Promoting the Safety and Welfare of Minors on Campus
It is estimated that, on an annual basis, more than 40,000 minors, 17 and under, attend programs 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.
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.
“There is an extensive breadth and depth of youth programs at Georgia Tech,” said Kelly Cross, compliance specialist for Youth Programs at Georgia Tech. “Through conversations with program organizers, internship supervisors, building managers, and human resources representatives, it is clear that there is a passion for excellence in youth programming and outreach at Georgia Tech.”
According to Cross, the exciting work occurring in these programs also presents unique risks. To help mitigate these risks, Youth Programs has been actively implementing the Youth Programs Policy which mandates program registration. In addition, the office has also been developing program operating processes to assist all involved in the working with minors pursue excellence, regardless of individual areas of expertise.
By registering, programs that work with minors will proactively receive information on the resources and policies developed for the protection of minors and for the program volunteers and workers. Programs are required to register every calendar year, and failure to do so may result in the cancellation of programming.
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 organizers and managers of programs that work with minors — on and off campus — to better understand their roles and responsibilities.
This February, online information sessions (see schedule in sidebar) will be conducted to clarify policies, legal requirements, and how to register a program.