New online resource for programs involving children at U-M

A new website promoting the health, safety and security of children launched this week as a resource for faculty, staff, students and volunteers working with minors on and off the U-M campuses.

Children on Campus” provides information to assist programs in fulfilling the requirements outlined in the university’s “Policy on Minors Involved in University Sponsored Programs or Programs Held in University Facilities (SPG 601.34).”

A key component of the website is the program registry that allows individuals, including parents, to view a list of university-sponsored programs that have met all of the policy requirements. Additional resources and comprehensive training materials are being developed, and will be added to the website in the coming months.

Starting on June 1, program administrators for university-sponsored programs are directed to register their programs at least 60 days before their start date to allow sufficient time to meet remaining requirements.

Also starting on June 1, U-M program administrators must request criminal background screenings via the website for all authorized adults, including faculty, staff, students and volunteers, working with children and teens.

The human resources office on each campus will administer the background screenings following the same process used for new employee, generally requiring two weeks to complete. The university will cover the costs of requested background screenings.

“Children have enjoyed visiting our campuses for years as a result of excellent best practices and procedures in place at the unit level,” said Kate Rychlinski, assistant director of Risk Management Services.

“We’ve collected this knowledge and are creating a set of tools and resources on the website to ensure as a community we are consistent in how the institution and its representatives interact with children to run successful programs.”

Training materials will be available by the end of the year to guide campus representatives on a variety of topics, including appropriate conduct, first-aid and medication management, proper disciplinary procedures, and detecting and reporting abuse or neglect.

“We are designing the tools and training materials to be easy to use and take the guesswork out of how to address all areas of the policy including, criminal background screening and consistent reporting obligations,” added Rychilinski.

“For example, quick checklists for both university-sponsored and non-university sponsored programs allow individuals to evaluate current program practices, and determine components they need to add or adjust to meet university expectations.”

Under the policy, all administrators, health care providers, faculty, staff, students and volunteers involved with non-enrolled minors on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn or Flint campuses, including the U-M Health System and U-M Athletics, are required to:

  • Register university-sponsored programs and activities involving children.
  • Follow the established code of conduct.
  • Submit to criminal background screening of all staff and volunteers every two years.
  • Use university-provided templates for participant forms, beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
  • Agree to have staff and volunteers complete required training, beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
  • Adhere to all reporting obligations.

A steering committee conducted months of in-depth research for the creation and preparation of the policy, and engaged dozens of faculty and staff who administer programs for children on a daily basis.

Individuals involved with children and teen programing are encouraged to visit the website often as resources will continue to be added as they become available. All training materials will be available by the end of this year.

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