Training Requirements for Those Involved with Minors
Ashland volunteers, faculty, staff and students who are involved in University-run or affiliated programs or activities involving minors, as well as employees, volunteers and other representatives of non-University organizations or entities that operate programs or activities involving minors on campus, are required to satisfy specific training and certification requirements outlined herein.
University-Run or Affiliated Programs or Activities
All individuals working with minors in University-run or affiliated programs or activities are required to review the training material in this Appendix A and sign the Certification. The signed Certification must be submitted to the program or activity director or supervisor prior to the start date of any program or activity. The program or activity director or supervisor is responsible for collecting the Certifications from the adult participants.
Non-University Programs or Activities on Campus
Employees, volunteers and representatives of non-University organizations or entities that operate programs and activities involving minors on campus are required to comply with the training and certification requirements that apply to University-run or affiliated programs and activities. Non-University organizations or entities must also submit the certifications of compliance to the sponsoring or authorizing University department prior to the start of any program or activity involving minors on campus.
BEGIN TRAINING MATERIAL
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 how our society cares for children and the most vulnerable among us and wants to do what it can to prevent the victimization of minors and promote their safety. To further this goal, 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 participating in a covered program or activity. You must review the information in this packet and return the attached Certification indicating that you have read the packet and agree to comply with the requirements it describes. You must also determine whether you may be a Mandated Reporter and agree to comply with the obligations imposed by law and by the University on Mandated Reporters. You may also be required to review additional materials that are germane to your specific situation.
This informational 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;
- 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;
- Advice on the signs of child abuse and neglect; and
- A Certification that you must sign to certify that you have read and understood the information and will comply with your obligations.
Guidelines for Working with Minors
Those associated with programs or activities involving minors should observe the following "dos" and "don'ts" in order to maintain a safe and positive experience for program participants.
- Maintain the highest standards of personal behavior at all times when interacting with minors.
- Whenever possible, have another adult present when you are working with minors in an unsupervised setting. Conduct necessary one-on-one interactions with minors in a public environment where you can be observed.
- Listen to and interact with minors and provide appropriate praise and positive reinforcement.
- Treat all minors in a group consistently, fairly, and with respect and dignity.
- Be friendly with minors within the context of the formal program or activity while maintaining appropriate boundaries.
- Maintain discipline and discourage inappropriate behavior by minors, consulting with your supervisors if you need help with misbehaving youth.
- Be aware of how your actions and intentions might be perceived and could be misinterpreted.
- Consult with other adult supervisors or colleagues when you feel uncertain about a situation.
- Don't spend significant time alone with one minor away from the group or conduct private interactions with minors in enclosed spaces or behind closed doors.
- Don't engage in inappropriate touching or have any physical contact with a minor in private locations.
- Don't use inappropriate language, tell risqué jokes, or make sexually suggestive comments around minors, even if minors themselves are doing so.
- Don't give personal gifts to, or do special favors for, a minor or do things that may be seen as favoring one minor over others.
- Don't share information with minors about your private life or have informal or purely social contact with minor program participants outside of program activities.
- Don't strike or hit a minor, or use corporal punishment or other punishment involving physical pain or discomfort.
- Don't relate to minors as if they were peers, conduct private correspondence or take on the role of "confidant" (outside of a professional counseling relationship).
- Don't date or become romantically or sexually involved with a minor. Don't show pornography to minors or involve minors in pornographic activities.
- Don't email, text, or engage with minors through social networking media unless there is an important educational or programmatic reason to do so and you are communicating consistently to all minors in the program.
- Don't provide alcohol or drugs to minors or use them in the presence of minors.
Note: These guidelines are not meant to inhibit medical, psychiatric or other professional interactions with minors where professional standards apply.
Reporting: What to do if you suspect that a minor has been abused or neglected or is otherwise unsafe.
If you know, suspect, or receive information indicating that a minor has been abused or neglected, or if you have other concerns about a situation involving the safety of minors, follow the procedures described below:
In case of an emergency, immediately call 911. Ashland University Safety Services should also be contacted as soon as possible at 419-207-5555.
Signs of Child Abuse and/or Neglect
Within the minimum standards set by CAPTA (The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act), each State is responsible for providing its own definitions of child abuse and neglect. Most States recognize the four major types of maltreatment: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Signs and symptoms for each type of maltreatment are listed below. Additionally, many States identify abandonment and parental substance abuse as abuse or neglect. While these types of maltreatment may be found separately, they often occur in combination. For State-specific laws pertaining to child abuse and neglect, see Child Welfare Information Gateway's State Statutes Search page: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/state/
Information Gateway's Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect provides civil definitions that determine the grounds for intervention and State child protective agencies: https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/define.pdf
Physical Abuse is nonaccidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, chocking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child. Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caregiver intended to hurt the child. Physical discipline, such as spanking or paddling, is not considered abuse as long as it is reasonable and causes no bodily injury to the child.
