Departments that sponsor activities that involve minors should be aware of the risks they create and take steps to reduce the risk exposures. The use of administrative and management protocols will protect the health, safety, and welfare of minors when they are in the University’s custody, improve the University’s management of the activities, reduce and/or eliminate risks, and reduce the University’s exposure to liability. In addition, campus departments should administer and operate youth activities in accordance with accepted best practices (Minors – Best Practices).
The following is a list of administrative and management protocols which departments that are sponsoring activities involving minors can employ to improve the management of their program’s risks. Departments should document their own procedures for ensuring the safety of minors, including but not limited to the following areas:
- UC Waiver of Liability
- Authorization to Consent to Treatment of Minors
- Emergency Information and Contacts for Minors
- Release & License to Use Image
- Letter to Parents
- Orientation Meeting
- Travel Insurance
- Participant Agreement
- Staff Training & Supervision
- Driver’s Licenses
- Fingerprinting & Background Checks
Except for University faculty and staff who are engaged in activities that are within the course and scope of their employment, ALL participants engaged in activities involving minors must sign a UC Waiver of Liability. To the extent possible the waiver should identify the specific activities in which the minors will engage so that the parents can make a decision about whether they want their children to participate (and whether they wish to assume the risk of that participation) based on concrete information as opposed to generalizations. Arts and crafts, shooting basketball, dodge ball, etc. is better than "indoor and outdoor activities". Minors may not participate in the activity unless the parent/guardian completes and signs a waiver.
To better inform participants as to the scope and nature of the planned activities, an Itinerary (see Itinerary below) should be attached to, and referenced in, the Waiver of Liability. In addition to parents/guardians on behalf of their minor children, all participating adults (with the exception of employees in the course and scope), volunteers, hosts, chaperones, etc. must sign the waiver. Individuals who do not sign the waiver may not participate in the activity. Regardless of whether a waiver is used to respond to a claim, the sponsoring department must retain it for three years following the conclusion of the activities for adults; and, for minors, for 3 years after they turn 18. Waivers may be preserved electronically after the activity ends, although if the waiver has been used to respond to a claim, the department must retain the original waiver. For more information, go to UCSB: Waivers of Liability.
Departments sponsoring activities involving minors must distribute an Authorization to Consent to Treatment of Minor form to parents/guardians prior to the minor’s participation in the activity. Minors may not participate in the activity until the parent/guardian completes and signs the form.
Adults in charge of activities that involve travel or overnight stays will take a copy of the Authorization to Consent to Treatment of Minor form with them in case of injury. If the completed Authorization to Consent to Treatment of Minor is not needed to obtain medical treatment for a minor, the campus department will destroy it at the conclusion of the activity or program involving the minor. If the completed Authorization to Consent to Treatment of Minor form is needed to obtain medical treatment for a minor, it should be retained for six years or until the minor’s twentieth birthday, whichever is longer. The Authorization to Consent to Treatment of Minor form may be preserved electronically after the activity ends, although if the department has had to rely on the form, the hard copy must be retained.
Departments sponsoring activities involving minors must distribute an Emergency Information & Contacts for Minor form to parents/guardians prior to the minor’s participation in the activity. Minors may not participate in the activity until the parent/guardian completes and signs the form. Departments will encourage parents/guardians to disclose, on the Emergency Information form or by other written means, any allergies, dietary restrictions, or other conditions the minor may have that the department should be aware of.
Departments should also encourage parents/guardians to disclose any medications the minor may need to take while attending the campus activity. If an adult’s assistance is needed in administering the medication, departments will ask parents/guardians to grant written permission for said assistance and, upon request, to demonstrate for departmental personnel the proper administration of the medication. It is important that the University employees supervising youth activities review this information and understand what it will require of them in the course of running the activity or program.
In addition, departments should require parents/guardians to show proof that their minor’s immunizations are up to date and, for programs with an outdoor or physical component, indicate the date of their minor’s last tetanus shot. A physician or school immunization record is acceptable documentation. This information is confidential and should only be shared with people who have a need to know.
Adults in charge of activities that involve travel or overnight stays will take a copy of the Emergency Information & Contacts form with them in case of injury. If the completed Emergency Information & Contacts for Minor form is not needed, the campus department will destroy it at the conclusion of the activity or program involving the minor. If the completed Emergency Information & Contacts for Minor form is needed to obtain medical treatment for a minor, it should be retained for six years or until the minor’s twentieth birthday, whichever is longer. The Emergency Information & Contacts for Minor form may be preserved electronically after the activity ends, although if the department had to rely on the form, the hard copy must be retained.
Prior to making any public use of a minor’s image, departments must obtain a signed Release & License to Use Image, Name and/or Voice form from the minors’ parents/guardians. Go to UCSB: Releases for more information.
A cover letter or memo to the parents/guardians can be used to explain the activity in detail and all that is entailed in their child’s participation in University sponsored activities or programs. Explain the scope and nature of the activity or program. Explain what is necessary in order for a child to participate. List the attachments to the letter that the parents must review and sign, e.g. Waiver of Liability, Authorization to Consent to Treatment, Emergency Information & Contacts for Minor, Participant Agreement, Itinerary, etc. Provide the parents/guardians with a list of the names and phone numbers of the University employees who are supervising the activity. Advise them of any meetings that will be held to discuss the activity and whether they are mandatory.
