Protection of Children Policy

Policy Statement

The University of Evansville is committed to the safety and well-being of its community including Children (individuals under 18 years of age). For purposes of this Policy, a Program is any program, event, or activity that involves Children and either: 1) occurs on University controlled property, or 2) is University sponsored and off campus. The University expects all members of the University community to adhere to and act in accordance with this Policy.

Reason for Policy

The University offers Programs that Children attend and in which they participate. The University also allows non-University affiliated Programs to use University facilities for Programs involving Children. The Policy addresses the protection and safety of Children in these Programs; establishes guidelines and procedures to promote the protections of Children; describes protocols for reporting known or suspected abuse or neglect of Children; and includes specific protections for Children as required by Indiana law.

Who is governed by this Policy?

All students, employees, alumni, independent contractors, vendors, volunteers as well as all visitors and guests of the University of Evansville (hereinafter referred to as “University Community Members”), who are participating in any University Program.

Policy

University Community Members interact with Children in a variety of ways, including as prospective and enrolled students, employees, interns, visitors and participants in Programs, activities, or research. These interactions may occur at any of the University’s operations in the United States, including the Stone Family Center for Health Sciences or during any University sponsored Program off campus. University Community Members who engage in these interactions with Children must be diligent in protecting their safety and must report any known or suspected abuse or neglect in accordance with this Policy.

Faculty and staff working with non-University individuals and organizations that use University facilities for Programs involving Children are responsible for making those individuals and organizations aware of this Policy. Non-University affiliated Programs that use University facilities for Programs involving Children are required to comply with this Policy.

Definitions

  • Child: any individual under the age of 18.
  • Abuse or Neglect of Children: any act or failure to act that results in physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act that presents an imminent risk of serious harm to a Child.
  • Physical abuse is non-accidental physical harm or injury. Examples of physical abuse include shaking, burning, hitting, smacking, choking, kicking, smothering and/or cutting. Spanking and paddling, if considered within reason and does not leave an injury, does not constitute physical abuse.
  • Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that impairs a Child’s psychological or intellectual functioning or emotional development. Examples of emotional abuse include demeaning language, name calling and/or threatening violence.
  • Sexual abuse of a child is conduct by an individual to engage in or attempt to engage in a sexual act or sexual contact with that Child, cause or attempt to cause that child to engage in sexually explicit conduct, or expose that Child to sexually explicit conduct.
  • Neglect is the failure of a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for a Child to provide for the basic physical, medical, educational, or emotional needs of the Child.
  • Authorized Adult: individuals age 18 and older who have completed the requirements set forth in this Policy to interact with Children.
  • Criminal Background Screening: at a minimum will check for drug distribution, felony drug possession, sexual offenses, criminal violence, abuse or endangerment, murder, and kidnapping.
  • Child Protection Training: an in-person or online training that at a minimum addresses the following: signs and symptoms of Child Abuse and Neglect, indications of abusive behaviors by perpetrators, and reporting responsibilities of parties who suspect Child Abuse or Neglect has occurred.
  • Program: any program, event, or activity that involves Children and either: 1) occurs on University controlled property, or 2) is University sponsored and off campus Children.
  • Program Administrator: a Program’s designated individual who is required to maintain appropriate documentation and ensure that the Program is adequately staffed by Authorized Adults. The Program Administrator is the point of contact between the University and the Program.

Program and Program Administrator

The Program Administrator must register their Program with the University by submitting a report to the University’s Office of Administrative Services no less than 30 days before the Program is to take place. The report must include:

  1. The purpose of the Program,
  2. The number of Children in the Program,
  3. The campus facilities that will be used,
  4. A list of Authorized Adults who will be working with the Children in the Program, and
  5. Liability and emergency contact forms.

Children may be subjected to disciplinary actions should they fail to abide by campus and/or Program policies. All discipline should be addressed by the Program Administrator. The Program Administrator will implement best practices when determining the most appropriate discipline strategy. Under no circumstances is corporal punishment allowed when addressing a disciplinary issue. Program dismissal and forfeiture of Program fees may be used in disciplining Children. The Program Administrator will keep documentation records of all discipline addressed in the Program.

If a Program or Program Administrator fails to abide by the guidelines set out in this Policy, the University reserves the right to revoke the Program’s right to utilize University facilities.

