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Current Status: Active PolicyStat ID: 4988486

Standard on Protection of Minors

Introduction

Purpose

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“UNC‑CH” or “University”) strives to create a welcoming and safe environment for all individuals visiting University property or participating in University programs. The Policy on the Protection of Minors (“Policy”) reinforces this expectation by establishing standards, requirements, and procedures that specifically focus on protecting the safety of individuals who are from abuse and neglect by a parent, guardian, caretaker, or Covered Program Staff member.

This Standard document outlines minimum requirements necessary for a Covered Program to conduct an activity that includes Minors regardless of location. These standards include mandatory background checks, Covered Program staff training requirements, and personal conduct expectations.

Scope of Applicability

All University Community Members must comply with this Standard. Compliance shall be a responsibility of all University faculty, staff, unpaid volunteers, interns, visiting scholars, UNC independent contractors and students as well as outside third parties (including external contractors) who are authorized to use University facilities or property.

All portions of this Standard apply to the protection of Minors participating in Covered Programs.

UNC-CH Enrolled students who are Minors are covered by University policies and standards applicable to students and applicable State laws involving the protection of Minors. Interactions of an academic, housing, recreational, service, or social nature through University programs in which UNC-CH Enrolled Student Minors participate will not require registration.

All contracts for the services of UNC-CH independent contractors (including solo and external contractors) who will have Direct Contact with Minors as part of a Covered Program must include a provision that requires compliance with all of the provisions of this Standard.

Standard

I. Requirements and Standards for Programs Serving Minors

A. Registration and Approval of Covered Programs

In order to operate Covered Programs must be registered and approved in advance by the University’s Coordinator for the Protection of Minors. Covered Programs include both daytime and overnight/residential activities such as athletic camps, science camps, academic camps, enrichment programs, and similar activities intended for the benefit of Minors. Covered Programs exclude externally‑sponsored field trips or visits that bring Minors to campus (e.g., school trips to Morehead Planetarium, campus tours, library visits, athletic events) and programs exclusively for UNC‑CH enrolled or matriculated students.

No University department or third party may offer Covered Programs without first obtaining prior approval under this Policy and continuously complying with all of the Policy standards and requirements.

Every proposed Covered Program must have a University sponsoring unit (department or program) and must have the approval of the head of that sponsoring unit. A sponsoring unit may choose to designate a staff person (or Departmental Booking Agent in the Department of Athletics) to coordinate the registration, compliance, and approval process.

B. Mandatory Background Checks

A background check must be completed for all Covered Program Staff eighteen (18) years of age or older who work with, instruct, or otherwise come into Direct Contact with Minors in a Covered Program (“Program Staff”), even if these individuals are unpaid affiliates such as unpaid volunteers, interns, or visiting scholars. “Direct Contact” is defined as care, guidance, control, or supervision of minors in group or one‑to‑one settings or the potential for one‑to‑one interaction with minors. This requirement applies to all University faculty, staff, students, or unpaid volunteers, interns, visiting scholars and UNC-CH independent contractors who will serve as Program Staff and have Direct Contact with Minors and to all individuals employed by, contracted by, or volunteering for external entities operating a Covered Program who have Direct Contact with minors. Program Staff also includes individuals who support Covered Programs and have Direct Contact with minors. These checks must be completed prior to a Covered Program Staff member having any Direct Contact with minors as part of a Covered Program. A background check with a satisfactory outcome completed within the six (6) months prior to the start of the Covered Program will satisfy this requirement.

1. Subsequent Background Checks

Covered Program Staff must undergo subsequent background checks at least annually. There are two exceptions pursuant to which a Covered Program Staff member may have subsequent background checks every five (5) years rather than annually. The first exception applies to Covered Program Staff who are also University employees or students and who are continuously employed by or enrolled in the University without any break in their employment or enrollment that lasts one hundred twenty (120) days or more. The second exception is for Covered Program Staff members continuously employed by or volunteering for Third Parties who do not have a break in employment or volunteer service that lasts one hundred twenty (120) days or more.

