Standard on Protection of Minors

Title

University of North Carolina 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. This Standard document outlines minimum requirements necessary for a Covered Program to conduct an activity that includes Minors regardless of location, in-person or virtual. These minimum requirements include mandatory background checks, Covered Program staff training requirements, and personal conduct expectations.

Scope of Applicability

University Community Members as well as outside Third Parties (including contractors) who are authorized to use University facilities, property, or technology must comply with this Standard.

All portions of this Standard apply to the protection of persons under the age of 18 participating in Covered Programs, with the exception of students who are enrolled at UNC-CH (“Enrolled Students”). UNC-CH Enrolled Students who are under the age of 18 are covered by University policies applicable to students and applicable State laws involving the protection of individuals under the age of 18. 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 independent contractors (including solo and Third Party contractors) who will have Direct Contact or Virtual 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 Minors Participating in Covered Programs

A. Camper Health Care Forms

Camper Health Care Forms are required for all minors participating in programs that are more than three (3) consecutive days, or overnight. Camper Health Care Forms must include allergies and all medications, including over the counter, taken by the minor while participating in a program or residing on campus. All medications will be collected by program staff at the time of check-in. Standard Camper Health Care Forms are also available on CampDoc and Ryzer registration systems.

B. Code of Conduct

All parents and Minors must sign a Code of Conduct that includes compliance with all University community standards and notice that the University reserves the right to remove the Minor from the Covered Program. Parents must provide the signed Code of Conduct to the Covered Program administrators no later than the start of the Covered Program.

II. 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 UNC-CH Protection of Minors Coordinator. Covered Programs include both daytime and overnight/residential activities including, but not limited to, athletic camps, science camps, academic camps, enrichment programs, virtual programs, and similar activities intended for the benefit of Minors.

Covered Programs must register using the Protection of Minors registration system in addition to any other registration systems used on campus. Registration must include the following information:

  • name and description of program,
  • staff names,
  • background check completion dates for staff,
  • training completion dates for staff,
  • notice of disclosure and sex offender registry check (when applicable), and
  • minor participant information
    • name,
    • date of birth,
    • home address, and
    • emergency contact information.

Covered Programs that fail to comply with these registration requirements will be suspended from hosting future programs until the Covered Program comes into compliance.

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 students. These programs must have plans in place for emergency events and provide Child Abuse Awareness and Reporting training for all staff.

No University department or Third Party may offer Covered Programs without first obtaining prior approval under the Policy on Protection of Minors and continuously complying with all of the related Standards and Procedures.

Every proposed Covered Program, including Student Organizations and Third Parties, must be sponsored by a University Department or Unit 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

1. Initial 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. This requirement applies to all University Community Members 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. Covered 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 member's start date with a Covered Program will satisfy this requirement.

2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 conduct an annual check of the state and national sex offender registries for all Covered Program Staff. For years in which a background check is being conducted on the Covered Staff member, a check of the state and national sex offender registries are conducted as part of the background check process.

Directors of Student Organizations must submit a list of all enrolled UNC-CH students to the UNC-CH Protection of Minors Coordinator who will check the state and national sex offender registries.

All Covered Program Staff must complete a notice of disclosure each year that a background check is not conducted. An annual notice of disclosure for enrolled UNC-CH students will be submitted electronically to the UNC-CH Protection of Minors Coordinator.

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 as appropriate.

3. 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”).

Student Organizations sponsored by a recognized national organization or Third Party can have background check conducted by that sponsoring entity. These background checks cannot be used by other programs in which a student may volunteer.

