Youth Protection (Minors on Campus) Procedures
Valdosta State University offers a variety of programs, clinics and activities that bring non-student minors onto campus. These include but are not limited to athletic camps, after school programs, science camps, music camps, and enrichment activities. These programs are of great educational value and serve to benefit both the institution and the larger community. Through these procedures, the University seeks to promote the safety and welfare of minors and adults who participate in these programs.
The purpose of this document is to provide guidelines for appropriate supervision of non-student minors who are involved in University-sponsored programs, programs operated by outside-entities that are held at the University and/or housed in University facilities, and University sponsored programs involving minors at off-site locations. These guidelines do not include the areas outlined below.
- General public events where parents/guardians are invited/expected to provide supervision of minors, or to events where parents/guardians are explicitly required to accompany their children are not included in these procedures, and
- Minors participating in Dual Enrollment classes are considered currently enrolled students and thus, these procedures do not apply, unless programming includes overnight housing on campus,
- Minors enrolled as students.
Authorized Adult: Individuals, age 18 and older, paid or unpaid, who interact with, supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee minors in program activities, recreational, and/or residential facilities. This includes but is not limited to faculty, staff, volunteers, graduate and undergraduate students, interns, employees of temporary employment agencies, and independent contractors/consultants.
- The Authorized Adults’ roles may include positions as counselors, chaperones, coaches, instructors, etc.
- Authorized Adults are responsible for following and enforcing all rules and must be able to provide information included herein to program participants and be able to respond to emergencies.
- Authorized Adults are considered to be mandated reporters as defined by Georgia law.
- Authorized Adults may be non-employee individuals who are supervising minors on campus.
- Nothing in this policy shall construe an individual classified as an Authorized Adult under this policy as a VSU employee or that Valdosta State University is responsible for the actions of an Authorized Adult.
Direct Contact: Positions with the possibility of care, supervision, guidance or control of minors and/or routine interaction with minors. Generally, speakers, presenters, exhibitors, registration/logistics volunteers, scorekeepers, clock operators, competition judges, campus tour guides, and alumni admission interviewers do not have care, custody or control of minors and therefore are not considered to have direct contact with minors.
Mandatory Reporters: If you are classified as an Authorized Adult (see definition above) and have reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused (including but not limited to mental, physical, or sexual abuse), you must make a report immediately, but no later than 24 hours, to the University Police or other local law enforcement and are subject to criminal penalty for failing to do so.
Minor: A person under the age of eighteen (18) who is not enrolled or accepted for enrollment in credit-granting courses at the University. Minors participate in programs on campus but are not considered students of Valdosta State University.
One-On-One Contact: Personal, unsupervised interaction between any Authorized Adult and a Minor without at least one other Authorized Adult, parent or legal guardian being present.
Programs: All programs and activities offered by various academic or administrative units of the University, or by non-University groups using University facilities will be subject to these procedures. These include but are not limited to workshops, sport or academic camps, conferences, pre-enrollment visits, and volunteer activities.
Program Administrator: All programs must have an identified Program Administrator. This individual is identified as and expected to be the main person in charge of the program. This person shall ensure that all policies are upheld and that violations of this policy are reported immediately to the VSU Non–student Minor Coordinator. This individual must complete annual Program Administrator training in addition to authorized adult training. The Program Administrator will be the main point of contact for the University. It is expected that the Program Administrator will be present on campus for the duration of the program.
Sponsoring Unit: The academic or administrative unit of the University which offers a program or gives approval for housing or use of facilities.
University Facilities: Facilities owned by, or under the control of, the University with the exception of Student Health Services and the Counseling Center, which will follow separate policies that reflect the unique activities that occur in those locations.
VSU Non-student Minor Coordinator: Valdosta State University’s point of contact for internal and external applications for programs, tracking that pre-program requirements are met, and charged with ensuring compliance with all policies and procedures contained in this document. This individual will be referred to as the Minor Coordinator in the remainder of this document.
Programs and activities involving minors on campus must be registered with the university through the Minors on Campus Registry at least 30 days prior to your event, with the following guidelines:
- Registration is completed by Program Administrators.
