Promoting the Safety and Welfare of Minors on Campus
It is estimated that, on an annual basis, more than 40,000 minors, age 17 and under, attend a program sponsored by the Institute or conducted on campus. A special duty of care and supervision is required to protect Tech’s youngest learners. To help ensure a safe and healthy environment for all who participate, volunteer, or work in these youth programs, the University System of Georgia (USG) and the Institute are requiring that all minor-focused programs be registered at Georgia Tech’s Youth Programs website youthprograms.gatech.edu.
Youth programs are activities for non-student minors organized and run by Georgia Tech individuals or units, outside of regular academic programs. These programs include but are not limited to working with minors in labs, internships, student organization youth events, camps on campus, and mentoring/tutoring in local schools. Campus/lab tours and school field trips to the Georgia Tech campus are generally not considered youth programs.
“The breadth and depth of youth programs at Georgia Tech are extensive,” said Kelly Cross, youth programs compliance specialist at Georgia Tech. “Through conversations with program organizers, internship supervisors, building managers, and human resources representatives, it is clear to me that there is a passion for excellence in youth programming and outreach at Georgia Tech.”
According to Cross, the exciting work occurring in Georgia Tech Youth Programs also presents unique risks to manage. To help mitigate these risks, Youth Programs has been actively implementing the Youth Programs Policy, which mandates program registration, program operating processes that can include background checks, minors in labs approval, record retention, and more to assist all involved in working with minors, regardless of individual areas of expertise.
Programs are required to register every calendar year, 30 days in advance of the program start date. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of programming. By registering, programs that work with minors will proactively receive information on the resources and policies developed for the protection of the minors and the program staff.
In addition to overseeing the registration of programs, Georgia Tech’s Youth Programs has been working with the campus community to develop resources to further assist youth program organizers who work with minors – on and off campus – to better understand their roles and responsibilities.
This spring, online information sessions (see schedule in sidebar) will be conducted to clarify policies, process requirements, and how to register a program. Trainings will focus on key areas of responsibility for organizers of youth programs broadly, and specific sessions will also focus on requirements when minors want to intern or participate in research activities at Tech.