Protection of Minors and Reporting Child Abuse
Policy Number: HR-73
Effective Date: June 2015
Last Revision: February 2020
Responsible Officer: Executive Vice President, Treasurer and COO
Drexel University is committed to providing a safe and secure environment. This is especially true for anyone under the age of 18 who attends the University or takes part in programs, activities, services or events, operated by the University or by external entities.
Accordingly, this policy provides requirements, guidelines and procedures, in accordance with all applicable state laws, for the protection and supervision of Minors who attend the University, and/or who participate in any University-sponsored Program, on or off campus, as well as any Programs that are held in University facilities or on University property operated by individuals who are not employed by the University and/or by external entities that are not affiliated with the University except by contract.
This policy applies to all Drexel University Employees (including those affiliated with a collective bargaining unit), Students, Volunteers, Non-Employee Associates, and Independent Contractors. "Drexel University" includes any of its subsidiaries and affiliates, including, but not limited to, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and Drexel University Online.
Additionally, it applies to persons affiliated with external entities as specified in this policy.
Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Department of Human Resources.
IV. ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT
The Executive Vice President, Treasurer and COO, is the Drexel University Official responsible for the administration of this policy.
A. Authorized Adult – A person, age 18 or older, paid or unpaid, who the program director/coordinator reasonably anticipates will have Direct Contact, Direct Volunteer Contact, or One-on-One Contact with a Minor (as defined by this policy), by reason of the person's employment, contractual duties or obligations, assignment, volunteer status or any other association with the University or program, subject to this policy.
- "Authorized Adult" includes, but is not limited to, Drexel University Employees, Students (graduate and undergraduate students), Volunteers, Non-Employee Associates, Independent Contractors and any persons affiliated with External Sponsors as specified in this policy.
- An Authorized Adult's role(s) may include, but are not limited to, positions as site managers, counselors, chaperones, coaches, physicians, medical assistants, nurses, instructors, and residential assistants. An Authorized Adult is considered to be a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse as defined by state law and described in this policy.
B. Child Abuse – Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing harm to a Minor, through physical, emotional, sexual or neglectful means, as defined by applicable state law, including, but not limited to any of the following:
- Causing bodily injury to a child through any act or failure to act.
- Causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act.
- Causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any act or failure to act, which includes possession or accessing of child pornography.
- Causing serious physical neglect of a child.
C. ChildLine – Pennsylvania's statewide toll-free hotline for reporting suspected or actual incidents of child abuse.
D. Direct Contact – The care, supervision, guidance or control of a Minor or routine interaction with a Minor. "Routine interaction" is defined as regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person's employment or volunteer responsibilities and will be determined largely on a case-by-case basis.
E. Direct Volunteer Contact – The care, supervision, guidance or control of a Minor and routine interaction with a Minor.
F. Drexel Sponsor – Any academic, administrative or athletic department, as well as any college, school, center or institute of Drexel University that offers and operates or gives approval to an external individual or entity that is responsible for a Program, Activity or Service involving Direct Contact with Minors on or off campus.
G. Employee – An individual employed by Drexel University or any of its subsidiaries and affiliates, including but not limited to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and Drexel University Online. Employees include Faculty Members, Professional Staff Members (including those affiliated with a collective bargaining unit), Student Workers and Temporary Staff.
H. External Sponsor – Any non-Drexel individual or entity, such as a community group, organization of any kind, agency or the like, that enters into an agreement, or other arrangement, with Drexel University to operate or participate in a program or activity involving Minors on or off campus.
I. Faculty – An individual employed by Drexel University in a tenured, tenure-track, non-tenured track or adjunct position who teaches at any college, school, center or institute in the University. A Faculty Member also is deemed to be exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.
J. Independent Contractor – An individual who is not an Employee of the University who provides a Program, Activity or Service to the University and who has or will have Direct Contact with a Minor.