- Programs are required to register annually with Minors on Campus.
- Registry link is provided to Program Administrators once the Registration form is submitted and approved.
- Program Administrators are required to register the program's authorized adults and participants in the Registry. The Program Administrators can use excel files to bulk add the requested information on the Registry. The excel files are located at https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/social-equity/minors-on-campus/forms-for-minors.php
- Program Administrators are required to certify completion of Minors on Campus Training, Code of Conduct and Background Checks on authorized adults 30 days before the camp(s) start date. Certification is complete by submitting the dates of completion in the registery.
- Program Administrators are required to certify and continue to update Minor Participant forms in the Registry. Certification is done by submitting the dates of completion. If certification is not complete by the end of the first day of the program/camp, the program/camp will be removed from the approved list.
- Program Administrators are required to keep copies of background check approvals, training certifications and signed code of conduct for authorized adults in accordance with the University System of Georgia record retention policy.
- Program Administrators are required to keep copies of the Minor Participant forms for each minor in accordance with the University System of Georgia record retention policy.
- The registry information will be accessible to the University Police at all times.
Proper Screening & Background Checks
All Authorized Adults who have direct contact with Minors are required to have a current background check on record with the University prior to beginning work with minors. Background checks must be reviewed and approved by University Human Resource Department thirty (30) days prior to the program/camp start date.
- Background Check Request Form for VSU sponsered programs/camps must be completed with the department budget manager's signature and emailed to the minors on campus coordinator. Please see the Minors on Campus Background Check form for more detailed instructions and cost.
HR’s Background check is completed by Accurate. Accurate sends an email with a Background Check questionnaire from its own email server/address. Accurate Email is titled Accurate Background-Screening Invitation and the sender address email@example.com
Once the background check invitation email is sent out to an individual, he or she has 10 days to complete the questionnaire and GA release form (accurate sends reminders on the 3rd and 7th day to complete the request). The request will be canceled after the 10th day and HR will not resubmit the background check until next semester.
- Please allow at least fourteen (14) days for background investigations to be completed.
- Any and all costs incurred for conducting background checks will be the responsibility of the organization sponsoring the program.
- Background checks are valid for four (4) calendar years.
- In keeping with Human Resource policies, employees of the University are required to notify Human Resources of any arrest (charged with a misdemeanor or felony) or conviction within 72 hours of knowledge of the arrest or conviction. This includes any arrests or convictions that occur either between the date of a University run background check and the beginning of the event/program. Human Resources will notify the Program Administrator and Minor Coordinator, who will then determine, in conjunction with University Police, if it is appropriate for the Authorized Adult to continue with the program.
- Authorized Adults participating in external groups are required to notify University Police of any arrest (charged with a misdemeanor or felony) or conviction within 72 hours of knowledge of the arrest or conviction. This includes any arrests or convictions that occur either between the date of a University run background check and the beginning of the event/program. Human Resources will notify the Program Administrator and Minor Coordinator, who will then determine, in conjunction with University Police, if it is appropriate for the Authorized Adult to continue with the program.
- Third Parties using Valdosta State University facilities: Valdosta State University’s Human Resources Office does not conduct background checks on third parties. Third parties must ensure all of their program/camp staff are background checked through a creditable and verified vender. Background investigations shall include, at a minimum, the following checks:
- A state and federal criminal history check covering a minimum of seven (7) years.
- A nationwide sex offender search.
- A social security number check using the Form I-9 and the federal E-Verify system.
Youth Protection Training Requirements
The Minors on Campus training will be completed through LawRoom; an online platform provided by Everfi. The training was designed for the entire USG (hence the title of the training), and then tailored to individual institutions. The training itself is 40-45 minutes in length and will allow you to print a certificate of completion afterward. It is designed to help those who will be working with minors to better understand their reporting obligations, to recognize signs of child abuse, to detect predators, and to understand how to report suspected abuse.
