PRP 2410 - Background Screening, Protection of Minors, Volunteerism

PRP 2410 - Background Screening, Protection of Minors, Volunteerism

Issued as Interim Policy By: John Loonan, Vice President for Administration and Finance
This policy replaces Bloomsburg University PRP 2410, Screening Camp and Conference Employees, and PRP 6210 Background Investigation Policy.
Effective Date: Dec. 23, 2014

Rationale for Policy

The purpose of this policy is to create a supportive environment and to promote the safety and security of children who participate in programs and activities held on the Bloomsburg University campus, and to comply with the requirements of Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law and Board of Governors Policy 2014-01. This policy is also in accord Board of Governors Policies: 2009-01, Criminal Background Investigation; and 1991-04-A Volunteerism.

Keywords

Background, Minor, Volunteer, Camp, Conference, Authorized Adult

Background Information

This policy is intended to ensure Bloomsburg University’s compliance with the requirements of Board of Governors Policies 2014-01, 2009-01 and 1991-04-A. Accordingly, this policy identifies the personnel security requirements for all individuals, defines who is a mandated reporter of child abuse, and the protocols that mandated reporters must follow with respect to reporting suspected child abuse.

Policy

I. Purpose and Scope

A. The purpose of this policy is to promote the safety and security of children who participate in Bloomsburg University programs. Under the auspices of the policy, compliance must be applied to all applicants, employees, volunteers, contractors, and programs and activities involving minors that fall within the scope of this policy, including graduate and undergraduate course offerings, programs operated by the university, both on and off campus as well as non-university-sponsored programs on campus, and programs under the direction and authority of the university at locations off campus.

B. This policy applies to all applicants, employees, volunteers, and contractors with the university, programs and activities whether they are limited to daily activities or involve the housing of minors. Examples of programs governed by this policy include, but are not limited to, summer camps, specialty camps (e.g., academic and patient camps), outreach activities, workshops, conferences, tutoring, educational programs, licensed child care facilities and programs, and affiliated entity activities. All programs subject to state licensure are required to comply with applicable laws and regulations. Program administrators should consult with their respective Vice President and the Director of Human Resources, who will consult with University Legal Counsel regarding issues related to licensure compliance.

C. All University employees and volunteers, including employees or volunteers of an external vendor or a campus group who are engaged to provide services during camps, campus events, rental events, and conferences on the University campus in occupations/assignments with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children under the age of 18 in the form of care, guidance, supervision or training must also comply with this policy.

D. This policy does not apply to:

1. Events on campus that are open to the general public and which minors attend at the sole discretion of their parents or legal guardians,

2. Private events where minors attend under parental or legal guardian supervision, or

3. Other programs as may be designated by the university president or designated official in advance and in writing as exempt from this policy or specific provisions of this policy.

E. Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse

1. All individuals who are employed by, or perform services for Bloomsburg University are defined as mandated reporters and are obligated to comply with PRP 2412, Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse.

2. PRP 2412 applies to all employees, contractors, volunteers, programs, and activities involving children/minors that fall within the scope of this policy, including graduate and undergraduate course offerings, programs operated by the university or non-university sponsored programs on campus, and programs under the direction and authority of the university at locations off campus.

II. Definitions

A. Affiliated Entity: A private organization (typically classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization for federal tax purposes) that exists solely for the benefit of the university, including, but not limited to, foundations, alumni associations, and student associations.

B. Authorized Adults or Program Staff: Individuals, paid or unpaid, who may have direct contact, interact with, treat, supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee minors. This includes all employees, but is not limited to, faculty, staff, coaches, volunteers, graduate and undergraduate students, interns, employees of temporary employment agencies, and contractors. Roles of authorized adults or program staff include, but are not limited to, positions as counselors, chaperones, coaches, instructors, health care providers, and outside providers conducting programs in leased facilities. This definition does not include temporary guest speakers, presenters, or other individuals who have no direct contact with program participants other than short-term activities supervised by program staff; or fellow students whose only role is as a participant in the education, services, or program offered.

C. Camp/Conference/Program Employees and Volunteers: Individuals, paid or unpaid, of administrative units of the university, or by non-university groups for activities or events outside the primary instructional mission.