K. Mandated Reporter – A person who is required to make a report of suspected child abuse. Under Pennsylvania law, Title 23 Pa. C. S. § 6311, a mandated reporter includes, but is not limited, to the following:
- A school employee;
- A person licensed or certified to practice in any health-related field;
- An individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of the individual's role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, is a person responsible for the child's welfare or has Direct Contact with children;
- A peace officer or law enforcement official.
L. Matriculated Student – A student who is enrolled in an institution of higher education and pursuing a program of study that results in a postsecondary credential, such as a certificate, diploma or degree.
M. Minor (or Child) – A person under eighteen (18) years of age. Minor and Child are used interchangeably in this policy.
N. Minors Coordinator – A member of the Human Resources Department, designated by the Senior Vice President of Human Resources, who is responsible for the following tasks, among others:
- Ensuring compliance with applicable federal, state and local child protective services laws, as well as University policies and procedures concerning interactions with Minors and reporting Child Abuse;
- Functioning as a centralized source for communicating information and addressing questions concerning issues about or relating to Minors;
- Serving as a liaison with the Office of General Counsel, Public Safety, other Drexel University Divisions/Departments and other individuals and external entities in connection with programs or activities involving Minors; and
- Providing or assisting with training on safe environment issues and mandatory reporting of child abuse requirements.
O. Non-Employee Associate – An individual who is not an Employee of Drexel University and will not become an Employee of the University in the foreseeable future, and who requires access to the University's resources in connection with services or work that the individual is doing at the University. A Non-Employee Associate may be a Volunteer or an Independent Contractor (or an employee of an Independent Contractor) as defined in this policy.
P. One-On-One Contact – A type of Direct Contact involving personal, unsupervised interaction between any individual, including but not limited to an Authorized Adult and a Minor without at least one other Authorized Adult, parent or legal guardian being present.
Q. Person Responsible for a Minor's Welfare – A person who provides permanent or temporary care, supervision, mental health diagnosis or treatment, training or control of a child in lieu of parental care, supervision and control.
R. Professional Staff Member – An individual employed in any non-faculty category by Drexel University, including an individual who is deemed to be either exempt or non-exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.
S. Program – For the purposes of this policy, "Program" is defined as a public or private educational, athletic or other pursuit in which Minors participate. The term includes activities, services and events that are part of the Program and includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Any program, activity, service or event involving Minors, whether happening on or off campus, sponsored, operated or offered by any academic unit (school, college, center, institute and academic department), administrative or athletic department of Drexel University;
- Any program, activity, service or event involving Minors, whether happening on or off campus, sponsored, operated or offered by individuals who are not employed by the University and/or by external entities that are not affiliated with the University except by contract, and that involve using University Facilities.
- Programs within the meaning of this policy include, but are not limited to: any youth camp or program, athletic camps, academic camps, day care or early learning programs/centers, recreational camps, individual lessons (e.g. tutoring, music lessons, etc.), workshops, competitions, clinics, conferences, credit and non-credit courses designed for minors only, pre-enrollment visits, outreach programs, enrichment programs, troop or club organization programs (e.g., Girl Scout or Boy Scout program/activity), community service projects, research studies and any program or activity that employs Minors.
- For purposes of registration only*, as described in this policy, the term "Program" does not include:
- A program, activity, service or event presented by Drexel and involving only employees of Drexel, where the only Minor participants are Matriculated Students who are not dually-enrolled in a secondary school (e.g., a high school);
- Any Drexel University courses offered to and attended only by Matriculated Students who are not dually enrolled in a secondary school (e.g., a high school);
- A program, activity, service or event that requires each Minor to be accompanied by his/her parent or legal guardian;
- A program, activity, service or event open to the general public that is not targeted strictly toward Minors (e.g., athletic events, plays, concerts, lectures and special events);
- Patient-care related activities relating to Minors.
*Note: Authorized Adults must still adhere to all applicable state laws and Drexel policy regarding Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse, Training and Background Checks.
- If there is any doubt or question as to whether a particular program, activity, service or event is subject to this policy, the Program Director/Coordinator must consult with the Minors Coordinator or, in that person's absence, the Office of the General Counsel.
