Child Protection Policy
Delta State University is committed to providing and maintaining a safe and secure environment for all individuals, including children. Because additional measures may be required to ensure the safety and security of children, the University has adopted this child protection policy.
This policy applies to all programs and activities hosted by or connected to the University in which children participate. It also applies to all programs or activities located on campus or on property owned or leased by the University.
Employee: An individual is an employee for federal employment tax purposes if the individual has the status of an employee under the “usual common law rules.” These rules provide that generally the relationship of employer and employee exists when the employer has the right to control and direct the individual who performs the service, not only as to results, but also details and means.
Child and/or Minor: A person who is under the age of eighteen (18).
Authorized Adult: Program Staff eighteen (18) years or older who supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee Minors in Programs. This includes but is not limited to, faculty, staff, volunteers, graduate and undergraduate students, interns, employees of temporary employment agencies, and independent contractors/consultants.
Programs: Programs and/or group activities designed for, marketed for, and which include Minors as participants whether offered by various academic or other units of the University or by non-University groups using University facilities.
Program(s) do not include:
- private lessons or other instruction offered by individuals using University facilities;
- activities that require a Guardian to be present at all times;
- on-campus events sponsored by an accredited educational institution which has its own policies to supervise and protect Minors;
- athletics competitions which involve no significant, substantive programming beyond the competition itself;
- interaction with Minors in the context of curricular, practical training supervised by university faculty;
- off-campus clinical or practicum experiences supervised by a third party entity;
- research involving Minors using research protocols approved by the University’s Institutional Review Board.
Program Director: The individual employed by the Sponsoring Unit responsible for the administration of any University-sponsored or University-affiliated Program.
Program Staff: All persons who participate in conducting a Program.
Guardian: A Minor’s parent, legal guardian, or other person over the age of 18 who has been designated by a Minor’s parent or legal guardian to be responsible for the Minor.
Residential Program(s): Any University offered or University sponsored Program that involves housing Minors overnight.
Sponsoring Unit: The academic or administrative unit of the University that offers a Program, partners with a non-University group to offer a Program, or approves a Program’s use of University facilities.
No form of child abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual will be permitted or tolerated under any circumstances whatsoever. Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare can occur through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual misconduct or attempted sexual misconduct. It can also occur through negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child, which would include the failure to provide adequate nourishment, medical treatment, supervision, clothing, or shelter.
Any employee, volunteer, student, staff, faculty, or anyone else affiliated with the University having reasonable cause to suspect that a child is neglected or abused must immediately report the activity to the Mississippi Department of Human Services (DHS) by calling the DHS Hotline (800-222-8000) and provide written notification to the Department of Human Services (DHS) as soon thereafter as possible. See Miss. Code Ann. § 43-21-353 (as amended).
In addition to the legal requirement, the University requires anyone who has reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect to immediately report the suspected abuse or neglect to the University Police Department either in person or by telephone at 662-846-4155. In addition, an individual suspecting child abuse or neglect should either file an EthicsPoint complaint or report the suspected child abuse or neglect to the Office of Internal Audit, a Vice President, Human Resources Management, or the Vice President for Student Affairs.
In deciding whether or not to report an incident or situation of suspected abuse or neglect, it is not required that you have proof that abuse or neglect has occurred. Any uncertainty in deciding to report suspected abuse or neglect should be resolved in favor of making a good faith report.
The University has in effect a policy requiring background checks on all employees who are hired to work at the University. In addition, all individuals who have contact with minors, regardless of their date of employment, should have a background check. This group includes, but is not limited to, employees, student workers, graduate assistants, post-doctoral, and rehired retiree positions. For more information, please see Pre-Employment Background Checks.
Volunteers who will work with children on a prolonged or reoccurring basis should have a background check on file with the department with which they are volunteering.
The department in which the service is occurring is responsible for requiring a background check be on file.
Camps, Programs, Activities, Locations Involving Minors
Any unit sponsoring a program involving children or allowing the use of its facilities by minors should consider whether further training on preventing abuse or additional procedures governing staffing patterns and interactions between minors and adults are needed.
All contracts with non-University entities hosting events on campus should require such entities to properly address such elements as criminal background checks, staffing patterns, training, and insurance/liability.
- One-on-One Contact: No person 18 years of age or older shall have One-on-One Contact with Minors.
- If any person witnesses a violation of this policy, such as One-on-One Contact, or anything that gives rise to concern for the health or safety of a Minor,
that person shall immediately notify the University’s Human Resources Department (662-846-4035) or Campus Police (662-846-4155).
- Multiple University units either operate programs, host programs, or permit third parties to use University facilities for programs involving minors. All of these entities should carefully review all programs which include participation by minors, or locations they control that are frequented by minors, to determine whether additional training or protocols may be needed to help prevent child abuse. Procedures should be in place to ensure the wellbeing of children. For example, in all instances, units should prohibit or strictly limit staff and volunteers from being alone with children, especially in a place that is isolated or not easily visible to others. All Sponsoring Units offering or approving a Program which involves Minors shall:
- Follow all University policies and other laws or regulations applicable to Program activities.
