The University of Idaho offers many programs for minors and places great importance on taking steps to provide a safe environment for participants in these programs. To help the University obtain this goal and to adhere to State Law, it is required that all employees and volunteers report minor abuse, abandonment, neglect, or mental injury. UI programs involving minors must operate their programs in a safe and secure manner, understand the Idaho Child Protective Act, and follow its requirements.
Reporting Minor Abuse, Abandonment, Neglect, and Mental Injury
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 child 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 adviser 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 University policy and must occur within 24 hours of knowledge of circumstances.
UI Program Operations
UI programs that include minors, excluding official university courses not intended specifically for minors, must include the following minimum operational requirements:
Public Records Review
Public records reviews are required for those individuals involved with programs who have an occasional camp or program that includes minors. Criminal background checks through Human Resources or other Risk approved vendors are required for individuals involved with programs that have significant minor involvement. If the individual has had a successful criminal background check through Human Resources or other Risk approved vendor, the criminal background check can take the place of a public records review by Risk. Individuals should request the public records review 30 days prior to the first schedule date of participation in a program that includes Minors. See link for requesting a public records review at left of this webpage.
Employees and volunteers must, immediately upon conviction, self-disclose to the UI program director any criminal conviction that would disqualify them from working with minors. Refer to APM 50.16
, D-1 for disqualifying convictions.
Public records reviews are valid for one year from the date of review. UI employees that will be teaching in a classroom or conducting a lab for a UI program with minors when a UI Program member is present who has had a successful public records review or criminal background check, do not need a public records review.
The university requires UI programs to insure their employees are properly trained. All training is valid for one year from the date of completion or certification.
Protecting Minors Training
All program employees and volunteers are required to complete "Protecting Minors" training provided by the Department of Risk Management. See link to course at the right of this webpage under Training.
UI Program Training
UI programs must provide for and conduct training to their employees and volunteers involved with minors based on their program objectives. The training should include:
- Use of background checks and or public records reviews;
- Safety aspects relevant to the activity (lab safety, preventing accidents and emergencies, camping, food handling, fire drills, etc.);
- Handling and reporting incidents (like minor abuse), accidents, and emergencies;
- Behavioral expectations for the those involved with the program (including behaviors that would be inappropriate conduct with minors, not being alone with a minor during or outside of program, no sexual activity, sharing sexually explicit materials or jokes, no use or possession of alcohol, drugs or weapons, communicating with minors via any electronic communication, and how exceptions will be handled);
- Behavioral expectations for participants and how exceptions will be handled;
- Behavioral signs that minor victims may exhibit. See Resource link for The US Department of Health and Human Services, Identification, "What is Child Abuse and Neglect, Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms";
- Sexual abuse and sexual harassment;
- Maintaining standard program staff to minor ratios that plan for overnight supervision, meals, travel, handling behavioral issues and emergencies; and
- Social media use (blogging, social networking, emailing, chatting, media sharing including videos and pictures, music and radio, and gaming) should be limited to only program specific content items. No personal or non program contact should be initiated and or responded to. Programs will need to monitor that content is free of inappropriate photos, videos, or messages, does not contain copyright infringements or plagiarism, and allows no cyber bullying.
Employee/Volunteer Selection Criteria
UI 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.
Minor-Adult Contact Ratios
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 ratio. Where applicable, minor-adult contact ratio policies shall be maintained during periods of transportation, meals, and responding to emergencies.
A romantic or sexual relationship as described in FSH 3205 between employees or volunteers with minors or minor with minor in any UI program is prohibited. Programs should facilitate overnight housing arrangements with opposite gender separation restrictions for leader and any participant, including minors.
Programs should have behavioral expectations that are shared with program staff and participants. Their guidelines should describe expected behaviors, prohibited behaviors, and consequences for non compliance. Discipline by physical punishment or deprivation of the necessities of care, such as food or shelter is prohibited.