Programs Serving Minors on Campus
At Columbus State University, we pride ourselves on cultivating a safe, nurturing, and inspiring environment for all members of our community. Our Programs Serving Minors program reflects our commitment to ensuring the well-being and security of minors who visit, participate, or engage in activities on our campus.
The University hosts a multitude of programs involving minors, ranging from academic enrichment programs to sports camps. These programs offer invaluable opportunities for minors to explore new areas of interest, enhance their skills, and engage with our vibrant University community. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the distinct needs and vulnerabilities of minors in these settings.
Our Programs Serving Minors program underscores the University's dedication to creating safe spaces for minors, ensuring their positive experiences on our campus, and upholding their rights to protection. The University recognizes the responsibility it holds when minors are entrusted to its care and aim to foster a community where every individual feels secure and respected.
- Our Policy
- Background Checks
- Code of Conduct
- Liability Insurance Requirements
- Mandatory Training
- Program Orientation for Minors
- Ratio Requirements
- Records Retention
- Release and Waiver of Liability Form
- Responding to Injuries, Medical Needs, and Other Incidents
- Suspected Abuse - Mandatory Reporting Requirements
- Training of Staff and Volunteers
- Transportation for Off-Campus Program/Activity
- University and Additional Forms
The Programs Serving Minors policy (PDF) provides comprehensive guidelines and procedures aimed at maintaining the safety, well-being, and rights of minors on our campus. It provides a framework of behavior and standards that all members of our community are expected to abide by. This resource page is intended to provide further information and guidance on a wide range of areas, including appropriate interactions with minors, reporting procedures for any potential policy violations, and requirements for program registration, among others. It is essential that all members of our community familiarize themselves with these policies and commit to their implementation.
All programs and activities involving minors must be registered by the Program Director or Responsible University Official on an annual basis. The University has created an online submission form, Program Serving Minors Registration and Approval Form, that will automatically route to individuals necessary to approve your submission (e.g., department heads, Human Resources, Facilities, Risk Management, Legal Affairs, etc.). Each of these departments may contact you following your submission to voice questions or concerns. Upon approval, you will receive an email confirming the same.
The mandatory registration requirement for all programs involving minors is a critical element in our approach to maintaining a secure and supportive environment on our campus. By registering programs via this form, we can maintain a comprehensive oversight of all activities involving minors, ensuring that they meet our stringent standards for safety, supervision, and educational value. Registration also helps the University track and manage the number of minors on campus at any given time and coordinate resources accordingly. It allows for a more efficient response in case of emergencies and ensures that all programs are properly staffed and supervised.
By requiring program registration, we can proactively manage potential risks, enhance the quality and safety of our programs, and ensure that every minor's experience on our campus is not only enriching but also secure and well-structured. This registration requirement underlines our commitment to transparency, accountability, and the optimal functioning of all our programs that cater to minors.
All records related to your program/activity should be retained in accordance with Board of Regents policies on record retention.
- Copies of all required forms and documentation pertaining to minors should be retained
for a period of three (3) years after the minor reaches the age of eighteen (18) and should include the following:
- Registration information
- Emergency Contact
- Medical conditions, allergies, and medications the minor may have
- Waiver and release of liability (including photo/video and transportation consent)
- Records pertaining to program staff and volunteers should be retained for five (5) years and should include:
- Confirmation of program/activity employment
- Signed volunteer agreement (including waiver and release from liability)
- Consent to conduct a background check
- Acknowledgment/execution of Code of Conduct
- Completion of training
All employees and volunteers participating in programs and activities involving minors must undergo training on an annual basis. The training covers a range of topics, including understanding the unique needs of minors, recognizing signs of potential abuse, and knowing the correct protocols for reporting suspicions of maltreatment. Secondly, this requirement ensures a consistent standard of care across all university programs and activities involving minors. It ensures that all individuals who interact with minors on our campus do so with the highest level of responsibility, awareness, and competency. Lastly, mandatory training underscores the value our university places on the safety and well-being of minors. It sends a clear message that the protection of minors is not incidental but integral to our operations and our ethical commitments.
- Program Directors or Responsible University Officials - must undergo training by the Office of Risk Management on an annual basis to receive approval to conduct a program or activity involving minors. Such training will ensure that the individual primarily responsible for the program or activity understands his or her obligations under the Programs Serving Minors Policy, including his or her obligation to train those individuals working within the program or activity.
- Other Employees and Volunteers - must be trained by the Program Director or his/her designee.
