Policy: Minors on Campus at North Park University
- Why has North Park University established this policy?
The University has a substantial, diverse, and growing set of youth serving programs. It also has a fundamental commitment to ensuring that the programs provide safe and healthy learning environments for the youth who participate in them. The University recently undertook a review of its youth serving programs to learn how they are being administered, whether risk factors are being appropriately mitigated, and to make recommended adjustments and additional measures to protect minors. The review found that the University’s youth-serving programs currently operate without the benefit of an overarching policy, any minimum requirements, and a suite of readily available resources or mechanisms for sharing good practices. Creation of the Policy Regarding Minors on Campus creates standards in which to maintain a healthy community and continue to provide effective programming.
- What does the policy require?
This policy requires faculty, academic appointees, staff, student employees, and volunteers who
supervise a covered program and/or have direct contact with minors in covered programs to do three things:
- participate in training on mandated reporting status, the policy, and conduct requirements for working with youth (e.g., how to maintain appropriate boundaries);
- satisfactorily complete a criminal background and registered sex offender check;
- and comply with standards regarding their conduct while working with youth in covered programs.
- What subjects does the policy address?
The policy affirms the University’s commitment to providing a safe environment to minors who participate in University programs by setting forth screening, training, and conduct requirements, and restating the legal obligation borne by all University employees to immediately report to the State of Illinois known or suspected abuse or neglect of a child known to them in their official capacity.
- Who is a “minor”?
A minor is anyone who is under the age of 18.
- What does it mean to have “direct contact” with a minor?
For purposes of the policy, “direct contact” means to provide care, supervision, guidance, oversight, or control over children through a covered program.
- What is a “covered program”?
“Covered programs” include University programs, activities, workshops, preparatory experiences, including lessons, laboratories, open houses, and events whether for academic, athletic, recreational or other purposes and whether on or off University premises. By way of example, covered programs include but are not limited to, day or overnight camps of any nature for children, including camps conducted by University athletic coaches, schools operated by the University and creative or instructional activities involving children. Camps and programs conducted or operated by University athletic coaches and other employees in their personal capacities are considered covered programs where the coach’s employee University affiliation is identified and/or where such programs use the University’s name, University premises, facilities or resources.
- Are there guidelines for covered programs that include overnight stays or use of University housing?
Yes, those programs must have the following additional measures in place: (i) identification to be worn by faculty, academic appointees, staff, student employees, and volunteers and, if appropriate, participants; (ii) enforced curfews; (iii) adherence to campus alcohol- and drug-free policy; (iv) a code of conduct for participants; and (v) full-time residential supervision.
- Are covered programs are required to be registered?
Yes, all covered programs that are not expressly excluded by the Policy are required to be registered with the Office of Title IX. Covered programs are required to be registered 30 days before the program begins. Programs can be registered at . The registration form requests contact information, program details (date, time, nature, location), and also requests information about adults who will have direct contact with minors.
- What happens when the conduct requirements are violated?
Policies and procedures governing conduct are described in the Student Manual, Faculty Handbook, and/or Human Resources Policies. A policy violation by student members of the University is subject to the University disciplinary systems. Any faculty member, academic appointee, staff person, student employee, or volunteer who violates a policy will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination of employment or volunteer arrangement and
notification to the proper authorities if applicable.
- What does the background check consist of?
The background check consists of a criminal history and registered sex offender check conducted by a third party with which the University contracts. The director or official responsible for a covered program may, in addition to the background check, require supplemental prospective background checks at regular intervals based on the nature of the program, requirements under applicable law, contractual obligations, or other relevant factors. The ready availability of criminal history and registered sex offender status information has resulted in a significant shift in national practices within higher education where obtaining this information is becoming common practice.
- What does it mean to be a “mandated reporter”?
Under the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA, the state’s child welfare law), individuals called “mandated reporters” are legally required to immediately report the suspected abuse or neglect of a child they know in their official capacity to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
- Who at the University is a “mandated reporter”?
All University personnel are mandated reporters, including all faculty, academic appointees, staff, student employees, and volunteers.
- Are University students mandated reporters?
Student status alone does not make students mandated reporters. Rather, University students are mandated reporters when they are employed by or volunteer with a program or activity on or off campus that involves direct contact with minors, and thus such students bear all of the responsibilities required by the policy for mandatory reporters.
- What does it mean to “suspect” child abuse or neglect?
The threshold for reporting is when a mandated reporter has reasonable cause to believe that abuse or neglect is occurring to a child known to him or her in his or her official capacity.
- What should I do if I have reasonable cause to believe that a child I know in my official capacity is being abused or neglected?
If a minor is in immediate danger call 911. If no immediate danger is present inform the Director or identified individual “in charge” of the covered program. Together, or with the help of Security or the Title IX Coordinator, call the DCFS Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.25.ABUSE. The Hotline is staffed by social workers and others who have special training in determining what constitutes child abuse and neglect. See also this helpful guidance from the DCFS.
- Where can I find more information about this policy and resources available to help achieve compliance?
Please contact Mark Plante at firstname.lastname@example.org.