At the beginning of the program or activity department’s should consider whether all participants and their parents/guardians be required to attend a mandatory orientation meeting during which important activity or program issues are reviewed, the chain of communication is explained, and health, safety, and security issues are addressed. See Ex: Emergency Preparedness Plan for an example of how a department can establish a emergency communication preparedness plan in advance if travel is involved. Though the example involves foreign travel and may be therefore more complex than necessary for travel within the state, it shows how advance planning, especially with respect to communications, is how to prepare in advance for an emergency.
If the activity involves off-campus travel, the University now provides Travel Accident Insurance, free of charge, to participating faculty, staff, and students. Students participating in off-campus activities sponsored and supervised by the University are now covered worldwide, 24 hours a day when traveling. The adult in charge should enroll all participants, faculty, staff, and students, in the Travel Insurance Program. In addition to the standard travel insurance medical/accident coverage, this policy includes coverage for emergency medical evacuation and security extraction. For more information about UC Travel Insurance go to UCSB: Travel.
Departments should consider whether, as in any business relationship, it wouldn’t be useful to have an agreement in place that specifies the nature of the relationship between the minor and the University and the terms and conditions of the minor’s participation in the activity. The agreement can provide a brief summary of what the activity or program involves and whom the agreement is between; the parents/guardians can sign it as well as the minor. It should specify what is expected from the participant and what will warrant termination of the agreement and what termination entails. For examples of this kind of agreement, go to Ex: Participant Agreement and Ex: Trip Rules.
Go to Activities & Events – Volunteers for more information.
At UCSB, departments that use volunteers must complete and submit a Volunteer Information Form to the Workers’ Compensation Manager. The WC Manager will review the information on the form to determine if the volunteer applicant meets UC’s volunteer criteria and is eligible for volunteer status at UCSB. Registered volunteers are eligible for coverage under the University’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program.
Consider making it mandatory that all volunteers attend a mandatory orientation meeting in which the department reviews the terms and conditions of the volunteer’s participation, the importance of adherence to Best Practices, and the volunteer’s responsibility for the safety and security of the minors. Materials should be distributed at this meeting and a record kept of what documents were distributed. A record of what is discussed should be made. The department should make and retain a list of all attendees. (See Item Staff Training & Supervision, below).
All volunteers who participate in activities involving minors must undergo a criminal background check that involves a fingerprint check of criminal convictions. UCSB recommends that both Department of Justice and FBI background checks be conducted for individuals who have resided out of state. For more information on background checks, go to UCSB: BackgroundChecks.
Before a volunteer is allowed to participate in a campus activity involving minors, the department in charge of the event should also check the National Sex Offender Public Web Site to see whether the potential volunteer is a registered sex offender. If the proposed volunteer is listed as a sex offender, the volunteer may not participate in an activity involving minors. Check with UCSB Human Resources to make certain all requirements have been met.
Volunteers should read and be required to sign the Volunteer’s Code of Conduct form prior to participating in a campus activity involving minors. Failure to sign the Volunteer’s Code of Conduct or to take any training required by the campus department will disqualify a volunteer from participating in an activity involving minors.
Departments should consider whether it would be beneficial to have an agreement in place that defines the relationship between the volunteer and the University and the terms and conditions of the volunteer’s participation in the activity. The Agreement should describe scope and nature of the activity and what is expected of the volunteer.
All volunteers are required to sign a Waiver of Liability. Individuals who do not sign the waiver may not participate in the activity. (See Item #1 – UC Waiver of Liability, above).
In accordance with California Penal Code §11165.7(b), departments who use volunteers whose duties may qualify them as mandated reporters under CANRA are strongly encouraged to require the volunteers to take CANRA training and instructed to report any suspected child abuse or neglect as if they were mandated reporters to their supervisor, the UCSB Police, or to the University’s Whistleblower Hotline at 800-403-4744. (See Item #14 – CANRA, below).
Particularly if the activity involves off-campus travel, there is value in developing an itinerary that accounts for the minors’ locations and activities every hour of every day they are under University supervision. Provide locations addresses and phone numbers. Reference the Itinerary and attach it to the UC Waiver of Liability. Provide a place on the Itinerary where parents/guardians can sign, acknowledging their review and approval of the Itinerary. For an example of this kind of agreement, go to: Ex: Itinerary.
Both employee and volunteer staff should receive training before beginning work. Staff should meet with the Program supervisors to discuss the Program goals, what their responsibilities will be, what is allowed, what is not allowed, what the activities will be, the issues they may encounter and, in the case of problems, suggestions as to how they might respond. Minors - Best Practices should be reviewed. The training process should be documented, possibly in the form of a checklist for each staff person and volunteer who will participate showing that each has received certain training, documents, etc.
Staff should be supervised. A reporting system should be implemented that provides program supervisors with the information they need to know whether or not things are on track. A good reporting relationship between supervisors and staff is the best way to identify issues that have the potential to become problems before they become serious problems. All activities that staff and minors engage in must be vetted and approved by program supervisors. All supervision should be documented.
Verify that any employees or volunteers who have driving responsibilities are in possession of valid driver's licenses. For more information about transportation of minors, go to Minors – Best Practices.
All staff members and volunteers who will participate in activities involving minors must undergo a criminal background check that involves a fingerprint check of criminal convictions. UCSB recommends that both Department of Justice and FBI background checks be conducted for individuals who have resided out of state. For more information on background checks, see #8 – Volunteers, above or go to UCSB: BackgroundChecks.
CANRA is the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) is a California law requiring certain people to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect. The complete statute can be found online at PENAL CODE SECTION 11164-11174.3 - Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act. The Act requires that employers of Mandated Reporters (as defined by the Act) promote identification and reporting of child abuse or neglect. For more information on how the requirements CANRA imposes on departments that sponsor activities involving minors, go to Minors – CANRA.