Parents or Guardians of Children attending a Program will be required to complete, sign, and submit a liability waiver and emergency contact form to the Program Administrator before participation in the Program. Copies of the completed waivers and emergency contact forms will be maintained by the Program Administrator. Children will not be allowed to participate in a Program if both the waiver and emergency contact form are not filed with the Program Administrator.

Authorized Adults

Authorized Adults are individuals over the age of 18 who have completed the requirements set forth in this Policy to interact with Children. Authorized Adults include: 1) faculty, staff, students, and volunteers representing the University while working with Children, and 2) individuals with non-University affiliated Programs utilizing University facilities to host a Program for Children. Individuals who are not Authorized Adults may not have contact with Children in any capacity at the University.

All Authorized Adults are required to submit to a Criminal Background Screening. Any history of the offenses listed in the Criminal Background Screening definition will disqualify the individual from being an Authorized Adult for the University. If at any time after a Criminal Background Screening has been completed, the Authorized Adult is charged or convicted of any of the aforementioned crimes, they must immediately share that information with the Program Administrator, who will then notify the University of the charge or conviction. Failure to make the University aware of charges or convictions may result in disciplinary action, including the immediate revocation of Authorized Adult status. If an Authorized Adult has submitted to a Criminal Background Screening for University purposes (i.e. employment, clinicals, internships, etc.) a new Criminal Background Screening is not required, provided the previous Criminal Background Screening meets the definition as defined in this Policy. University affiliated Programs must utilize on-campus processes for Criminal Background Screening:

  • UE Students will use the Office of Administrative Services process for Criminal Background Screening.
  • UE employees will utilize the Office of Human Resources process for Criminal Background Screening.

For non-University affiliated Programs, the Program will not allow any adult to have direct contact with Child who has:

  • Not completed a Criminal Background Screening, or
  • Adverse results in their Criminal Background Screening as defined in this Policy.

To satisfy the Criminal Background Screening requirement, a non-University affiliated Authorized Adult may provide a recent (two years or less) Criminal Background Screening to the Program Administrator. If the individual cannot provide this, they will be required to submit to a Criminal Background Screening through the non-University affiliated Program. Fees incurred through this check will be the responsibility of the individual or non-University affiliated Program. Programs that refuse to operate under the University’s Policy guidelines will not be allowed to utilize University facilities. Upon request, the Program Administrator will provide the University with documentation regarding the results of Criminal Background Screenings pursuant to the written consent of the Authorized Adult. The University may reject anyone if no Criminal Background Screening is provided.

Authorized Adults who are UE students, employees, or volunteers are also required to complete Child Protection Training through the University. Non-University affiliated Programs utilizing University facilities to host Programs for Children are required to provide Child Protection Training to their Authorized Adults. Authorized Adults who have received training will be required to certify, in writing, that they have completed the training, a copy of which will be maintained by the Program Administrator and the Office of Administrative Services. One copy of this agreement shall be retained by the Program Administrator (the individual who is responsible for the Program involving Children). A second copy shall be retained with the Office of Administrative Services. After the initial training, the Authorized Adult will be required to be retrained when a policy is changed or every two years. The Program Administrator of a non-University affiliated Program will provide the University with access to the Child Protection Training they offer upon request. If the Program Administrator of a non-University affiliated Program does not have access to suitable Child Protection Training, the University will provide a training module to the Program Administrator.

Authorized Adults will adhere to the following standards of ethics and behaviors when working with Children:

  • Only interact with Children in approved Program settings. Unless an Authorized Adult is the parent or guardian of a Child, or the Authorized Adult is acting in a professional capacity such as health care provider or mental health provider which mandate confidentiality, the Authorized Adult should never be in a one-on-one situation with a Child.
  • Report any suspicions of child abuse and/or neglect. See Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting section of the Policy.
  • May not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while working with Children.
  • May not provide Children with alcohol or drugs.
  • May not have inappropriate sexual conversations with Children.
  • May not contact Children for any reason not related to the Program.
  • May not text, email, or utilize social media to contact Children, unless it is explicitly related to educational or Programming purpose.
  • May not invite a Child into the Authorized Adult’s home.
  • May not transport a Child unless it is an explicit responsibility related to the Program and only if written consent is given by a parent or guardian.
  • Maintain safe and appropriate Authorized Adult to Children ratios (see below).
  • May not leave Children in the care of someone who is not an Authorized Adult.
  • May not shower, undress, or bathe in the presence of Children.
  • May not share a bed with a Child.
Appropriate Ratios of Authorized Adult to Children
Ages Ratio for Overnight Program Ratio for Day Program
6-8 1:6 1:8
9-13 1:8 1:10
14-18 1:10 1:12

