Working with Minors:
Information for Those Participating in University-Run or -Affiliated Programs or Activities Involving Minors
The Ashland University community has a strong interest in promoting the safety and preventing the victimization of children. To further this goal, Ashland University has created these training materials. This packet contains important information that individuals must review if they are participating in programs or activities involving minors that 1) the university operates; or 2) that others operate in university facilities.
You are receiving this information because you have been identified as a participant in one such program or activity. You must review the information in this packet and return the attached certification indicating that you have read and agree to comply with the requirements described within. You must also (using the methods described in this packet) determine whether you are a mandated reporter and, if so, agree to comply with the obligations imposed on mandated reporters by state and federal law and by the university. You may also be required to review additional materials depending on the program or activity in question and your role in said program or activity.
This packet contains the following:
- Guidelines for working with minors that will help you to maintain safe and positive interactions and reduce the risk of mistaken allegations.
- Warning signs of the abuse and neglect of minors.
- Steps to take if you suspect that a minor has been abused or neglected or is otherwise unsafe, including information about how to report your suspicions or ask questions.
- A certification that you must sign to confirm that you have read and understand the information presented and will comply with your obligations as described in this packet.
Guidelines for Working with Minors
Participants of programs or activities involving minors should observe the following “dos” and “don'ts” in order to maintain a safe and positive experience for younger participants. Note that these guidelines are not meant to inhibit medical, psychiatric or other professional interactions with minors where professional standards apply.
Signs of Abuse and Neglect of Minors
Each state is responsible for providing its own definitions of maltreatment (an all-encompassing term for child abuse and neglect) as directed by standards set by the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). Most states recognize four types of maltreatment: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Some states include abandonment and/or substance abuse in their definition as well.
For each state’s laws pertaining to child abuse and neglect, refer to the State Statues search on Child Welfare Information Gateway. This website also provides civil definitions of the terms of maltreatment that determine the grounds for intervention by child protective agencies.
Types of Abuse and Neglect
Recognizing Signs of Abuse and Neglect
In addition to working to prevent a child from experiencing abuse or neglect, it is important to recognize high-risk situations and the signs and symptoms of maltreatment. If you do suspect that a child is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may save their life and get help for their family. Reporting your concerns is not the same as making an accusation; rather, it is a request for an investigation and assessment to determine if help is needed.
Children experiencing abuse or neglect may exhibit the following traits and/or behaviors:
- Is always watchful, as if preparing for something bad to happen.
- Displays sudden changes in behavior or school performance.
- Displays problems with learning or difficulty concentrating that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes.
- Consistently lacks adult supervision.
- Has not received help for physical or medical issues brought to their parents’ attention.
Some children may directly disclose that they have experienced abuse or neglect. For more information on how to handle this disclosure, refer to How to Handle Child Abuse Disclosures by Childhelp. This document also provides tips for supporting children who have experienced abuse or neglect and information on the Childhelp child abuse prevention campaign.