Policy EI-PO12 Youth Program Policy


  1. Policy
  2. Definitions
  3. Relevant Federal and State Statutes
  4. Relevant UT System and UTA Policies, Procedures, and Forms
  5. Who Should Know
  6. UTA Officer(s) Responsible for Policy
  7. Dates Approved or Amended
  8. Contact Information compliance@uta.edu
  1. Policy

     

    Applicability

    Purpose:
    To promote the safety of minors participating in camps or programs on university premises or programs sponsored or supported by the University.

    It is the policy of The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) to provide oversight and training for camps and programs involving minors operated or sponsored by UTA, whether on or off the UTA campus. This includes all camps or programs covered by Texas Education Code, Chapter 51, Section 51.976, as well as any day camp, activity or University Interscholastic League (UIL) event sponsored by UTA. For example, a program that brings students under the age of 18 to campus for an overnight stay would be covered by this policy. A program in which parents leave children on campus to participate is covered by this policy. A program that involves elementary school students visiting campus with a teacher from their elementary school is not covered. Campus tours, which involve students visiting campus with parents or guardians to preview UTA programs, are not covered.

    This policy does not apply to university course-based academic service learning or research approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

    1. Authority

      The Office of the University Compliance exercises ultimate authority over youth program compliance, although day to day oversight may be under another department. Each program shall have a designated program director whom is responsible for ensuring policy compliance, for updating contact information, and for registration. The program director shall report to its governing Vice President through an appropriate organizational unit. Each organizational unit shall appoint an administrator who will be responsible for that unit’s youth programs. It is the responsibility of the organizational unit to which the program reports to monitor and to ensure such compliance with this policy.
    2. Presence of Minors on Campus

      The University reserves the right to condition, restrict, or deny access to university facilities by minors at its discretion and in compliance with applicable laws. Minors participating in a youth program are subject to all applicable university regulations while participating in a youth program, and may be asked to leave the campus/program if unable to comply or unable to conduct themselves in a responsible manner.
    3. Requirements for University-Sponsored Programs Involving Minors (Excluding UIL)

      Each youth program must comply with this policy, the Youth Program Guide, as well as any other applicable requirements of federal, state, or local law or regulation.

      Youth Program Eligibility
      The University requires all youth programs to be sponsored and controlled by a university college, school, unit, or department. Student organizations are not permitted to sponsor a youth program. Student organizations may participate in a youth program sponsored by a college, school, unit, or department.

      Program Registration (i.e., approval process)
      Each university academic and administrative unit sponsoring a youth program is required to register such program with the UTA youth program administrator or designee not later than thirty (30) days prior to the proposed commencement date of the youth program. No advertising, housing or dining arrangements can be made until the youth program is approved by the youth program administrator. To register a program, the program director must submit a completed Form CC-CO-F3 Request to Host a Camp/Conference for each program he/she plans to offer. Any changes to the program registration should be submitted as soon as is practicable.

      Communication Plan
      In the event of an emergency, each program must follow the guidelines in the Youth Program Guide and Camp Emergency Plan regarding notification of campers’ parents/legal guardians.

      The youth program director’s responsibilities are to:
      • provide designated individuals with contact information for parents/legal guardians of campers in the event of an emergency;
      • ensure the parents/legal guardians are provided with contact information to reach the camper while the youth program is in session; and
      • utilize the communication plan template provided by the youth program administrator.

      The Office of University Communications (OUC) is the primary point of contact for media inquiries. In the event of a crisis, all communication with external constituents, excluding parents, guardians and participants, should be coordinated with OUC.

      Medical Emergency Plan
      The camp director of each youth program must obtain a Consent to Treat form from each camper’s parent/legal guardian.

      Supervision Plan
      Each youth program must have a plan for adequate supervision taking into consideration the number and average age of campers, the program activity, and whether overnight accommodations are involved.
      • The supervision plan must specify the person having responsibility over all staff assisting with the youth program, the proposed ratio of campers to staff over 21, and provide a proposed breakdown of staff (employees, students, and volunteers).
      • Campers must be accompanied by staff during all transition times from one activity to the next.
      • Each youth program must have a minimum staff to camper ratio of the following (Taken from the American Camp Association Guidelines):
         
        Camper Age Number of Staff Overnight Campers Day Only Campers
        5 years and younger 1 N/A 6
        6-7 years 1 N/A 8
        8 years 1 6 8
        9-14 years 1 8 10
        15-18 years 1 10 12

        Minors must be at least 8 years old to attend an overnight camp.

        The supervision plan for any overnight youth program must also include:
        • specific curfews,
        • rules pertaining to visitors (i.e., visitors are not allowed to have visitors), and
        • no unsupervised free time
       

      Transportation Plan
      Each youth program must have an established procedure, which complies with the Youth Program Guide Book, for the safe pick-up and drop-off of campers, specifying times and locations, and assure that no camper will be released to any person other than his or her parent/legal guardian without specific written authorization.

       

      UTA’s youth protection program director must review and approve in advance any youth program which provides transportation of campers by staff. Staff are not permitted to use their personal or non-approved vehicles to transport campers under any circumstances, or be alone with a minor in a vehicle at any time.

       

      Youth Program Director Meetings
      All youth program directors or their designee are required to attend the UTA youth program director meetings held in March/April of each year. If a youth program director or their designee does not attend, he/she must contact University Compliance Services to schedule a separate meeting.

       

      Compliance with this Policy
      All youth program directors are required to follow this policy as well as the procedures included within the Youth Program Guide. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action taken by the employee’s supervisor and the Compliance, Accountability, Risk and Ethics Committee.

