Ready, set, go: Requirements for youth programs in the 2017 season

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Each year, more than 200,000 children attend youth programs provided by Penn State, with the bulk of these programs taking place in the summer months. Programming ranges from sports and academic camps to recreational programs and crosses multiple campuses, colleges and administrative units, making the tracking and regulation of youth programs at the University a complex task.

To help centralize youth protection efforts across these programs and ensure compliance with applicable laws and Penn State policy, the Youth Programs Compliance Unit is reminding program coordinators and everyone who works with these programs at the University of five required steps:

1. Review University Policy AD03 - Conducting Educational Programs Using the Name of The University

The Office of the Vice President for Outreach, the Office of the Vice Provost for Online Education and the Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses designate units and/or individuals to support, deliver and administer non-credit programs that have an educational purpose with the intent of providing the highest quality teaching and learning environment.

Such audiences can consist of, but are not necessarily limited to, scholars, individuals seeking to expand their cultural interests, people working to update their professional skills, individuals considering career redirection, and those interested in personal, community or societal improvements. This includes all youth programs that are conducted using the name of the University. Conferences & Institutes is the designated unit at the University Park campus. Chancellors are responsible for identifying the designee at their campus location. The purpose of this policy is to ensure consistent, high quality delivery of programs, financial accountability and optimal use of University resources and facilities for any group conducting non-credit educational programs (such as conferences, courses, workshops, institutes, symposiums and seminars) using the University name, regardless of facilities used.

2. Register the program in the Penn State Youth Program Inventory

To maintain a complete list of all activities that involve minors at Penn State, a centralized database has been created to register all programs, services and events involving youth. The application is available online. A confirmation email will be sent back to the program director that includes further details of Policy AD39 (Minors Involved in University-Sponsored Programs or Programs Held at the University and/or Housed in University Facilities)Programs should be registered at least 60 days prior to the start date. 

3. Complete the "Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse" training program

In addition to other required compliance trainings, anyone involved in University-sponsored youth programs must complete the Reporting Child Abuse Training before working with minors. Those working with children must complete the training annually through the University’s Learning Resource Network at http://lrn.psu.edu.

Further information regarding the University’s compliance training requirements can be found here.

4. Obtain the appropriate clearances

All employees, volunteers and independent contractors working in youth programs are required to complete the required background checks prior to beginning work with children.

Provisional hiring is not recommended and is only appropriate in emergency situations when not hiring a person provisionally would create a situation where the staff-to-child ratios are not met and would result in inadequate supervision for children in the program. In situations where provisional hiring is approved as an exception by the Office of Human Resources (in coordination with the Office of Ethics and Compliance, as appropriate), all guidelines outlined in the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law must be met. 

5. Self-disclose arrests and convictions

All employees, including those involved in youth programs, are required to notify their Human Resources representative of any misdemeanor or felony arrest or conviction within 72 hours. The Penn State arrest or conviction self-disclosure form provides the list of arrests and/or convictions that must be disclosed. Employees who regularly drive a University-owned vehicle or other vehicle on University business must also comply with the requirement by notifying Human Resources of any arrests or convictions for DUI or the loss of driver’s license due to traffic violations or other similar charges or convictions.

For more information about youth programs policies or training, contact the Youth Programs Compliance Office at 814-865-8785 or go to the youth programs section of the Ethics and Compliance website.

Questions regarding background checks or self-disclosure of arrests and convictions should be directed to the Office of Human Resources, Recruitment and Compensation Division, at 814-865-1387.

Last Updated May 11, 2017