In addition, all Covered Programs must collect and submit an annual notice of disclosure for Covered Program Staff (except Enrolled UNC-CH Students*) and must conduct an annual check of the state and national sex offender registries for all Covered Program Staff.

National Sex Offender Public Website: https://www.nsopw.gov/

UNC Disclosure form: https://protectionofminors.unc.edu/

*Non third party Program Directors will submit a list of all enrolled UNC-CH students to the Protection of Minors Coordinator who will check the National Sex Offender Registry. An annual notice of disclosure for enrolled UNC-CH students will be submitted electronically to the Protection of Minors Coordinator.

UNC Disclosure form: https://protectionofminors.unc.edu/

In addition, there is a mandatory process by which all University employees must report any post-employment criminal conviction(s) to appropriate University administrators and any conviction will be evaluated and acted on.

2. Conducting Background Checks

UNC-CH Departments must satisfy initial and subsequent background check requirements by initiating a background check through the standard background check process operated by the University’s Office of Human Resources (“OHR”).

Covered Programs operated by a Third Party must satisfy this requirement using a qualified background check vendor that is a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

Background checks must include the following minimum elements:

Initial Background Check Subsequent Annual Background Checks
Nationwide federal courts criminal convictions.
  • Every five (5) years for continuously employed, enrolled or engaged Program Staff.
  • Annually for Program Staff with a break in employment, enrollment, or service of 120 days or more.
National and state sex offender registry. National and state sex offender registry yearly for all Covered Program Staff to be conducted by program director.
Criminal convictions in all states and counties where a Program Staff member has previously lived or worked.

Criminal convictions in all states and counties where a Program Staff member has previously lived or worked in the last 7 years.

  • Every five (5) years for continuously employed, enrolled or engaged Program Staff.
  • Annually for Program Staff with a break in employment, enrollment, or service of 120 days or more.
A residential history check to confirm that a Program Staff member has truthfully disclosed all prior cities and counties of residence in the past 7 years. A residential history check to confirm that a Program Staff member has truthfully disclosed all prior cities and counties of residence in the past 7 years.
If the proposed Program Staff member’s responsibilities include transporting minors participating in the Covered Program, then a mandatory driver’s license check.
  • Every five (5) years for continuously employed, enrolled or engaged Covered Program Staff.
  • Annually for Covered Program Staff with a break in employment, enrollment, or service of 120 days or more.

The cost of required background checks is borne by the Covered Program.

For Covered Programs sponsored by University departments, if proposed Covered Program Staff are found to have prior criminal convictions, the departments must contact their central office contact for assistance in reviewing these situations.

For Covered Programs operated by Third Parties, the responsibility for vetting Covered Program Staff is the obligation of those entities. If the Third Party has questions or concerns about the results of any proposed Covered Program Staff member’s background check, it should consult its own human resources professionals or legal counsel for advice as appropriate. The University will not interpret background check results for outside entities.

Any proposed Covered Program Staff member whose background check reveals prior criminal convictions that involve a sex offense, crimes against children, or a serious violent crime involving assault or injury to others may not be employed in a Covered Program in which there is contact with minors. Proposed Program Staff whose duties include driving and whose background checks reveal serious driving-related convictions may not be permitted to drive Minors as part of their duties.

C. Covered Program Staff Training Requirements

Each Covered Program must assure that all Covered Program Staff are trained on policies and issues relevant to the protection of Minors. This training must occur at least annually and must occur prior to any Direct Contact with Minors. The management of a Covered Program may enhance and/or modify the University’s training requirements to meet specific needs of the applicable Covered Program, but such training must include the following minimum components:

  • The University’s Policy on the Protection of Minors;
  • Sexual abuse and sexual harassment;
  • Detection of Child Abuse and Neglect through behavioral signs Minor victims may exhibit;
  • Protecting Minors from Child Abuse and Neglect by adults;
  • Protecting Minors from abuse and bullying by peers;
  • Laboratory safety for minors (when applicable)

D. Personal Conduction Expectations

Covered Program Staff must meet the following standards of conduct at all times:

  • Do not engage in any sexual activity, make sexual comments, tell sexual jokes, or share sexually explicit material (or assist in any way to provide access to such material via any medium) with or around Minors.
  • Unless expressly authorized by the Program Director, a Dean, or a Department Chair, or unless interaction involves the provision of health care services by a licensed provider, do not be alone with a single Minor. Absent one of these circumstances, activities where Minors are present must involve two or more adults. If one‑on‑one interaction is absolutely required, meet in open, well‑illuminated spaces or rooms with windows observable by other adults.
  • Do not meet with Minors outside of established times for activities. Any exceptions to this provision should require prior written authorization from a parent/guardian of the involved Minor and must include more than one Covered Program Staff member.
  • Do not invite individual Minors to your home or any other location. Any exceptions should require prior written authorization by both the Covered Program Director and a parent/guardian of the involved Minor.
  • Do not engage or allow Minors to engage you in romantic or sexual conversations, or related matters, unless required in the role of resident advisors, counselors, or health care providers.
  • Do not engage or communicate with Minors through email, text messages, social networking websites, internet chat rooms, or other forms of social media at any time except and unless there is an educational or programmatic purpose and the content of the communication is consistent with the purpose of the Covered Program.
  • Do not touch Minors in a manner that a reasonable person could interpret as inappropriate. Touching should generally only occur in the open and in response to the Minor’s needs, for a purpose that is consistent with the mission of the Covered Program, and/or for a clear educational, developmental, or health related (e.g., treatment of an injury) purpose. Any resistance or objection from the Minor to touching by a Covered Program Staff member must be respected.
  • Do not engage in abusive conduct of any kind toward, or in the presence of a Minor, including but not limited to verbal abuse, striking, hitting, punching, poking, spanking, or restraining. If restraint is necessary to protect a Minor from harm, all incidents must be promptly documented and disclosed to the Covered Program Director, the Minor’s parent/guardian and the Protection of Minors on Campus Coordinator.
  • Do not use, possess or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while on duty or when responsible for a Minor’s welfare.
  • When transporting Minors as part of the activities associated with a Covered Program, more than one member of the Covered Program Staff must be present in the vehicle, except when multiple Minors will be in the vehicle at all times during the transportation. Avoid using personal vehicles.
  • Do not possess or use any type of weapon or explosive device while in the presence of Minors participating in a Covered Program. Only UNC Police should have possess any weapons when interacting with Minors.

II. Additional Recommendations for Covered Programs

Covered Programs shall have their own plans and procedures and training mechanisms that address the applicable “Pre-Camp Training Topics” identified by the American Camp Association. https://www.acacamps.org.

Covered Programs whose Minors will be working in the lab must follow procedures set by Environment, Health and Safety. EHS website: https://ehs.cloudapps.unc.edu/LabRadWorker/

Covered Programs shall have plans and procedures to address instances of severe weather, swimming safety, lifeguard supervision, travel off premises, or other applicable situations where Minors’ safety or security could potentially be threatened.

Training for Program Staff in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), First Aid, and automated external defibrillator (AED) use is also strongly recommended for Covered Programs of eight (8) or more participants.

Units should require Covered Program Staff of eight (8) or more participants that they sponsor to prominently distinguish themselves for easy identification at all times when the Covered Program is operating. This can be accomplished by wearing issued lanyards, buttons, or T-shirts.

Definitions

Child Abuse or Neglect: The North Carolina Division of Social Services (DSS) provides that child abuse is “the intentional maltreatment of a child and that can be physical, sexual, or emotional in nature.” DSS provides that neglect is “the failure to give children the necessary care they need."

Covered Program: A program or activity in which Minors participate that is sponsored by a University Department, a student organization, or a Third Party entity sponsored by a University Department.

Covered Program Staff: All individuals 18 years of age or older who work with, instruct, or otherwise come into Direct Contact with Minors in a Covered Program, even if these individuals are volunteers. Covered Program Staff include all University Community Members who will serve as Covered Program Staff and who will have Direct Contact with Minors and to all individuals employed by, contracted by, or volunteering for a Third Party who have Direct Contact with Minors. Covered Program Staff also include individuals who support Covered Programs and who have Direct Contact with Minors.