D. Child Abuse: Child abuse is defined in the Child Protective Services Law, 23 Pa. C.S. § 6303. That definition includes intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury or serious mental injuries to a child, or sexual abuse/sexual exploitation of a child by any act or failure to act; including:

1. Physical Abuse: Acts or omissions that cause, or fail to prevent, a serious physical injury to a child.

2. Sexual Abuse: Includes, but is not limited to, rape, sexual assault, molestation, incest, indecent exposure, or otherwise exploiting a child in a manner in which the child is used for gratification or sexual enjoyment by another person.

3. Emotional or Mental Abuse: Acts or omissions that have an actual or likely severe negative impact on a child’s emotional and behavioral development, including those resulting from persistent or severe emotional mistreatment.

4. Neglect: A severe or persistent failure to provide for a child’s physical, emotional, or basic needs.

E. Direct Contact: Providing care, supervision, guidance, or control; or routine interaction with minors.

F. Limited Time Individual Volunteers: Persons providing volunteer service for unique or one-time opportunities for a single period not to exceed 30 days.

G. Mandated Reporter: In a situation of suspected child abuse, all PASSHE or Bloomsburg administrators, faculty, coaches, staff, student workers, contractors, and volunteers are considered mandated reporters.

H. Minor/Child: A person under 18 years of age. Minors may be enrolled undergraduate/graduate students; students “dually enrolled” with the university and in elementary, middle, or high school; employees; or participants in program activities.

I. One-on-One Contact: Personal, unsupervised interaction between any authorized adult or program staff and a participant without at least one other authorized adult or program staff, parent, or legal guardian being present.

J. PASSHE Entity: One of the PASSHE universities or the Office of the Chancellor.

K. Program: Programs or activities offered by various academic or administrative units of the university, or by non-university groups using university facilities where the parents or legal guardians are not responsible for the care, custody, or control of their children. This includes, but is not limited to, a youth camp or program, a recreational camp or program, sports or athletic program, an outreach program, an enrichment program, and similar activities. These do not include organized events where parents or legal guardians are responsible for minors.

L. Program Administrator: The person(s) who has primary and direct operational responsibility for managing a program (i.e. sponsoring coach, faculty member,or staff).

M. Registry: An official record or list of authorized adults or programs.

N. Regular employee: Faculty, classified employees, ornon-represented/management engaged in the primary mission of the university).

O. Sponsoring Unit: The academic or administrative unit of the university that offers a program or gives approval for the use of university facilities.

P. University Facilities: Facilities owned by or under the control of a PASSHE entity, including spaces used for education, athletics, dining, recreation, university housing, and on-campus affiliate-owned housing.

Q. University-Sponsored Programs: Programs that are directly managed by university faculty, staff, and affiliated entities on behalf of the university. All university-sponsored programs must be registered.

R. Non-University-Sponsored Programs: Programs that are not operated on behalf of the university or under the university’s control.

III. Policy
Aligned with the Board of Governor’s Policies 2014-01, 2009-01 and 1991-04-A, and Act 153 of 2014, Bloomsburg University, when screening applicants and volunteers, and offering or approving programs that involve minors within the scope of this document must implement policies and procedures consistent with this policy.

A. Background Clearance Records

Bloomsburg is required to maintain copies of background screening documents used to determine eligibility for employment, volunteerism, and contract employment as identified in the Purpose and Scope of this policy.

B. Criminal Background Screening

1. All final applicants, employees, volunteers, and contractors regardless of represented group or role, within the scope of this policy shall be required to submit the following information:

a. A report of criminal history record information from the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) or a statement from the PSP that no criminal record exists.

b. Certification from the Department of Human Services (formerly the Department of Public Welfare) as to whether the applicant is named in the statewide database as an alleged perpetrator in a pending child abuse investigation or as a perpetrator in a founded report or indicated report of child abuse.

c. A report of federal criminal history record information. The applicant must submit a full set of fingerprints to the PSP to obtain this report.