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

Background checks must include the following minimum elements:

Minimum Elements Required for Background Checks
Initial Background Check Subsequent Background Checks
Nationwide federal courts criminal convictions.
  • 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.
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 Covered Program Staff member has previously lived or worked. Criminal convictions in all states and counties where a Covered Program Staff member has previously lived or worked in the last seven (7) years.
  • 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.
A residential history check to confirm that a Covered Program Staff member has truthfully disclosed all prior cities and counties of residence in the past seven (7) years. Subsequent residential history checks will be conducted every year in which a background check is not being conducted on a Covered Staff member.
If the proposed Covered 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: To ensure compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Title VII, and N.C. House Bill 774, if proposed Covered Program Staff are found to have prior criminal convictions, the departments must contact the UNC-CH Employee & Management Relations Unit of OHR 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 (including Third Party Covered Programs) Staff member whose background check reveals prior criminal convictions that involve a sex offense (misedemeanor or felony), crimes against children (misdemeanor or felony), a serious violent crime involving assault or injury to others, and/or an Extensive Criminal History, must not be employed in a Covered Program in which there is contact with Minors. Proposed Covered Program Staff whose duties include driving and whose background checks reveal serious driving-related convictions (as determined by the HR Background Check Unit) may not be permitted to drive Minors as part of their duties.

C. Covered Program Staff Training Requirements

Each Covered Program, including Third Party Programs, must ensure 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 or Virtual 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:

D. Personal Conduct 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 and have another adult make random periodic checks.
  • Do not meet with Minors outside of established times for activities. Any exceptions to this provision must be approved by the Covered Program Director or Protection of Minors Office, requires prior written authorization from a parent/guardian of the involved Minor(s), and must include more than one Covered Program Staff member.
  • Do not invite Minors to your home or any other location. Any exceptions must require prior written authorization by the Covered Program Director, the Protection of Minors Office, and a parent/guardian of the involved Minor(s).
  • 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. Keep a record of all conversations.
  • 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 unless there is an educational or programmatic purpose and the content of the communication is consistent with the purpose of the Covered Program and it is through a Program sponsored media source. Keep a record of all correspondence.
  • 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 and documented.
  • 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 UNC-CH Protection of Minors 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.
  • Do not vape or use CBD-related products while working with Minors.
  • 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. Do not use personal vehicles unless approved by the Program Director.
  • 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 possess any weapons when interacting with Minors.
  • Staff must not give personal gifts to any Minor participants. A Covered Program is allowed to give awards and/or program-related items as long as there is an educational or programmatic purpose.

II. Additional Requirements for Covered Programs

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

Covered Programs whose Minors will be working in University laboratories must follow the UNC-CH Environment, Health and Safety's (“EHS”) High School Students and Minors in Laboratories Policy.

If applicable, athletic programs must report suspicions of abuse to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport.

Covered Programs must have plans and procedures to address any applicable situation where Minors’ safety or security could potentially be threatened. These situations include, but are not limited to:

  • swimming safety,
  • lifeguard supervision,
  • travel off premises,
  • severe weather,
  • armed intruder, and
  • pandemic prevention and response (when Mandated by the University).

These plans and procedures must meet standards set by the American Camp Association or the Protection of Minors Office.

Covered Programs must have a check-in/check-out policy and procedure that meets standards set by the American Camp Association or the Protection of Minors Office.

Covered Programs, whose Minor participants will be participating on multiple days, and/or more than six (6) hours in a day, must collect and retain immunization records in a secure manner recommended by the American Camp Association or Protection of Minors Office. Please see the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' "Immunizations for Children" website for a list of recommended immunizations and exemptions

Covered Programs, whose Minor participants will be participating on multiple days, and/or more than six (6) hours in a day must have plans and procedures to collect, store, and administer medications. EpiPens and asthma inhalers must remain with the Minor unless otherwise instructed by a parent/guardian. These plans and procedures must meet standards set by the American Camp Association or the Protection of Minors Office.

Training for Covered 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.

Covered Program Staff with programs of eight (8) or more Minor participants must prominently distinguish themselves for easy identification at all times when the Covered Program is operating. This can be accomplished by wearing Covered Program-issued lanyards, buttons, or T-shirts.

Minor participants in Covered Programs must not be housed overnight in the same room with UNC Students or other adults. Minors being housed overnight will have a minimum supervision ratio of:

Minimum Supervision Ratio for Overnight Housing
Age of Minors Supervision Ratio for Overnight Housing
5 years and younger 1 staff per 5 campers
6-8 years of age 1 staff per 6 campers
9-14 years of age 1 staff per 8 campers
15-18 years of age 1 staff per 10 campers

This applies to overnight only. Day ratios have higher minimums. Consult American Camp Association standards for additional information.