T. Program Director/Coordinator – Any individual(s) designated by the sponsoring group who is responsible for the management and oversight of a Program, including identifying all Authorized Adults and ensuring the Program’s compliance with this policy.
U. Student – Any person currently enrolled, whether part-time or full-time, in undergraduate or graduate courses or programs. Undergraduate student denotes any Student who is primarily enrolled in undergraduate courses or program and has not obtained a bachelor's degree in such course of study or program. Graduate student denotes any Student who is primarily enrolled in graduate courses or program who is working toward a graduate degree or certification after having earned a bachelor's degree.
V. University Facilities – Buildings or properties owned, leased by or licensed to, or otherwise under the control of, Drexel University, including all campuses and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
W. Volunteer – Is defined as an unpaid individual representing or providing services to Drexel for community service, civic, charitable or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation for services rendered. Volunteers subject to this policy also include unpaid individuals who are responsible for the welfare of a Minor or who have Direct Contact with a Minor as defined in this policy.
VI. POLICY AND PROCEDURES
A. MANDATED REPORTING AND VOLUNTARY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
All Drexel University Employees, Volunteers, Non-Employee Associates, Students and Independent Contractors are considered mandated reporters of suspected (or actual) instances of child abuse if they have Direct Contact (or Direct Volunteer Contact) with Minors as required by law and this policy. Additionally, persons affiliated with External Sponsors are also considered mandated reporters of suspected (or actual) instances of child abuse if they have Direct Contact with Minors as required by law and this policy. Even if persons are not deemed to be mandated reporters under the law, all persons with suspicion or knowledge of child abuse are strongly encouraged to make a voluntary report of such suspected or actual child abuse in the manner describe in this policy.
If any person subject to this policy actually knows about, sees or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, the following steps must be followed:
- In Pennsylvania, call ChildLine at 800.932.0313 or access the approved on-line form at compass.state.pa.us/cwis and file the information electronically.
- After reporting to the child abuse hotline, call Drexel Public Safety/Police Department at 215.895.2222.
- Within 48 hours of the verbal report to ChildLine, a written report must be submitted to the investigating agency. If the child abuse report is filed electronically in Pennsylvania, this step is not required.
- Upon notification to Public Safety, the Minors Coordinator will work with the reporter to make sure that the written report is submitted as required.
- If a child is in imminent danger or the abuse is in progress, call 9-1-1 and report the circumstances immediately to law enforcement, and then follow the reporting steps listed above.
B. EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM
In addition to the required reporting procedures outlined in this policy, whenever the Minors Coordinator or Department of Public Safety receives a report or information that relates to actual or suspected child abuse, the Vice President of Public Safety will immediately assemble the Emergency Response Team. This team is comprised of the following persons (or their respective designees):
- University President
- General Counsel
- Vice President of Public Safety (Team Leader)
- Executive Vice President, Treasurer and COO
- Senior Vice President of University Communications
- Senior Vice President & CHRO
- Minors Coordinator
- Title IX Coordinator
- If needed (depending on nature of report): Provost, Dean of the College of Medicine, Senior Vice President, Student Success, etc.
Members of the Emergency Assessment Response Team will confirm that all required and appropriate steps have been and will be taken to report outside the University, to inform others at the University as necessary, and to ensure a thorough investigation of the incident. The Minors Coordinator will be responsible for ensuring complete and accurate documentation of all steps taken in response to a report of actual or suspected child abuse. If a report of child abuse is made, the Minors Coordinator will track the matter, including any criminal or civil case that may result, as it moves through the system and will continue to document its progress until concluded.
C. PROGRAM NOTICE AND REGISTRATION
- The Director/Coordinator of a Program, Activity, Service or Event covered by this policy, excluding credit and non-credit Drexel University courses, must complete the following steps in sufficient time to meet the applicable portions of this policy:
- Contact the Minors Coordinator to discuss the proposed program, activity, services or event;
- Review the information posted on the Human Resources website;
- Complete the Minors Program Registration form online and submit it to the Minors Coordinator in Human Resources as soon as possible once a Program is identified. If, under exigent circumstances, there is insufficient time to complete all Background Checks for the Program participants, see HR-52, the Background Checks Policy, for the relevant guidelines.