Direct Contact: Care, guidance, control, or supervision of minors in group or one-to-one settings or potential for one-to-one interaction with minors.

Mandated Reporter: Both as a matter of University policy and North Carolina State law, any member of the University Community who reasonably suspects that a Minor, including a UNC-CH Enrolled Student Minor, has been abused or neglected by a parent, guardian, caregiver, or Covered Program Staff has an absolute obligation to report that suspicion to the appropriate County Department of Social Services (“DSS”), regardless of where the offense occurred.

Minor: Defined term meaning any person under the age of 18, who is not an enrolled or matriculated student of the University. Certain portions of this Policy refer to minors as a general class of persons under the age of 18.

Third Party: An organization or individual from outside of the University that uses University facilities to conduct a Covered Program pursuant to an approved contract or other use agreement with a sponsoring University Department and with the prior approval of the Protection of Minors on Campus Coordinator. For example, athletic camps or academic camps.

University Community or University Community Members: University faculty, staff, unpaid volunteers, interns, students, temporary employees, visiting scholars, and any other University affiliates.

Related Requirements

External Regulations

Covered Programs shall have their own plans and procedures and training mechanisms that address the applicable “Pre-Camp Training Topics” identified by the American Camp Association.

“Pre-Camp Training Topics” identified by the American Camp Association, https://www.acacamps.org/resource-library/accreditation-standards/pre-camp-training-topics

Covered Programs whose Minors will be working in University laboratories must follow procedures set by Environment, Health and Safety (“EHS”).

EHS website: https://ehs.cloudapps.unc.edu/LabRadWorker/

Consequences

Violations of this Policy

University Employee: Violations may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Unpaid Volunteers, Interns and Visiting Scholars: Violations may result in end of assignment.

University Students: Violations may result in the referral to the Honor System or Dean of Students.

Third Party Covered Program Staff: Violations may result in disciplinary action that requires immediate removal from Direct Contact with Minors, and /or University property or facility.

Covered Programs: If it is determined that the Covered Program has not complied with any provision of the University’s Policy on the Protection of Minors, the Covered Program may be subject to immediate discontinuation of operation and/or use of University property. At the discretion of the University Coordinator for the Protection of Minors on Campus, the Covered Program may also be banned from future use of University facilities.

University Standards and Procedures

  1. University Policy on Protection of Minors
  2. University Procedures for Protection of Minors
  3. University Policy on Protection for Reporting Improper Government Activities
  4. Covered Program Registration and Compliance Form

Contact Information

Policy Contact

  1. UNC Coordinator for the Protection of Minors:
    1. Telephone: 919-843-8995
    2. Email: protectionofminors@unc.edu
    3. Website: https://protectionofminors.unc.edu/

Other Contacts

  1. Child Protective Services Division in the Orange County Department of Social Services:
    1. Telephone: Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm, excluding holidays, call 919‑245‑2818 or 919‑968‑2000.
    2. Telephone: After hours and on weekends and holidays, call 911 and ask for the on‑call social worker.
    3. Website: http://www.orangecountync.gov/departments/social_services/index.php
  2. UNC Police:
    1. Telephone: 919-962-8100 or 919-962-6565. Those needing to use TTY/TDD feature can also dial 911.
    2. Website: https://police.unc.edu/
  3. UNC’s Equal Opportunity and Compliance (“EOC”) Office:
    1. Telephone: 919‑966‑3576
    2. Email: eoc@unc.edu
    3. Website: https://eoc.unc.edu/
  4. UNC’s Employee & Management Relations Unit of the Office of Human Resources:
    1. Telephone: 919‑843‑3444
    2. Email: emr@unc.edu
    3. Website: https://hr.unc.edu/employees/emr/
All revision dates: 5/24/2018
Attachments:

Approval Signatures

Step Description Approver Date
Publication Matthew Teal: University Program Specialist 5/24/2018
Protection of Minors Coordinator Starr Sanders: University Program Specialist 5/24/2018
Step Description Approver Date
Publication Matthew Teal: University Program Specialist 5/24/2018
Protection of Minors Coordinator Starr Sanders: University Program Specialist 5/24/2018
Older Version Approval Signatures