    4. Requirements for Staff
       

      Program directors must submit a Form CO-CC-F2 Campus Program Employee Listing a minimum of 10 business days prior to the start of the youth program, including the requested information for any university employee, student, parent/legal guardian, independent contractor, or other volunteer who will serve as staff in any youth program. All individuals on the form must meet the following requirements before they will be allowed to participate.

       

      Background Check
      Camp directors must ensure all staff undergo an annual (September 1- August 31) criminal background check. The check must be conducted and successfully cleared in accordance with UTA’s criminal background process, prior to the start of the youth program.

       

      Training
      Staff must complete the UTS Child Protection Training Curriculum. The curriculum includes two modules, The University of Texas System Child Protection Training with an examination; and the Supplemental Child Protection Training with an acknowledgment of completion. This training includes information and examination concerning warning signs of sexual abuse and child molestation. The training is provided by the University at no cost to staff. Staff must achieve a minimum score of 70% to pass the examination. Staff may repeat the course if necessary to achieve a passing score. Upon successful completion of the curriculum, the staff will receive a certificate of completion, which must be provided to the camp director.

       

      Staff must complete the curriculum every two years. If the staff is a new employee or volunteer, they must complete the training before the youth program starts.

       

      Volunteer Approval
      Youth program directors must assure that all volunteers complete a Notice of Voluntary Services Form CO-LS-F4. The form must be approved by the supervisor/department chair and the next level/manager/dean prior to sending the form to the department’s HR business partner for approval.

       

      No Unsupervised Access
      Any individual not considered staff (e.g. parent/guardian) must not have unsupervised access to campers.

       

      The Compliance Training Coordinator monitors completion of the criminal background checks, training and volunteer approval and provides regular updates to the youth program directors.

    5. Prohibited Conduct

      Staff must not engage in any behavior that could cause harm or be misinterpreted as possibly causing harm to campers. Prohibited conduct for staff includes, but is not limited to:
      • One-on-one contact with campers outside the presence of others.
      • Meeting with campers outside of established times for program activities.
      • Touching campers in a manner that a reasonable person could interpret as inappropriate.
      • Engaging in abusive conduct of any kind toward, or in the presence of, a camper, including but not limited to verbal abuse, striking, hitting, punching, poking, spanking, or restraining a camper.
      • Showering, bathing, or undressing with or in the presence of campers.
      • Using, possessing, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while working a youth program.
      • Having direct electronic communications with campers without another designated individual included in the communication.
      • Making available to campers sexual materials in any form, or assist them in any way in gaining access to such materials.
    6. Reporting Requirements
       

      Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect
      Under Texas law, if staff believe a child is being abused or neglected, staff are required to report it to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Reports may be made at any time to DFPS by phone at 1- 800-252-5400 or online at Texas Abuse Hotline. The hotline and website are available 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week. The University’s policy prohibits retaliation against good faith reporting of suspected abuse or neglect.

       

      UTA also requires that staff report any suspected abuse or neglect of campers to the Compliance and Ethics Officer and any sexual misconduct to the UTA Title IX Coordinator.

       

      If the youth program director is the accused, staff must immediately notify the Director of University Center Operations, the Executive Director of University Compliance Services, and the Vice President for Human Resources. The report to the State will be filed by the Director of University Center Operations.

       

      In an emergency, or in the event of a crime in progress, staff should always call 911 immediately.

  2. Definitions

     

    Camper: A minor (under age 18) who is attending a youth program. This definition does not include University enrolled students who are under the age of 18.

     

    Youth Program: Any program or camp held on University premises that offers recreational, athletic, religious, or educational activities to minors, or one that is sponsored or organized by the University, whether on or off campus. This excludes programs for University-enrolled students under the age of 18.

     

    Staff(s): Any person involved in a youth program who may have contact with a camper. Examples of staff include but are not limited to UTA employees, student workers, volunteers, and contracted employees.

     

    UIL Event(s) or Contest(s): UIL state office-sponsored programs that provide extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests for minors who are students at UIL member schools.

     

    Minor: An individual under the age of 18. For purposes of this policy, this definition does not include University-enrolled students under the age of 18.

     

    Program (Camp) Director: The University college, school, unit, or department employee who operates or supervises a campus youth program.

     

    Youth Program Administrator: The University employee responsible for the oversight of any camp or program involving minors held on University property or sponsored by the University. The Administrator or his/her designee verifies that all youth program employees and volunteers have a completed criminal background check on file and have completed the UTS Child Protection Training. The Administrator also monitors each camp or program to ensure that the Youth Program Policy is adhered to.

  3. Relevant Federal and State Statutes

     

    Jeanne Clery Act

    Texas Education Code, Chapter 51, Section 51.976

    Texas Education Code, Chapter 22, Sections 22.0831 – 22.0837

    Texas Education Code, Chapter 38, Section 38.0041

    Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Part 1, Chapter 265, Subchapter N, Rule § 265.403

  4. Relevant UT System and UTA Policies, Procedures, and Forms

     

    UT System Policy UTS124 - Criminal Background Checks

     

    The following can be found by entering the document title in the search bar on the University Policies, Procedures, and Forms page:

     

    UTA, HOP Policy HR-E-PO1 Criminal Background Checks

    UTA, HOP Policy EI-PO3 Child Protection Policy

    UTA, Form CO-CC-F3 Request to Host a Camp/Conference Form

    UTA, Form CO-CC-F2 Campus Program Employee Listing

     

    Other policies:

     

    Youth Program Guidebook

    Communication Plan Template

  5. Who Should Know

     

    This policy applies to all UTA employees, affiliates, volunteers, contractors, and visitors who are staff as defined by this policy.

  6. UTA Officer(s) Responsible for Policy

     

    Compliance and Ethics Officer

  7. Dates Approved or Amended

     

    October 21, 2019

  8. Contact Information

     

    All questions concerning this policy should be directed to the Compliance and Ethics Officer.