The Program Administrator can request the training link portal for authorized adult(s) by emailing the Campus Training Excel Form to firstname.lastname@example.org Please note the email training link will be sent directly to the authorized adult(s) from Lawroom and may go to junk mail. Program Administrators are responsible for keeping track of training completion and certificates. Minors on Campus training must be complete for all authorized adults thirty (30) days prior to the program/camp start date.
The Program Administrator must certify via the Minors on Campus Registry compliance with all of the requirements of this Policy at least thirty (30) days prior to the scheduled date of program or camp. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation program or camp. All programs/camps are required to maintain a copy of the following forms in accordance with the Georgia University System record retention policy and make available for review by the Minors on Campus Coordinator:
1. A copy of the program’s licensing documentation as provided by the State of Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
a. As a general rule, athletic camps, science camps, clinics, after-school programs, enrichment classes and activities are regulated by the State of Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. These activities require either a license or an issued exemption from licensure.
b. Camps, programs and activities that are owned and operated by any department or agency of a state, county or municipal government are exempt.
c. Additional information on licensing requirements can be found on the Programs Serving Minors Resource Page as follows: http://www.usg.edu/audit/programs_serving_minors/state_licensing_requirements.
2. Successfully completed background check for all Authorized Adults
3. Signed Code of Conduct for each Authorized Adult (see below)
4. Facilities Use Agreement (contact Event Services, 229-333-5998 to make facilities arrangements)
5. Completion of Minors on Campus Training for all Authorized Adults
6. All minor participant forms must be kept by the program administrator for 3 years after the participant reaches the age of 18. These forms include, but are not limited to:
A. Parent/Guardian Permission to Participate and Waiver Form
B. Participant Conduct Agreement
C. Medical Information, Medicine Authorization & HIPPA Release Form
D. Pick-Up Authorization (if someone other than parent/guardian who signed item A will be picking up the minor from program activities).
Code of Conduct for Authorized Adults
Must be complete thirty (30) days prior to the program/camp start date
Authorized Adults shall not:
- Have one-on-one contact with minors. All activities involving minors must be supervised by at least two or more Authorized Adults or by their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) at all times, including entering into a minor’s room, bathroom facility or similar area.
- Have any direct electronic contact with minors without another adult being included in the communication.
- Engage in abusive conduct of any kind in the presence of, or towards, a minor.
- Strike, hit, administer corporal punishment, or touch in an inappropriate or illegal manner any minor.
- Transport minors to or from their homes, except as specifically authorized in writing by the minor’s parent or legal guardian, or in cases where the minor is the child of the driver. In no case shall the institution be liable for transportation to and from their homes.
- Make sexual materials in any form available to minors participating in programs or activities covered by this document or assist them in any way in gaining access to such materials.
- Share accommodations with minors other than their own children or children under their legal guardianship.
- Provide alcohol or illegal drugs to any minor. Authorized Adults shall not provide any over the counter medications or prescription drugs to any minor unless specifically authorized in writing by the parent or legal guardian as being required for the minor’s care or the minor’s emergency treatment, and such action is approved by the Program Administrator.
Expectations of Behavior & Consequences of Misconduct for Staff and Participants
Program participants and staff must abide by all University regulations and may be removed from the program for non-compliance with the following expectations. It is the responsibility of the Program Administrator to communicate these expectations to their staff and volunteers. If an allegation of inappropriate conduct has been made against an Authorized Adult participating in a program, they shall discontinue any further participation in program/activities covered by this Policy until such allegation has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Minor Coordinator.
- It is the responsibility of all Authorized Adults to inform program participants of safety and security procedures, University rules, program specific rules, and expectations of behavior.
- Participants are expected to be respectful of others. No violence, including sexual abuse or harassment, will be tolerated. Hazing of any kind is prohibited. Bullying including verbal, physical, and cyber bullying are prohibited.
- The inappropriate use of cameras, imaging, and digital devices is prohibited, including use of such devices in showers, restrooms, or other areas where privacy is expected by participants.
- The possession or use of alcohol and other drugs, fireworks, guns and other weapons is prohibited.
- Use of tobacco products is prohibited on all University property.