- Ensure that the formal agreements have been executed for the program, activity, service or event as specified in this policy.
- Ensure that each parent/guardian receives an Informed Consent, Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability Form [PDF] and retain a completed and signed copy for each Minor participant. This form should be retained by the Program Director/Coordinator in the Department or unit that is organizing the Program as directed in the Record Retention Policy.
- All Programs, activities, services and events involving Direct Contact with a Minor must be approved, in consultation with the Minors Coordinator, by the Dean or Department Head of the Drexel Sponsor that offers and operates, or gives approval to an External Sponsor individual or entity that is responsible for such a Program, activity, service or event. Every effort must be made to have a written agreement between Drexel University and External Sponsors for any Program on or off campus that has an affiliation (or connection) to Drexel, especially if it involves the use of University Facilities. In addition, Drexel requires that there be some kind of written agreement, or approval, from the parents/guardians of Minors who participate in a Program. The form or type of agreement(s) or other written documents that may be required will be determined upon consultation with the Minors Coordinator and various departments of the University, including, but not limited to, the Office of General Counsel, Risk Management, Human Resources, Student Affairs/Campus Engagement, Public Safety and Event Services.
- If there is a disagreement between the Minors Coordinator and the Dean/Department Head of the Program's Drexel Sponsor regarding whether the Program should be approved, the Registration Form will be forwarded to the Senior Vice President of Human Resources for review and final approval.
D. BACKGROUND CLEARANCES
All Drexel University Employees, Students, Volunteers and Non-Employee Associates who have Direct Contact (or Direct Volunteer Contact) with Minors shall be required to undergo the following background clearances: Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check, Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance and FBI Fingerprint Check as prescribed by state law and outlined in Drexel University Policy HR-52.
Additionally, External Sponsors as specified in this policy and Independent Contractors that have Direct Contact with Minors and provide Programs to the University, or with the agreement of the University, shall be required to submit the Certification of Background Checks and Training for External Sponsors Form [PDF] to the Minors Coordinator certifying that the Authorized Adults having Direct Contact with Minors are in full compliance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Laws, including background checks and training in the Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse and the Safe Environment/Protection of Minors.
Please refer to the procedures for obtaining background clearances required for Programs involving minors outlined in Drexel University Policy HR-52. No Employee, Volunteer, Non-Employee Associate, Independent Contractor or person affiliated with External Sponsors as specified in this policy will be permitted to have Direct Contact or One-on-One Contact with a Minor until the person's background check is completed, cleared and on file with Human Resources.
E. TRAINING REQUIREMENTS
- All Drexel University Employees (including Student Workers), Volunteers, and Non-Employee Associates are required to complete annual compliance training on safe environment issues and procedures for mandated reporting of child abuse. Any University Student whose academic pursuits, community service or extra-curricular activities would include Direct Contact (or Direct Volunteer Contact) with a Minor must also complete annual compliance training on safe environment issues and procedures for mandatory reporting of child abuse.
- The individuals listed above must contact the Minors Coordinator to arrange for Protection of Minors and Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse Training.
- New hires whose activities will involve Direct Contact with a Minor must complete this training within 30 days of hire date.
- Department Administrators, or their designees, will be responsible for maintaining a file for certificates of completion for proof of this training.
- Additionally, External Sponsors and Independent Contractors shall be required to submit the Certification of Background Checks and Training for External Sponsors Form [PDF] to the Minors Coordinator certifying completion of training on safe environment issues and procedures for mandatory reporting of child abuse within a one year period.