Incidents Involving a Minor

Covered Programs must report any suspected incident involving a Minor to the Protection of Minors Office within 24 hours, via:

Incidents involving Minors include, but are not limited to, maltreatment, medical, accident, mental health, bullying, or incidents in which the minor is a perpetrator.

Incidents Involving a Minor and a University Staff Member

All Programs must report any suspected incident involving a University staff member which violates Policy, Procedures, Standards, or is criminal in nature to the Protection of Minors Office within 24 hours via:

  • Email: protectionofminors@unc.edu
  • Phone: 919-843-8995

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: An in-person or virtual program or activity, a student organization, or a Third Party in which Minors participate that is sponsored by a University Department or Unit.

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.

Enrolled Student: Any individual enrolled at UNC-CH, regardless of age.

Extensive Criminal History: For the purposes of this Policy only. Defined term meaning a pattern of convictions over a period of time. For example, a prior criminal history that includes five (5) or more convictions within a three (3) year time span, or ten (10) or more convictions within a ten (10) year time span.

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”) and the UNC-CH Protection of Minors Coordinator, 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 or technology 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 UNC-CH Protection of Minors 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.

Violent Offense: Offense that inflicts injury on a juvenile by non-accidental means.

Virtual Contact: A mode of contact that includes the use of technology-audio and/or video to communicate or conduct a Covered Program with minors who are not physically present.

Related Requirements

External Regulations

  1. Covered Programs must have their own plans and procedures and training mechanisms that address the applicable “Pre-Camp Training Topics” identified by the American Camp Association.
  2. S.534, or "The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017."
    1. The law expands existing mandated reporting laws to all youth sport organizations that participate in international and interstate sporting events. Any adult who is authorized to interact with youth athletes will be required to report suspicions of abuse to the appropriate law enforcement agencies within 24 hours. Therefore, all employees and volunteers working with youth could be considered mandatory reporters under the federal act.
  3. There is an additional requirement to report suspicions to the US Center for Safe Sport if your organization is governed by a “National Governing Body” or “Paralympic Sports Organization”.
  4. N.C. General Statutes § 7B-301: Duty to report abuse, neglect, dependency, or death due to maltreatment
  5. N.C. General Statutes § 14-318.6: Failure to report crimes against juveniles; penalty
  6. N.C. General Statutes - Chapter 126, Article 14: Protection for Reporting Improper Government Activities
  7. N.C. House Bill 774/Session Law 2018-79

Consequences

Violations of this Policy, Standard or Procedure

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, Standard, or Procedure 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 UNC-CH Protection of Minors Coordinator, the Covered Program may also be banned from future use of University facilities.

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contact

Other Contacts

  • North Carolina Child Protective Services
  • Child Protective Services Division in the Orange County Department of Social Services:
    • Telephone: Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm, excluding holidays, call 919‑245‑2818.
    • Telephone: After hours and on weekends and holidays, contact Orange County Emergency Services at 919-732-5063 and ask to speak with the on-call CPS Social Worker.
    • In-person: You may also make a report in person during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm) at any Orange County DSS location.
    • Orange County Child Protective Services website
  • UNC-CH Police:
    • Telephone: 919-962-8100 or 919-962-3951. Those needing to use TTY/TDD feature can also dial 9-1-1.
    • UNC-CH Police website
  • UNC-CH Equal Opportunity and Compliance (“EOC”) Office:
  • UNC-CH Employee & Management Relations Unit of the Office of Human Resources:
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Details

Article ID: 131867
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:18 PM
Modified
Thu 5/5/22 5:10 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
04/20/2022 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Protection of Minors Coordinator
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
04/20/2022 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
04/20/2022 12:00 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
03/01/2023 12:00 AM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
04/14/2015 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Protection of Minors Office