- Misuse or damage of University property is prohibited. Charges will be assessed against those participants who are responsible for damage or misuse of University property.
- No theft of property, regardless of owner, will be tolerated.
- The operation of a University motor vehicle by minors is prohibited while attending the program.
- The parking of staff and participant vehicles must be in accordance with University parking regulations.
- Rules and procedures governing when and under what circumstances participants may leave University property during the program must be made explicit by the Program Administrator and communicated in writing to program participants, staff and to the Minor Coordinator.
- Authorized Adults are expected to report immediately misconduct or violations of expected behavior to the Program Coordinator, who will then report such incidents to the Minor Coordinator.
- Any Authorized Adult or Program Staff or other Mandatory Reporter under Georgia law who has reasonable cause to believe that suspected child abuse has occurred, shall immediately report the suspected abuse to the University Police and the appropriate supervisor or Program Administrator who is able to take immediate action. (The USG further expects that any other USG employee, whether a Mandatory Reporter or not, will also appropriately report suspected child abuse.) The institution must ensure that the Division of Family and Children Services is notified of the suspected abuse immediately and in no case later than 24 hours after the Authorized Adult or Program Staff (or other reporter) first had reasonable cause to suspect the abuse.
- If the Authorized Adult believes that the Program Administrator and/or the Minor Coordinator may be involved in the allegations of assault or abuse, they shall inform University Police directly.
Guidelines for Program Administrators
Program Administrators should consider the following guidance when preparing their programs involving minors on campus. Both on-campus units and external groups planning activities with minors are expected to plan thoroughly and well in advance of their event, collaborating with the Minor Coordinator to ensure that their programs address safety and security issues. The following sections will assist you in proactively addressing safety concerns, medical issues, overnight housing needs, and transportation needs.
Depending on the nature of your program, the Minor Coordinator may, at their discretion, make some or all of the following items mandatory, rather than recommended.
Safety and Security Planning
The following procedures shall be followed to ensure adequate supervision of minors while they are on University property.
- Determine appropriate adult-to-student rations. Some of the factors to consider in determining "adequate supervision" are the number and age of participants, the activities involved, use of overnight housing if applicable, and age and experience of the Authorized Adults. Best practices recommend the following ratio of Authorized Adults to program participants. Program Administrators are strongly encouraged to follow these guidelines and to reflect the gender distribution of the participants:
- 5 years & younger: 1 staff for each 5 overnight campers and 1 staff for each 6 day campers
- 6–8 years: 1 staff for each 6 overnight campers, and 1 staff for each 8 day campers
- 9–14 years: 1 staff for each 8 overnight campers, and 1 staff for each 10 day campers
- 15–18 years: 1 staff for each 10 overnight campers, and 1 staff for each 12 day campers
2. Obtain all participant forms, including media and liability releases as part of the program registration process. All data gathered shall be confidential, is subject to records retention guidelines, and shall not be disclosed, except as provided by law.
3. Provide information to parent or legal guardian detailing the manner in which the participant can be contacted during the program. This information will include contact numbers for the Minor Coordinator and the University Police.
4. Design a sign-in and pick-up procedure that works for your event while ensuring you have adequate documentation of who is present, who is authorized to sign them out of the program and who/when they were released.
5. Plan how to notify the minor's parent/legal guardian in case of an emergency, including medical or behavioral problems, natural disasters, or other significant program disruptions. Authorized Adults with the program, as well as participants and their parents/legal guardians, must be advised of this procedure in writing prior to the participation of the minors in the program.
6. Follow appropriate University approved safety measures for laboratory and research work.
Injury, Illness, and Medication Protocols
- Prior to the beginning of the program, the Minor Coordinator shall arrange access to emergency medical services through the University Health Services, South Georgia Medical Center or other provider as appropriate for the size and complexity of the program, upon request of the Program Administrator.
- Medical care appropriate for the nature of the events, expected attendance and other variables should be discussed with the Director of University Health Services.
- Valdosta State University does not provide medical insurance to cover medical care for the minor.
- For sudden onset illness, participants should be seen by the on-duty staff during regular business hours of the University Health Center for triage and further medical care as appropriate.