2. Employees may be hired on a provisional basis for a single period not to exceed 90 days, if all of the following are met:

a. The applicant has applied for the three required certifications listed above.

b. The employer has no knowledge of information that would disqualify the applicant.

c. The employee swears or affirms in writing that they are not disqualified from service nor have been convicted of an offense listed below in any state, territory or possession of the United States.

C. Applicant Notification

All advertisements for regular faculty/staff/coach positions (i.e., faculty, classified employees, and non-represented/management) must contain the following statement: “Prior to a final offer of employment the selected candidate will be required to submit to a background check including, but not limited to Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance and criminal background check.”

D. Employment Application

1. All candidates for regular faculty/staff employment (i.e. faculty, coaches, classified employees, and non-represented/management) must complete and sign an employment application.
The merit systems employment application is to contain a statement that the candidate’s signature authorizes the University to investigate all statements made on the application and permits the references and past employers to respond to questions concerning information contained in the application and concerning the candidate’s fitness for employment.

2. In accord with BOG Policy 2009-01, the BU Merit Systems Employment Application will contain the following criminal history section:

a. CRIMINAL OFFENSE includes felonies and misdemeanor offenses.

b. CONVICTION is an adjudication of guilt and includes determinations before a court, a district justice or magistrate and pleas of nolo contendre (no contest) that result in a fine, sentence or probation.

For this question disregard: minor traffic violations (no points), offenses committed before your 18th birthday which were adjudicated in juvenile court under a Youth Offender Law, and any charges which have been expunged by a court or for which you successfully completed an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program. A “Yes” answer is not necessarily a bar to employment.
If you answer “Yes,” please provide a written explanation.

c. WERE YOU EVER CONVICTED OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE? Yes/No

3. Final applicants for regular employment are required to submit to, and authorize the university to conduct, the statutorily required background checks before a formal offer of employment can be extended.

E. Applicants for Camp/Conference/Program Appointments and Volunteerism Prospective Camp/conference/program employees or volunteers are required to complete (at their own expense) and provide the results of the statutorily required background checks to the compliance coordinator in Human Resources at least 30 days prior to the start date of the program or volunteer activity.
Certain university programs may be able to reimburse BU undergraduate students for costs associated with completion of the screening. Additionally, upon approval of the program manager and the Human Resource Manager, camps/conferences/programs may also accept less than a 30 day notice of completion of screening from BU undergraduate students.
Individuals with continued (uninterrupted) service in these capacities must complete (at their own expense) and provide the results of the statutorily required background checks to the compliance coordinator in Human Resources at 36 month intervals.

F. Waiver of Screening Requirements

Waiver of screening requirements may only be granted by the President or his/her designee in accordance with the Purpose and Scope section of this policy.

G. Screening Requirements for Continued Service

All university employees in these categories are required to submit to, and authorize the university to conduct, the statutorily required background checks every 36 months.

H. Limited Time Individual Volunteers

1. Volunteers in this status may be allowed to volunteer to serve on a provisional basis for a single period not to exceed 30 days. BU will formally acknowledge volunteers and their services, as well as safeguards for their usage. It is understood that volunteers will not be used in a fashion that displaces incumbent bargaining unit employees. These volunteers will be approved by the area dean/director, vice president and Director of Human Resources.

2. Volunteers in this category may be eligible for reimbursement of authorized official travel expenses; incidental courtesies and privileges normally extended to employees (including the transporting of volunteers in Commonwealth- or university-owned vehicles); limited insurance coverage for illnesses or injuries incurred as a direct result of providing volunteer services; and legal defense and indemnification for legal actions arising from acts or omissions within the scope of their official duties.

3. The background clearance check requirements for these volunteers are similar to those for regular faculty/staff appointments, applicants for camp/conference/program appointments and volunteerism, except that the report of federal criminal history record information with full set of fingerprints is not required, if:

a. The volunteer has been a resident of Pennsylvania during the entire previous 10-year period.

b. The volunteer swears or affirms in writing that they are not disqualified from service nor been convicted of an offense listed above in any state, territory or possession of the United States. Volunteers may be allowed to volunteer to serve on a provisional basis for a single period not to exceed 30 days if the volunteer is in compliance with the clearance standards under the law of the jurisdiction where the volunteer is domiciled.