- Any Drexel University Faculty or Professional Staff Member who is required to maintain a professional license or certification in a profession that has Direct Contact with Minors (e.g., teacher, doctor, nurse, psychologist), under state law, must undergo training as follows:
- Licensed employees applying for a new license or certification issued by the licensing board must complete at least three (3) hours of child abuse recognition and reporting training approved by the PA Department of Human Services;
- Licensed employees renewing licenses must complete at least two (2) hours of approved child abuse recognition and report training approved by the PA Department of Human Services;
- Licensed employees will access the Approved Courses for Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting for Mandated Reporters [PDF] and upon completion will forward a copy of their certificate of completion to the Minors Coordinator.
F. MINORS IN RESEARCH LABORATORIES
Minors often seek and acquire opportunities to study or work at Drexel University and gain valuable knowledge and experience. Drexel recognizes both the importance of the educational and outreach missions of the University, and also the need to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all employees, students and visitors. The following guidelines pertain to the presence of Minors in all University-based research laboratory settings or other work areas where potentially hazardous materials or conditions exist.
- No individual under the age of 16 may enter a University laboratory unless approved by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, Risk Management and the Chair of the Department where the Program will take place.
- No individual between the ages of 16 and 18 may enter a laboratory or other work area with potentially hazardous conditions unless the Minor is:
- A University Faculty or Professional Staff Member or a matriculated and registered University Student; or
- Part of a group or educational Program approved in advance by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety and the Chair of the Department where the Program will take place and in consultation with the Minors Coordinator and Risk Management.
- Notwithstanding the foregoing, no individual under the age of 18 may work in the following laboratories or facilities:
- Any laboratory designated as Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3);
- Any laboratory where select agents or Class 1 explosives are used or stored.
- Notwithstanding the foregoing, no individual under the age of 18 may work with any of the following materials or equipment:
- Radioactive materials, radiation generating equipment (X-rays), or Lasers
- Acutely toxic chemicals
- DEA Scheduled Drugs
- Pyrophoric chemicals
- Hazardous gases
- High Voltage Equipment
- Whenever a Faculty or Professional Staff Member or Student wishes to bring a Minor into a Drexel laboratory for a program, the Faculty or Professional Staff Member or Student must:
- Contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety and discuss the proposal to bring a minor into a Drexel laboratory;
- Submit a completed Request for Minor in Research Laboratory Form [PDF] to the Chair of the Department for review and approval. The Chair must review the request for (1) educational appropriateness and (2) that the proposed activity represents an approved educational program of the Department;
- Return the approved Request for Minor in Research Laboratory Form to the Department of Environmental Health and Safety and Risk Management. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety and Risk Management will then evaluate the request and notify the requesting Faculty, Professional Staff Member or Student of the status of the request.
- Complete the Minors Program Registration form online and submit it to the Minors Coordinator in the Human Resources Department as soon as possible once a Program is identified.
- Review these policies and procedures and discuss them with all Minors who may be working in the laboratory.
- Provide and document hazard specific safety training with the Minor as approved by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.
- Provide personal protective equipment, specific for any hazard, with instructions for proper use and disposal.
- Ensure the Minor is supervised at all times while in the facility and never left alone.
- Ensure the laboratory/facility is in full compliance with all applicable University safety policies and regulations.
VII. EFFECTS OF NON-COMPLIANCE
A. VIOLATIONS OF STATE LAW
- Persons who willfully violate provisions of a State's Child Protective Services Law may be prosecuted and subject to civil and criminal penalties, including fines and incarceration.
- In Pennsylvania, the penalties for a mandated reporter who willfully fails to report child abuse range from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a felony of the second degree.
- In Pennsylvania, the maximum penalty for a misdemeanor of the second degree it is $5,000 and/or two years in prison. For a felony of the second degree the maximum penalty is $25,000 and/or ten years on prison.
B. VIOLATIONS OF DREXEL POLICY
- In addition to any other penalties as determined by law, a violation of this policy could result in discipline up to and including termination or expulsion, including loss of tenure, if applicable.