- If prior approval for medicine distribution is requested by the Program Administrator and agreed to, the following minimum conditions will apply:
- The participant’s family provides the medicine in its original pharmacy container labeled with the participant’s name, medicine name, dosage and timing of consumption. Over-the-counter medications must be provided in their manufacturers’ container.
- The Program Administrator shall keep the medicine in a secure location, and at the appropriate time for distribution shall meet with the participant.
- The Program Administrator shall allow the participant to self-administer the appropriate dose as shown on the container.
- Any medicine which the participant cannot self-administer, must be stored and administered by a licensed healthcare professional associated with the campus or, if no one is available, arrangements must be made with another health care professional in advance of the participant’s arrival.
- Personal “epi” pens and inhalers may be carried by the participant during activities.
- Follow guidance from University Health Services concerning communicable diseases.
- The Program Administrator should consult with the Office of Social Equity which houses the University’s ADA Coordinator to discuss reasonable accommodations if necessary before the start of the program.
- Neither the Program Administrator or the Minor Coordinator or any other VSU employees shall provide medical advice to any of the participants including, but not limited to, the distribution of over the counter medications, prescription or other medical treatment
Housing for on-campus program is available according to space availability at prevailing camp rates. Housing should be arranged by the Program Administrator with the Office of Housing and Residence Life. Programs will be required to adopt and implement rules and regulations for proper supervision of minors in University housing, which includes the minimum requirements as set forth below.
- A written permission/release form signed by the parent/guardian for the minor to reside on campus.
- For residential programs at University facilities, each Program Administrator will provide a list of all program participants and a directory of program staff to the Minor Coordinator. A file will be kept by that Office and shared with and be available to the University Police Department. This list shall at minimum include participant's name, room assignment, gender, age, address, and the phone number(s) of parent or legal guardian, as well as emergency contact information.
- An age-appropriate curfew for the participants, but in no case shall it be later than midnight.
- In-room visitation will be restricted to participants of the same gender, prior to curfew.
- Guests of participants (other than a parent/legal guardian and other program participants) will necessitate a permission form signed by the parent/guardian. Those permitted guests are then restricted to visitation in the building lobby during approved hours specified by the program.
- Assignment of an Authorized Adult who is at least 21 years of age to be accessible to participants by residing in the housing unit. Additional Authorized Adults must be assigned to ensure one-on-one contact with minors does not occur and that supervision ratios are met.
- The program must comply with all security measures and procedures specified by the Office of Housing & Residence Life, University Police, and the Office of Environmental and Occupational Safety.
- Pre-enrollment visits for high school students housed overnight in residence halls must be registered with the Office of Housing and Residence Life.
- The Program must adhere to any additional rules and requirements provided in writing to the Program Administrator by the Office of Housing and Residence Life.
Programs shall make their own transportation arrangements. In the event that off campus trips, such as field trips, are part of a program sponsored by the University, the Program Administrator for the University department will coordinate with parents of the participants for transportation to and from the remote site or will request through the Office of Parking and Transportation for transportation. Upon approval by that Office, standard rental rates will apply. The request will be subject to availability and dependent on prioritized University need. External groups utilizing University facilities will need to make arrangements with outside transportation sources.
Third Party Facilities Use Agreement
Third parties using VSU Facilities must present a Facilities Use Agreement/License Agreement thirty (30) days prior to the program/camp start date. The Agreement must contractually agree to comply with VSU’s policy requirements for background checks, training and code of conduct for all employees and volunteers and must provide proof that they have minimum insurance requirements for approval. Third parties must also have a camp/activity plan or manual in place discussing safety, security, injury, illness, medication, housing, transportation and behavioral protocols. Third Parties are responsible for coordinating and completing these requirements and must keep records of all requirements and minor participants open for review by Valdosta State University
INSURANCE COVERAGE REQUIREMENTS:
Office of Legal Affairs
- West Hall Suite 1004
1500 N. Patterson St.
Valdosta, GA 31698
- Phone: 229.333.5351
- Fax: 229.333.7400