Failure to abide by these standards may result in termination of the Program, revocation of Authorized Adult status, legal action, termination from employment and/or expulsion from the University, or other sanctions as determined by the University.

Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting

Indiana statute (IC 31-33-5) requires that any adult who suspects that Child Abuse or Neglect has taken place is required to report the Child Abuse or Neglect to the proper authorities. Failure to report Child Abuse or Neglect is classified as a Class B misdemeanor and can result in a $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. Anyone over the age of 18 who has reason to believe, or has a reasonable suspicion, that a child has been abused or neglected is mandated to make a report. Reasonable suspicion means that an individual of similar training would reach the same conclusion regarding whether there is the possibility of abuse. Those who are unsure should always err on the side of reporting. The individual is not required to investigate the report.

If an Authorized Adult suspects that Child abuse or neglect has occurred, he or she must take the following steps:

  1. If the Child is in imminent danger, the Authorized Adult should immediately alert local law enforcement authorities by dialing 911 or 812-436-1896 (Evansville Police Department).
    1. If there is no imminent danger, the Authorized Adult must immediately call the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556. While reports may be done anonymously, the University encourages Authorized Adults to provide contact information for follow-up purposes. The Authorized Adult should provide the hotline with as much information as possible, including:
      • Child’s Name
      • Child’s parent/guardian name
      • Child’s contact information
      • Details of abuse or neglect incident
  2. Alert the Program Administrator. The Program Administrator will report the incident to the University’s Office of Institutional Equity. If the suspected abuser is an Authorized Adult, the Program Administrator will immediately revoke the individual’s access to Children.
  3. Document the report. The report will remain on file with the Program Administrator.

If an investigation into abuse or neglect allegations is pursed by the Department of Children Services or Law Enforcement, the Authorized Adult is expected to comply with these agencies’ requests for information.

Any member of University’s community who provides knowingly false information or who refuses to cooperate in an investigation related to this Policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, suspension, termination, removal from campus, cancellation of the Program, or any other means necessary to address the behavior.

Additionally, Authorized Adults who report in good faith—when there is reasonable belief that abuse of neglect has occurred and the report is made without malice or personal benefit—are protected from retaliation from the accused party. Knowingly filing a false report is considered a crime in the state of Indiana and may result in prosecution including fines and incarceration.

Confidentiality

The University will make every effort reasonably possible to preserve the privacy of an individual who makes a report under this Policy and to protect the confidentiality of the information reported. The degree to which confidentiality can be protected, however, depends upon the University’s legal duty to respond to the information reported.

Risk Mitigation

The Program will take the following steps to ensure the safety of Children:

  • Emergency contact forms are filled out for every Child in the Program, including emergency contact persons, allergies, medications, and any relevant medical issues/information. A copy of the forms will remain with the Program Administrator and Office of Administrative Services. If the Program involves travel, a copy of this information is also kept with the Authorized Adults who are also traveling with the Program.
  • Drop off and pick up sign-in/sign-out procedures, including a signature required for dropping off and picking up Children under 13.
  • Emergency procedures for disaster/catastrophes.
  • Inclement weather plans.
  • Bathroom, meal time, and break time procedures.
  • Procedure for parent/guardian to contact a Child in the event of an emergency.
  • Personal Media Release signed by parents in order to use Child pictures/names for Program purposes including social media.
  • The University reserves the right to limit Child’s access to facilities at its discretion.

Failure to comply by the guidelines of this Policy can result in the discontinuation of Programming, expulsion (students) or termination (employees).

Frequently Asked Questions

Protection of Children Policy Frequently Asked Questions

Document History

Policy Origination Date: October 1, 2021

Office Phone:
812-488-2943

Office Email:
titleix@evansville.edu

Office Location:
Room 263, Ridgway University Center