Officials share details on guidelines for programs involving children

Following the January announcement of a centralized policy that supports the health, wellness, safety and security of children who interact with the university, U-M officials took to campus to share policy specifics and gather feedback on implementation.

Standard Practice Guide Section 601.34, “Policy on Minors Involved in University Sponsored Programs or Programs Held in University Facilities,” requires all administrators, health care providers, faculty, staff, students and volunteers involved with minors on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn or Flint campuses, including the U-M Health System and U-M Athletics, to:

  • Register university-sponsored programs and activities involving children.
  • Follow the established code of conduct.
  • Submit to criminal background screening of all staff or volunteers.
  • Use university-provided templates for participant forms.
  • Agree to have staff and volunteers complete required training.
  • Adhere to all reporting obligations.

“Community response to the new guidelines has been positive with many welcoming the central support and additional resources available for children’s programing,” said Donica Thomas Varner, associate general counsel and co-chair of the steering committee for the policy.

Information sessions with more than a dozen campus groups identified areas of interest, including background checks and training, as well as concerns about how to apply the policy to unique programs and the need for additional administrative resources.

“We are taking great care to develop resources that will be clear, easy to use and compliment the ongoing efforts to create the best-possible experiences for everyone involved in our programs,” says Paul Moggach, director of Risk Management Services.

“That includes working through the complexities of background-screening for various groups and individuals,” added Kate Rychlinski, assistant director of Risk Management Services.

A website, which will host the program registry, is under development and will be available by June 1. At that time, programs will be required to register university-sponsored programs and conduct criminal background screenings. Template forms and training materials are being prepared and will be available by May of next year.

“At this point not all of the resources have been developed, but we are making progress. For now, our advice is to continue with existing procedures and follow the Code of Conduct outlined in the SPG,” Rychlinksi said.

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