I. Grounds for Denying Employment/Volunteerism

1. Act 153 establishes the grounds for denying employment or participation in a program, activity or service as follows:

a. Deny anyone named as a perpetrator of a founded report in the statewide protective services database within the preceding 5-year period.

b. Deny anyone if the applicant’s criminal history record information indicates the applicant has been convicted of one or more of the following offenses under Title 18 (relating to crimes and offenses) or an equivalent crime under Federal law or the law of another state:
Chapter 25 (relating to criminal homicide).
Section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault).
Section 2709.1 (relating to stalking).
Section 2901 (relating to kidnapping).
Section 2902 (relating to unlawful restraint).
Section 3121 (relating to rape).
Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault).
Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse).
Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault).
Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
Section 3126 (relating to indecent assault).
Section 3127 (relating to indecent exposure).
Section 4302 (relating to incest).
Section 4303 (relating to concealing death of child).
Section 4304 (relating to endangering welfare of children).
Section 4305 (relating to dealing in infant children).

A felony offense under section 5902(b) (relating to prostitution and related offenses).
Section 5903(c) or (d) (relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances).
Section 6301 (relating to corruption of minors).
Section 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children).
The attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of the offenses set forth in this paragraph.

c. In no case shall an administrator hire an applicant if the applicant’s criminal history record information indicates the applicant has been convicted of a felony offense under the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, committed within the five-year period immediately preceding verification under this section.

d. If information is discovered or revealed that would result in denial of employment/volunteerism/contractor status based on the above standards:

i. The applicant will be removed from consideration for employment; or

ii. The employee will be subject to administrative actions up to and including removal from employment.

2. Felony and misdemeanor convictions of an applicant may be considered by the President and only to the extent to which they relate to the applicant's suitability for employment in the position for which he/she has applied. The assessment is to be done in conjunction with legal counsel and should focus on the following factors:

a. Whether the candidate’s prior conviction is relevant to the job responsibilities and undermines his/her suitability or fitness to perform the required job responsibilities;

b. The time that has elapsed since the conviction;

c. The nature and gravity of the criminal conviction; and

d. Evidence of rehabilitation.

3. Screening reports with ANY criminal convictions or founded reports of child abuse must be reviewed by the Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations or the Vice President of the area sponsoring the event to determine if the individual is disqualified from employment/volunteerism in accordance with this policy.

4. The Human Resources Department will notify the appropriate hiring manager, dean, director or camp/conference/program director, or individual ultimately responsible for hosting the event, of those individuals who are disqualified for employment/volunteerism/contracted services under this policy. Reasons for disqualification will not be shared beyond the individual affected, Human Resources, and the Vice President for area sponsoring the program.

J. Reporting Obligations

1. Employee and Volunteer Requirement to Self-Disclose Arrest or Conviction
Employees and volunteers are required to provide written notice to the employer (divisional VP or Director of Human Resources) if they are:

a. Arrested for, or convicted of, an offense that would constitute grounds for denial of employment or participation in a program, activity or service (the reportable offenses listed above);

b. Named as a perpetrator in a founded or indicated report of child abuse.

2. The employee or volunteer shall provide such written notice within 72 hours of arrest, conviction, or notification that the person has been listed as a perpetrator in the statewide database. The failure of an employee or volunteer to make a written notification as required above is may result in disqualification for employment or volunteerism.

3. If the employer or program administrator has a reasonable belief that an employee or volunteer has been arrested or convicted of a reportable offense or was named as perpetrator in a founded or indicated report, or if an employee or volunteer has provided notice of activity that would be sufficient to deny employment or program participation, the employer must immediately require the employee or volunteer to immediately submit current information as required for the three background clearance checks listed above.

K. Program Registration Requirements

1. Bloomsburg University is responsible for establishing and maintaining a registry of university-authorized adults, program staff, and programs for minors. This registry will be maintained by the Human Resources Department.
All non-curricular programs must be registered within sufficient time to meet the requirements of this policy, and policy requirements should be met no later than 30 days before the program start date. Programs must be registered annually.