- Require all Sponsoring Units to train Program Staff concerning the requirements of this Policy.
- Require that all Minors age 4 and under are accompanied by the Minor’s Guardian, unless the Program is a licensed day care facility.
- Ensure that no Minor age 8 and under participates in a Residential Program.
- Ensure adequate supervision of Minors while they participate in any Program. All Program activities involving Minors must be supervised by at least two or more Authorized Adults. Some factors to consider in determining “adequate supervision” are the number, age, and gender of participants, the activity(ies) involved, and age, gender, and experience of the Authorized Adult. The ratio of Authorized Adults supervising Program participants shall meet the following during any Program activities:
- One Authorized Adult for every eight Minors between ages 5 and 12
- One Authorized Adult for every twelve Minors between ages 13 to 17
For Residential Programs, during those times the Program participants are not engaged in Program activities, including at night, the minimum ratio of Authorized Adults supervising Program participants are:
- One Authorized Adult for every eight Minors between 5 to 12
- One Authorized Adult for every twelve Minors between 13 to 17
These ratios shall not be required for non-residential Programs when Minors are brought to and supervised on campus by a representative of the school the Minors attend.
These ratios shall not be required for classes that are offered for credit by an accredited educational institution in University classrooms located in academic buildings during normal business hours.
- Require Sponsoring Units offering or approving a Program to, at all times, designate an Authorized Adult at least 21 years of age to be on-call and accessible to Program participants at all times.
- Programs which include a RESIDENTIAL component must adopt and implement policies for proper supervision of Minors in University housing, including policies requiring the following:
i.) Written permission signed by the parent or legal guardian for the Minor to reside in University housing.
ii.) An age-appropriate curfew for the participants, but in no case later than midnight.
iii.) In-room visitation restricted to participants of the same gender.
iv.) Guests of participants (other than a parent/legal guardian and other Program participants) restricted to visitation in the building lobby and/or floor lounges, and only during approved hours specified by the Program.
v.) Compliance with all security measures and procedures specified by the DSU Department of Student Housing and the University Police Department.
vi.) Separate sleeping accommodations for adults and Minors other than the Minors’ parents, legal guardians, or other members of Minors’ immediate family.
- RESIDENTIAL Programs and Programs which involve STRENUOUS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY shall:
i.) Establish a procedure for the notification of the Minor’s parent or legal guardian in case of an emergency, including medical or behavioral problems, natural disasters, or other significant Program disruptions. Authorized Adults with the Program as well as participants and their parent or legal guardians must be advised of this procedure in writing prior to the Program.
ii.) Require the Program participant to provide the Sponsoring Unit a Medical Treatment Authorization form. All forms must include the following:
a) A statement informing the parent/legal guardian that the University does not provide medical insurance to cover medical care for the Minor (unless the Program provides such insurance).
b) A statement authorizing the release of medical information (HIPAA) and authorizing emergency treatment in case the parent/legal guardian cannot be reached for permission.
c) A list of any physical, mental or medical conditions the Minor may have, including any allergies that could impact his/her participation in the Program.
iii.) Provide a list of all Program participants and a directory of Program Staff to the University Police Department. This list shall include: participant’s name; local room assignment (if applicable); gender, age, address, and phone number(s) of parent or legal guardian, as well as emergency contact information. This list must also include contact information for the Program Director.
iv.) Adopt a written policy with delineated procedures concerning first aid, medication, inhalers, and epinephrine (“epi”) pens. Medicine may be distributed by Program Staff, under the following conditions:
a) The Minor’s parent or legal guardian must provide written authorization for each administration of any medicine.
b) The Minor’s parent or legal guardian must provide the medicine in its original pharmacy container labeled with the participant’s name, medicine name, dosage and timing of consumption. Over-the-counter medications must be provided in their manufacturers’ container.
c) Medicine should be kept in an appropriate and secure location.
d) A record showing the date, time, and signature of person who administered or supervised each administration of medicine must be kept for 90 days.
e) Any medicine the participant cannot self-administer must be stored and administered by a licensed healthcare professional associated with the campus, or if no one is available, arrangements must be made with another health care professional in advance of the participant’s arrival.
f) Personal “epi” pens and inhalers may be carried by the participant during activities.
- If Program Staff is suspected of assault or abuse against a Minor, he or she shall immediately discontinue any further Program participation until such allegation has been satisfactorily resolved.
Responsible Party/Office: Office of Human Resources
- Miss. Code Ann. § 43-21-353 (as amended 2012).
- Pre-Employment Background Checks
Policy Effective Date/Cabinet Approval: 03/03/2014