Neglect is the failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for a child's basic needs. Neglect may be :
- Physical (e.g., failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision)
- Medical (e.g., failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment)
- Educational (e.g., failure to educate a child or attend to special education needs)
- Emotional (e.g., inattention to a child's emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs)
Sometimes cultural values, the standards of care in the community, and poverty may contribute to maltreatment, indicating the family is in need of information or assistance. When a family fails to use information and resources, and the child's health or safety is at risk, then child welfare intervention may be required.
Sexual abuse includes activities such as fondling a child's genitals, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, indecent exposure, and exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.
Emotional abuse (or psychological abuse) is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child's emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance. Emotional abuse is often present when other types of maltreatment are identified.
Abandonment is now defined in many States as a form of neglect. In general, a child is considered to be abandoned when the parent's identity or whereabouts are unknown, the child has been left alone in circumstances where the child suffers serious harm, or the parent has failed to maintain contact with the child or provide reasonable support for a specified period of time.
Substance abuse is an element of the definition of child abuse or neglect in many States. Circumstances that are considered abuse or neglect in some States include the following:
- Prenatal exposure of a child to harm due to the mother's use of an illegal drug or other substance
- Manufacture of methamphetamine in the presence of a child
- Selling, distributing, or giving illegal drugs or alcohol to a child
- Use of a controlled substance by a caregiver that impairs the caregiver's ability to adequately care for the child
For more information about this issue, see Child Welfare Information Gateway's Parental Drug Use as Child Abuse at https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/drugsexposed.cfm
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 a child is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may protect him or her and get help for the family. Any concerned person can report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. Reporting your concerns is not making an accusation; rather, it is a request for an investigation and assessment to determine if help is needed.
Some people (typically certain types of professionals, such as teachers or physicians) are required by State law to make a report of child maltreatment under specific circumstances – these are called mandatory reporters. Some States require all adults to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. Child Welfare Information Gateway's publication Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect discusses the laws that designate groups of professionals as mandatory reporters: https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/manda.cfm
For information about where and how to file a report, contact your local child protective services agency or police department. Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (800.4.A.CHILD) and its website offer crisis intervention, information, resources, and referrals to support services and provides assistance in 170 languages: https://www.childhelp.org/
For information on what happens when suspected abuse or neglect is reported, see Gateway's How the Child Welfare System Works https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/cpswork.pdf
Some children may directly disclose that they have experienced abuse or neglect. The factsheet How to Handle Child Abuse Disclosures, produced by the "Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe" child abuse prevention campaign, offers tips. The factsheet defines direct and indirect disclosure, as well as tips for supporting the child: https://www.childhelp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Disclosure-PDF.pdf
The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect:
- Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents' attention
- Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
- Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
- Lacks adult supervision
Reports of Known or Suspected Abuse or Neglect of Minors:
Anyone participating in a University-run or affiliated program or activity involving minors or a non-University program or activity operating on campus involving minors who knows, suspects, or receives information indicating that a minor has been abused or neglected, or who has other concerns about the safety of minors MUST inform Safety Services at 419.207.5555. If child abuse is observed in progress, immediately call 911.
Safety Services, with support from other appropriate offices as necessary, will help determine appropriate next steps.
In addition, one should promptly notify his or her supervisor, program director, dean, or vice president, when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
Anyone who knows or suspects abuse or neglect of minors may also notify local law enforcement and/or Child Protective Services.
If you have questions about your obligations or what you should do in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, contact the Director of Human Resources and Legal Affairs at 419.289.5034.
Reporting: Additional Obligations for Mandated Reporters
In addition to the reporting obligations described above that are imposed by the University on those participating in programs involving minors, certain individuals are "mandated" reporters who have additional obligations under Ohio law.
If you are a "Mandated Reporter":
Ohio law designates individuals in certain occupations and professions as mandated reporters (See Ohio Revised Code 2151.421). If you are a mandated reporter, you must report known or suspected mental or physical abuse or neglect of a child known to you in your professional or official capacity to either law enforcement at 911 or the local Child Protective Services. The Ohio hotline can be reached at 855-O-H-C-H-I-L-D. (855.642.4453) and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Note that anyone can follow these steps, even if they are not a mandated reporter.
RETURN ONLY THIS PAGE TO THE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT SPONSORING OR APPROVING THE PROGRAM INVOLVING MINORS
I hereby certify that I have read and understand the foregoing Information for Those Participating in University-Run or -Affiliated Programs Involving Minors. I have had an opportunity to raise any questions I have about this information and have done so if necessary.