2. The following topics must be addressed in planning and evaluating registered programs:

a. Identification, selection, and screening of authorized adults or program staff, including criminal background checks in accordance with this policy.

b. Training for authorized adults or program staff as required by this policy.

c. Supervision ratio.

d. Safety and security planning.

e. Participation requirement forms.

f. Transportation.

g. Housing.

h. Response protocols when there is an injury or illness.

i. Response protocols when an authorized adult or program staff is accused of misconduct.

j. Response protocols when a participant is accused of misconduct.

k. Program orientation or information for minors and parents.

l. Insurance requirements.

m. Program records should retained for seven (7) years.

n. Program Medication Management Guidelines.

L. External Providers of Events and Programs
Adult representatives of external providers of events determined to be within the scope of this program are required to be screened to the same extent as prospective employees/volunteers covered under this policy.

M. Facilities Use Agreements
University Offices that license, lease, or allow the use of university facilities for non-university-sponsored programs or events primarily serving minors are required to include language in the agreement requiring identification of authorized adults or program staff, supervision ratios, acknowledgement of Authorized Adults or Program Staff Code of Conduct training, and background screening consistent with this policy.

N. Authorized Adults or Program Staff Code of Conduct

1. Authorized adults or program staff should be positive role models for minors and act in a responsible manner that is consistent with the mission of Bloomsburg University. Authorized adults or program staff are required to comply with all applicable laws and PASSHE Board of Governors’ and university policies. Authorized adults or program staff working in programs covered by this policy must follow these expectations:

a. Do not engage in any sexual activity, make sexual comments, tell sexual jokes, or share sexually explicit material with minors or assist in any way to provide access to such material to minors.

b. Do not engage or allow minors to engage you in romantic or sexual conversations or related matters. Similarly, do not treat minors as confidantes; refrain from sharing sensitive personal information about yourself. Examples of sensitive personal information that should not be shared with minors are information about financial challenges, workplace challenges, drug or alcohol use, and romantic relationships.

c. Do not touch minors in a manner that a reasonable person could interpret as inappropriate. All personal contact should generally only be in the open, and in response to the minor’s needs, for a purpose that is consistent with the program’s mission and culture, or for a clear educational, developmental, or health-related purpose (e.g., treatment of an injury). Any refusal or resistance from the minor should be respected.

d. Do not use harassing language that would violate Board of Governors’ Policy 2009-03: Social Equity, or Bloomsburg University PRP 6814, Harassment and Discrimination.

e. Do not be alone with a minor. If one-on-one contact is required, meet in open, well-illuminated spaces or rooms with windows observable by other authorized adults or program staff, unless the one-on-one contact is expressly authorized by the program administrator or is being undertaken for medical care.

f. Do not meet with minors outside of established times for program activities. Any exceptions require written parental authorization and must include more than one authorized adult or program staff.

g. Do not invite individual minors to your home or other private locations. Any exceptions require authorization by the program administrator and written authorization by a parent/guardian.

h. Do not provide gifts to minors or their families independent of items provided by the program.

i. Do not engage or communicate with minors except for an educational or programmatic purpose; the content of the communication must be consistent with the mission of the program and the university.

j. Do not engage in any abusive conduct of any kind toward, or in the presence of, a minor, including, but not limited to, verbal abuse, striking, hitting, punching, poking, spanking, or restraining. If restraint is necessary to protect a minor or other minors from harm, all incidents must be documented and immediately disclosed to the program administrator. The program administrator or the Director of Human Resources will notify the minor’s parent/guardian.

k. Do not use, possess, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while on duty, or in the presence of minors involved in a program, or when responsible for a minor’s welfare.

l. Do not provide alcohol or illegal substances to a minor.

m. Do not provide medication to a minor unless authorized by the program’s medication management guidelines. When transporting minors, more than one authorized adult or program staff from the program must be present in the vehicle, except when multiple minors will be in the vehicle at all times through the transportation. Use of personal vehicles to transport minors is prohibited.

n. Possession of or use of any type of weapon, dangerous device, or explosive device is prohibited unless authorized in advance by campus law enforcement.

