UCF Youth Protection Program
Do you host or sponsor activities involving minors? Your event may be subject to the new UCF Youth Protection Program.
Last spring, University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk announced the Youth Protection Program Committee efforts in developing a program dedicated to ensuring a safe and secure environment for minors who visit our campus and participate in UCF sponsored programs on or off campus. In December 2018, the University Policies and Procedures Committee recommended approval of University Policy 2-005 Youth Protection, which was then approved and signed by the president. UCF’s Youth Protection Policy applies to all programs defined as any event or activity sponsored or operated by the university where minors are under the care, custody, and control of university or UCF Direct Support Organization employees or volunteers. The university hosts a wide variety of academic, recreation, and service programs that engage minors, and all programs vary significantly. Programs could include summer, vacation, and after school camps, classes or educational programs, athletics camps, and many more. The policy also applies to third-party events or activities involving minors that are held on university property.
University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk is responsible for overseeing compliance with the Youth Protection policy that communicates UCF’s expectations for the protection of minors and outlines the required procedures for background screenings, training, and registration of programs involving minor participants. The procedures put in place help all persons who have the responsibility of supervising minors understand how to minimize the threat of child abuse and neglect, how to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect, and how to promptly report child abuse and neglect if the behavior is observed, suspected, or disclosed.
If you host or sponsor activities involving youth participants that meet the definition of a program, you will need to do the following:
- Register your program with University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk.
A Youth Protection Program Registration Form will need to be submitted to University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk at least 45 days before the start of your activity. On the form you will list details such as a program description, contact information for the program sponsor, session dates, facilities to be used, who approved the program, and overnight stay details. As part of the registration process, the program sponsor will also need to send University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk a final list of all program staff at least 5 days before the start of the program, this can be done by using the Program Staff Template created by our office. The final piece of the program registration requires submitting a final list of all youth participants, using the Program Participant Template, within five days after the start of the program.
- Get a State of Florida Level 2 background check cleared on the program sponsor and all program staff.
The program sponsor and all program staff will need to have been cleared of a State of Florida Level 2 background check before the program starts. These individuals will need to be screened once every five years to stay in compliance with state statutes if they continue to work in programs supervising minors. A Level 2 background check includes fingerprinting for a statewide criminal history record check through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and a national criminal record check through the FBI. It will also include a local criminal record check through the UCF Police Department and an annual check through the National Sex Offenders Registry. The only exception to the background check requirement is for program staff who work with minors less than 10 hours per month. However, a person who meets the screening requirements must always accompany the exempted staff member while supervising minors. More information on background check requirements can be found in UCF Policy 3-011 Background Checks.
- The program sponsor and all program staff must complete UCF Youth Protection Training and sign to confirm their understanding of the Youth Protection Program Staff Code of Conduct. The UCF Youth Protection Training was developed to protect all individuals working with minors, as well as the minors themselves, by providing education on UCF policies, and federal and state reporting requirements when working with minors. The training is a webcourse that provides information about recognizing the signs of and reporting child abuse and neglect, as well as other requirements of the Youth Protection Program. The program sponsor and all program staff, either UCF affiliated or third party, must complete this training once every two years, with a score of 90 percent or higher on the final quiz, to stay in compliance. UCF affiliated members can register for course CER009 Youth Protection Training through the myUCFportal. Program sponsors and staff without a NID can register for and take the course on UCF Continuing Education’s webpage. To further UCF’s commitment to protecting minors, all program staff must read and sign the Youth Protection Program Staff Code of Conduct. This form communicates the behavioral expectations of all program staff while working with minors.
In Florida every individual has a duty to report child abuse and neglect. If you directly witness this type of abuse, dial 911 first and then report to the Florida Department of Children and Families hotline and the UCF IntegrityLine. At UCF, we are proud to host such a wide variety of youth programs, and this newly created Youth Protection Program will support these activities ensuring they comply with the appropriate laws and regulations to keep our minors safe.
If you are interested in learning more about the UCF Youth Protection Program, additional information and resources can be found on our website at compliance.ucf.edu/youth-protection-program/ or by contacting University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk at firstname.lastname@example.org.