act, all UI employees and volunteers, and any other person having reason to believe that a minor has been abused, abandoned, neglected, or mentally injured or who observes a minor being subjected to conditions or circumstances that constitute or would reasonably result in abuse, abandonment, neglect, or mental injury, shall report such conduct or conditions immediately, according to the following procedures:

Report any suspected abuse to the appropriate law enforcement authority or the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare at 1-855-552-KIDS (5437) and your supervisor or advisor within 24 hours. Your supervisor must immediately report the situation to the University of Idaho, Department of Public Safety at 208 885-7054.

This reporting requirement is both a legal obligation under state law and a requirement of UI policy and must occur within 24 hours of knowledge of circumstances.

The UI strictly prohibits retaliation against any person for reporting concerns or providing information in good faith. Retaliation is broadly defined. The university’s non-retaliation policies are FSH 3290 and FSH 3810

D-2. Program Operations. Programs must include the following minimum operational requirements:

(a) Public Records Review. Employees and volunteers who will be working with minors in programs must have a successful public records check through the Department of Risk Management (Risk) unless a successful criminal background check has already been processed by Human Resources, Risk, or approved vendor. Individuals needing a public records review should request the review 30 days prior to the first scheduled date of participation in a program that includes Minors. Employees and volunteers must, immediately upon conviction, self-disclose to the program director any criminal conviction that would disqualify them from working with minors. Public records reviews are valid for one year from the date of review. UI employees who will be teaching in a classroom or conducting a lab for a program with minors when a program member is present -who has had a successful public records review, do not need a public records review. Refer to APM 50.16, D-1 for disqualifying convictions.

(b) University Training. All program employees and volunteers are required to complete training provided by Risk in detecting and reporting abuse.

(c) Employee/Volunteer Selection Criteria. Programs must include specific criteria for selecting employees and volunteers having direct contact with minors. Criteria may include reference requirements, additional background checks, and/or restrictions on unsupervised contact with minors.

(d) Training Requirements. Training shall include (but not be limited to):
i. Minor protection training provided by Risk
ii. Program-specific minor protection policies.

All training is valid for one year from the date of completion or certification.

Note: A program’s existing training and/or certification may be deemed to satisfy UI requirements for training, if approved by the director of Risk.

(e) Minor-adult contact ratio requirements. Program policies should avoid one-on-one contact between adults and minors. When involving minors the following ratios should be minimum requirements: minors up to age 7, 1:10 ratio; minors between the ages of 8–12, 1:16 ratio; and minors ages 13 and up, 1:28. Minor-adult contact ratios shall be maintained during periods of transportation, meals, responding to emergencies, and overnight housing where applicable. Programs with daycare licenses will adhere to state ratio guidelines.

(f) Prohibited Relationships. Romantic or sexual relationship as described in FSH 3205 between employees or volunteers with minors or minor with minor in any program is prohibited. Programs should facilitate overnight housing arrangements with opposite gender separation restrictions for leader and any participant, including minors.

(g) Behavioral Issues. Discipline by physical punishment or deprivation of the necessities of care, such as food or shelter is prohibited.