Why was this Policy created?
This Policy updates current guidelines and procedures and aligns with the requirements of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents Policy 12.9. The Policy also reflects the University’s ongoing commitment to providing a safe and healthy environment for minors.
As a potential Program Administrator, how do I get started?
First, discuss the potential program/activity with your Department Head/Dean/Vice-President. After you’ve received initial approval to proceed, additional resources, including a checklist on how to comply with the Policy, can be found under the Resources section on this site. Please work closely with your department/unit administration throughout the planning process.
Will implementation of the Policy require additional staff responsibility or administrative resources?
No, it should not. The Policy builds on work already in place at the University. It is intended to enhance safety and provide additional support and resources—not create barriers. Sample forms and additional resources to facilitate compliance can be found under Resources section.
Who should I contact if I still have questions about this Policy or procedures?
After checking the resource section and the FAQs for your issue, email compliance.
What type of program/activity is covered under this Policy?
Any program/activity that includes the care, custody, control of a minor, and is:
What are examples of commonly covered programs/activities?
How do I determine if my program/activity falls under the Policy?
If the answer to 1 and 2 is YES, then your program/activity falls under the Policy unless it meets one of the stated exceptions below. This includes one-time events or visits.
What are the exceptions?
The Policy does not apply to the following:
Regardless of Policy applicability, programs/activities are expected to have procedures in place to ensure best practices are followed.
Do school field trips fall under the Policy?
Non-residential field trips where the minor is under the direct supervision of responsible adults from its school district or organization and which do not involve overnight lodging are not covered by the Policy. In that situation, the care, custody, and control of the minor does not pass to the University and the school district or organization remains responsible for child protection training and background checks.
Do I have to seek approval under the Policy if a school/teacher contacts me about bringing minors on campus for a program?
If a school district or organization arranges the program/activity and the teacher or responsible adult maintains physical presence and custodial responsibility at all times, then the Policy does not apply. The school district has care, custody, and control of the minor and is responsible for child protection training and background checks.
If parents/guardians are required to be present at all times during the program/activity, does this Policy still apply?
This Policy does not apply if parents/guardians or other responsible adult will be present at all times and maintain care, custody, and control of the minor.
What if a child wants to work with me in my lab this summer?
Please see the Minors in the Lab program and the applicable policy.
Are outside groups utilizing University facilities subject to this Policy?
Yes. The Policy applies to all programs/activities on University property, whether University-sponsored or produced by a third party.
Are University students and volunteers subject to the training and background check requirements of the policy?
Yes. All program staff, including students and volunteers, must complete the training and background check requirements.
Are student organizations permitted to host a program/activity?
Yes, subject to the requirements of this Policy and any additional rules, regulations, or guidelines required by Student Affairs.
Are guests such as lecturers, speakers, etc. required to undergo a background check and training?
If the guest is simply speaking to a group, the program staff or volunteers will maintain care, custody, and control, and the guest does not have unsupervised access to minors, then a background check and training are not required.
Do outside groups using University facilities have to meet the same standards as University-sponsored programs?
Yes. Outside groups must comply with the same standards and expectations as University-sponsored programs.
What is the state law regarding child abuse reporting?
O.C.G.A. §19-7-5 (https://oca.georgia.gov/mandated-reporting).
What are the reporting obligations of program staff and volunteers under the Policy?
Any program staff or volunteer who has reasonable cause to believe that child abuse has occurred, must immediately report the suspected abuse to:
How quickly must I report?
Program staff and volunteers should report immediately, but in no case later than 24 hours after first developing reasonable cause to suspect abuse.
How do I make a report?
Calling AU Police ensures that the University is notified of any incident even when programs/activities are not on main campus or when they do not occur during normal business hours.
How do I determine if I need to make a report?
Do not attempt to investigate a matter further or gather additional information before reporting. If child abuse is in any way suspected, report immediately. As trained professionals, AU Police and DFCS officials will decide whether further action is required.
Who is responsible for registering a program/activity?
The Program Administrator should register the program. Programs can be registered under the Program Registration link.
How far in advance must a program/activity be registered?
Programs/activities should be registered at least 60 days in advance. In all cases, a program/activity may not be held unless it is registered and approved by CERM prior to the start date. Annual registration is required.
Do outside parties utilizing University facilities need to register?
Yes. It is important for the University to have a central record of all programs/activities occurring at University facilities as well as 24-hour contact information for the Program Administrator.
What are the requirements for outside groups wishing to utilize University facilities?
Outside groups must complete an approved Facilities Use agreement, which includes a certification that they have performed background checks and agree to comply with the requirements of the Policy.
How is the Policy enforced?
Each University Dean, Director, Vice President and Department Chair, as applicable, has responsibility for ensuring that their units implement the Policy.
CERM reserves the right to audit programs at random to ensure each program is meeting the standards set in the policy.
Outside groups who violate the Policy may be removed or barred from University facilities.
Who maintains program/activity paperwork?
Copies of all forms should be kept by Program Administrators through the duration of the program/activity for quick reference. Thereafter, records should be kept in accordance with the Policy’s Records retention requirements.
Program Administrators should work with their Dean/Director/Vice-President to figure out who is best positioned to be responsible for maintaining relevant documentation.
Where are forms supposed to be kept and for how long?
Consult with your Dean/Director/Vice President to determine where documentation should be kept. Records pertaining to minors must be retained for a period of three years after the minor reaches the age of eighteen. Records pertaining to program/activity staff must be retained for five years.
Where can I find guidance on operating my program/activity in compliance with this Policy?
A checklist on how to comply with the Policy can be found at Resources. While this checklist does not need to be submitted to CERM as part of the registration, it is expected that it is kept in the program/activity files.
What is the appropriate ratio of program staff/volunteers to participants?
The appropriate supervision ratio varies depending on the age of the participants, the nature of the program, and whether the program has an overnight component. Please refer to the American Camp Association guidelines for advisable supervision ratios (www.acacamps.org).
What behavior is expected under a program/activity Code of Conduct?
A complete explanation of expected staff/volunteer behavior is available on the Staff Code of Conduct and the USG Code of Conduct under the Resources section. Minor participants should also abide by a Code of Conduct, a sample of which is also available at Resources.
What is the Two-Adult rule?
Generally, at least two program staff or volunteers should always be present with a minor. Approved* “one-on-one interactions” may only take place in open, well-illuminated spaces or rooms observable by other adults. If internship interactions take place in labs or offices that other people can access or observe, and other people are in and out of, then approval* may be granted on a case-by-case basis.
*Approval must be granted by CERM.
Please consult with the Augusta University Department of Environmental Health and Safety to obtain approval to have minors in a laboratory setting. More Information >>