- Notwithstanding anything to the contrary stated in this section of the policy, nothing herein is intended to alter the existing at-will status of any Professional Staff Member. Drexel University at all times retains the right to terminate any Professional Staff Member at any time for any lawful reason, or for no reason at all.
VIII. BEST PRACTICES FOR INTERACTING WITH MINORS IN UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS
Certain guiding principles must be applied in all interactions with a Minor. The following are best practices for creating a safe environment for Minors in University Programs:
- Avoid One-on-One contact as much as possible, as the situation allows, and observe the "Rule of Three" – try to have at least two adults or two children in all interactions with Minors.
- Minors who are not matriculated University students must be supervised at all times by an Authorized Adult while on campus or off campus.
- Understand your responsibility to safeguard and protect Minors.
- Avoid any conduct which would lead a reasonable person to question your motivation and intentions.
- Work with Minors in an open and transparent way.
- Apply accepted professional standards when working with Minors.
- Prohibiting adults who are not associated with the program from access to Minors.
- Monitor potential risk areas (locker rooms, changing rooms, rooms without windows, areas of low visibility) and ensure visibility in areas where the Program takes place - remove obstructions from doors and windows.
- Keep unused rooms locked and secured.
- If necessary at all, keep e-mail/social networking strictly professional.
- Minors should never be transported in a personal vehicle by University Faculty, Professional Staff, Volunteer, or other person hired or retained by the University in connection with a Program.
- There are also certain actions or situations to avoid when interacting with a Minor, including, but not limited to the following:
- Holding an older child in your lap.
- Inviting youth to spend the night.
- Repeatedly bumping/brushing against a child.
- Inappropriate hugging
- Making sexually suggestive comments to a child.
- Pennsylvania law expressly prohibits the photographing, filming, and videotaping of a sexual act involving a Minor, the dissemination of child pornography materials, and the voluntary viewing or possession of child pornography.
- Ratio For Adequate Supervision – Authorized Adults to Minors: Adequate supervision must be in place to ensure the safety and security of Minors involved in any Program. Drexel Sponsors are strongly encouraged to use the following ratios of Authorized Adults to Minors as recommended by "Managing the Risk of Minors on Campus", Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (2012), as a guideline in staffing Programs, excluding credit and non-credit Drexel University courses for matriculated Drexel students. These ratios should reflect the gender distribution of the participants and meet the following recommended standards:
- Standards for resident (overnight) programs/activities/events are:
- One Authorized Adult for every five Minors ages 4 and 5.
- One Authorized Adult for every six Minors ages 6 to 8.
- One Authorized Adult for every eight Minors ages 9 to 14.
- One Authorized Adult for every 10 Minors ages 15 to 17.
- Standards for day programs/activities/events are:
- One Authorized Adult for every six Minors ages 4 and 5.
- One Authorized Adult for every eight Minors ages 6 to 8.
- One Authorized Adult for every 10 Minors ages 9 to 14.
- One Authorized Adult for every 12 Minors ages 15 to 17.
Minors Program Registration Form [Online]
Certification of Background Checks and Training for External Sponsors [PDF]
Request for Minor in Research Laboratory [PDF]
Informed Consent, Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability Form [PDF]
X. SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURCE LINKS
Keep Kids Safe PA – is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's website designed to serve as the hub for information related to critical components impacting child protection.
Child Welfare Information Gateway – is a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, designed to provide access to print and electronic publications, websites, databases, and online learning tools for improving child welfare practice, including resources that can be shared with families.
Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (PA C.S. Title 23, Chapter 63)
Identification of Child Abuse & Neglect – A key to reporting child abuse and neglect is being able to recognize common indicators. Find factsheets, reference books, and research on definitions, signs, and symptoms of different types of child maltreatment.
Protection of Minors Resource Page – Drexel University Department of Human Resources website for valuable information and additional resources for ensuring a safe environment for minors associated with the University.
XI. RELATED POLICIES
Background Checks (HR-52)
Code of Conduct (CPO-1)
Reporting Allegations (CPO-4)
Acceptable Use Policy (IT-1)