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Protecting Minors

The purpose of the Protecting Minors on Campus Training is to provide campus administrators, faculty, staff, students, volunteers and affiliates sponsoring youth programs and/or events on the University of Montana campus guidance in developing and employing policies, protocols and strategies to plan their program activities and provide a safe environment for their youth participants and employees.

University policy 401.2 requires criminal background investigations prior to employing permanent staff members, contract administrators, contract professionals, all faculty members, individuals on Letters of Appointment, and designated temporary staff members.  

Planning

Thoughtful planning is the most important tool to help protect participating youth and staff during your program activities.  Have an adequate plan in place that embrace good risk management.  Remember you are the risk owners responsible for addressing the risk issues.  Consider:

  • Risk Assessment – Identify your risks. What can go wrong?
  • Screening – Diligent selection procedures
  • Loss Control:  Best practices
  • Policies and Procedures – Clear and comprehensive
  • Training – Train all staff and volunteers
  • Insurance and Risk Transfer – Do you have the appropriate insurance for your risks?
  • Conduct Requirements – Outline behaviors, expectations, rules and disciplinary measures.

The Office of Legal Counsel can also assist with providing acknowledgement of risk and consent forms.  The Campus Risk Manager can assist with insurance and liability and risk reduction.

Recommended Strategies

  • Supervision & Rations
  • Interactions- Avoid one-on-one, Two deep leadership, always in view of others
  • Separate Accommodations – Overnight, Shower and bathroom facilities
  • Privacy – Respect privacy, Use of digital devices, policies, photo/videos & audio
  • Safety and Security – bullying/hazing, appropriate attire, releasing campers and access
  • Field Trips/Transpiration – rules, consent, adequate ratios, vehicle safety, & insurance
  • Appropriate Communication – Out-of-program communication, on-line,

Types and Signs of Child Abuse 

Physical, emotional, neglect and sexual

Child Molestation

  • Access
  • Privacy
  • Control
  • Child Protection Laws – Mandatory reporters and permissible reporting
  • Reporting, Response and Recovery Post Incident – communication plan, social media, crisis management, appropriate investigative process and debrief

8 Crucial Areas to Preventing and Detecting Abuse:

  1. Policies and Procedures -  Clear and Comprehensive
  2. Screening/ Selection – Quality screening of all employees & volunteers.  Personal interviews to include questions during screening about whether individual has ever been convicted for any crime, including sex-related or child abuse related offenses and at a minimum checking sexual predator registry.  Best practices include background checks.
  3. Training – All staff and volunteers should do Minor Protection Training.
  4. Monitor/Supervision – Quality monitoring & supervision of program staff and relationships with clients, both on and off premises.
  5. Consumer Participation – Institution can educate parents and guardians on program rules and expectations (hold parent/guardian orientation)
  6. Feedback Systems – Maintain a variety of feedback forums for staff, parents, volunteers, youth and others to be able to express concerns of potential molestation.  (At least one anonymous reporting mechanism can be helpful)
  7. Response – Respond effectively don’t down-play (first priority is to protect the child)
  8. Administrative Practices – Actively manage private spaces, third party requirements, media management plan, regularly review policies and lessons learned.

Background Checks

Reporting

  • Emergency:  911
  • UM Office of Public Safety: Non-Emergency (406) 243-6131 | Emergency (406) 243-4000
  • UM Office of Legal Counsel: (406) 243-4742
  • UM Risk Management:  (406) 243-2700

 Other Resources

Gallagher Higher Education Practices – Managing the Risk of Minors on Campus