2. Violations of any of the forgoing shall immediately be reported to the program administrator and Director of Human Resources, and result in immediate prohibition from participation in programs covered by this policy.

3. Prior to being granted permission to use or lease university facilities, program administrators of non-university-sponsored programs, or non-university groups providing services to university-sponsored programs, are required to certify that they have conducted criminal background checks (PSP, Department of Human Services and FBI Fingerprint) and determined the fitness of all authorized adults and program staff. This certification will attest the authorized adults have not engaged in conduct or behavior that would warrant disqualification based on the Grounds for Denying Employment/Volunteerism identified in Section I. This Certification aligns with Bloomsburg University Background Screening Certification Form (Attachment A).

4. Adult participants of non-university-sponsored programs or non-university groups providing services to university-sponsored programs are required to: acknowledge their understanding of, and agree to comply with the Code of Conduct identified in this policy; and to complete the training as identified in Section O.

O. Training

1. All authorized adults or program staff working with minors are required to be trained on policies and issues related to minor safety and security. The training should be completed annually by the authorized adult. Documentation of training completion is required to be submitted to, and maintained in the Registry. Program administrators of non-university-sponsored programs or non-university groups or individuals providing services to university-sponsored programs are required to certify that they have satisfactorily completed required training before being allowed to use university facilities.

2. Training should address the following topics.

a. Detecting and reporting abuse or neglect.

b. First aid/CPR and medication management.

c. Participant conduct management and disciplinary procedures.

d. Authorized adult or program staff code of conduct.

e. Sexual and other unlawful harassment.

f. Safety and security protocols.

g. Crime reporting procedures.

h. Chain of command on reporting.

i. Mandatory reporting of Child Abuse.

P. Participant Requirements

Minors and parents or legal guardians of minors must submit required forms before minors will be allowed to participate. These forms may include, but are not limited to, a participation agreement, health form, emergency contact form, proof of medical insurance, photo and recording release, and participant code of conduct. The Program Administrator is responsible for ensuring these requirements are met.

Bloomsburg University Background Screening Certification Form

To be completed for any event involving participants under the age of 18 held at Bloomsburg University or programs/activities where University students and staff are offering program services off university property in which minors are involved and no direct parent supervision is in place.

Must be submitted at least thirty (30) days prior to the beginning of the event.

Instructions

Note: resubmission will be required for any form that is not completed correctly and in full.

1. Read the italicized section below, filling in the name of your organization/department/group/school/team/etc.
2. TYPE ALL information in the boxes below including employee/volunteer names.
a. A separate form is required for each different event.
b. The person signing the form must be an administrator (i.e. Manager, Program Director, Principal, Athletic Director, Faculty, Owner, etc.)
3. Print this form and sign on the signature line.
4. Fax or scan/email the completed and signed form to the attention of: Bloomsburg University Human Resource Department.
5. REQUIRED: Mail the original signed form to the Bloomsburg University Human Resource Department.
6. Completion of this form does not exclude participants from completion of training and code of conduct certification required in PRP XXX.

In accordance with the requirements of Bloomsburg University PRP 2410 I submit this verification on behalf of ________________________________________ (in the space to the left, please TYPE the name of your organization/department/group/school/team/etc.) Pursuant to 18 Pa. C.S. § 4904, relating to unsworn falsification to authorities, I attest that we have ensured that all employees and volunteers for which there is a significant likelihood of regular contact with children under the age of 18 in the form of care, guidance, supervision or training during the event listed below have been subjected to background screening at least equivalent to that of Bloomsburg University PRP 2410, Background Screening, Protection of Minors, and Volunteerism.
I further attest that no employee or volunteer subject to the screening requirements set forth above has been identified as having a criminal or child abuse history that would disqualify such employee or volunteer from participating in this event under the policies of Bloomsburg University. We assure that procedures are in place to reasonably ensure protection from abuse for minors in our charge for this event. As needed, we will update this verification.

The employees and volunteers for _______________________________ _____________
(event)
To be held__________________________________ through__________________________
(Start date) (End Date)

Last Name First Name Last Name First Name

For _______________________________ _____________
(event)

To be held__________________________________ through__________________________
(Start date) (End Date)