Training of Staff and Volunteers
As Program Director, you are responsible for maintaining and implementing a training program for all staff and volunteers working directly with non-student minors that addresses mandatory reporting requirements, responsibilities and expectations, relevant institutional policies, safety and security procedures, and Staff Code of Conduct. It is recommended that each youth program have a pre-camp training session for all staff and volunteers of that individual program which includes relevant topics such as:
- Purpose and mission of the camp
- Assignments and responsibilities of staff
- Planned scheduled of events
- Assignments and responsibilities of staff
- How to maintain a positive, respectful and encouraging environment
- Social media and privacy rules
- Reporting and responding to incidents of misconduct
- Preventing bullying, hazing, or sexual harassment
- Staff Code of Conduct (PDF)
- Maintaining constant supervision
- Detecting and reporting suspected abuse
- *Shine a Light video by United Educators (9 minutes) highlights child safety and the importance of safety awareness in programs involving minors.
- Resolving conflicts between participants
- Cell phone and electronics policy
Training of staff and volunteers should be documented and maintained in a secure environment.
Program Orientation for Minors
Program Directors must develop a comprehensive orientation program for all minor participants. This orientation is not just a formality, but a vital step towards ensuring a successful, safe, and enriching experience for our young participants. Components of the orientation should include:
- Introduction of staff and volunteers and the specific roles they will play
- The rules of conduct and expectations they should adhere to and possible sanctions
- Discussion of privacy issues and personal boundaries
- Safety protocols relevant to specific activities
- Provide opportunity for minor participants to ask questions and clear up any doubts or concerns
- Overview of the program and activities to ensure minors know what to expect from the program
- Emergency reporting procedures for any problems or concerns
- Guidelines for use of facilities, including discussion of any restricted areas
- Discussion of rules and guidelines regarding use of digital devices and social media
By initiating the program experience with a thorough, thoughtful orientation, we can help ensure a positive, productive, and safe environment for every minor participant. Remember, each minor's experience with our university could be a pivotal step in their academic and personal development journey, and our comprehensive orientation program is the first step in making that experience truly impactful.
Suspected Abuse - Mandatory Reporting Requirements
All CSU employees and volunteers who have reasonable cause to believe that suspected child abuse has occurred shall immediately report the suspected abuse to the CSU Police Department and the appropriate supervisor or Program/Activity Director, who shall take immediate action. This mandate is vital to protect the safety and welfare of minors on our campus and ensures that any signs of potential harm are promptly addressed and necessary interventions are swiftly implemented. By making reporting not just a responsibility, but a requirement, we ensure that potential instances of abuse are not overlooked or ignored. In doing so, we can provide a safe, secure environment for all minors under our care, affirming their rights, dignity, and safety.
Do not attempt to investigate a matter further or gather additional information before reporting. If you suspect child abuse or simply have an idea or uneasy feeling about a possible abuse situation, immediately report the situation to ALL of the following:
- CSU Police Department at (706) 507-8911 or 911(emergency);
- The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services at 1-855-GACHILD (Report to GDFCS must be made within 24 hours!)
- The Program/Activity Director, Supervisor, or other responsible University Official; AND
For more information about Mandatory Reporting Requirements, please click on the links below.
- Department of Human Services, Division of Family & Child Services, Child Abuse & Neglect
- University System of Georgia, About Programs Serving Minors
- To sign up for the Free Training, visit Pro Solution's Mandated Reporters: Critical Links in Protecting Children in Georgia.
Code of Conduct
All employees and volunteers participating in a program or activity involving minors must sign and agree to abide by the University's CSU Code of Conduct (PDF).
The Code of Conduct (PDF) serves as a blueprint for all interactions involving minors within our University community. It is a fundamental tool in ensuring that the objective of protecting the safety and well-being of minors is consistently prioritized and achieved. This Code provides clear expectations for appropriate behavior, boundaries, and communication between adults and minors. It not only acts as a preventive measure against misconduct but also fosters a culture of respect, care, and responsibility.
Adherence to the Code of Conduct (PDF) is non-negotiable and signifies our unwavering commitment to the security and dignity of every minor who steps onto our campus. By clearly defining and enforcing this Code, we can protect minors from harm, promote their positive development, and guarantee their safe and beneficial experiences within our University.
Section V(E) of the CSU Programs Serving Minors Policy (PDF) requires all staff and volunteers to successfully undergo background checks by the CSU Human Resources Department. Existing employees of CSU should have already completed a background check. Staff and volunteers hired specifically for summer programs and activities must successfully pass a background check before being allowed to work and supervise minors. It is a direct violation of CSU policy to do otherwise. Please contact the HR Department if any staff or volunteer member has not undergone a successful background check.
Section IV(D) of the CSU Programs Serving Minors Policy (PDF) requires certain ratios of staff to minors: Please ensure that the program or activity meets the recommended ratios required by the Policy:
- For minors under age 6, a ratio of 6:1
- For minors ages 6 to 8, a ratio of 8:1
- For minors ages 9-14, a ratio of 10:1
- For minors ages 15-17, a ratio of 12:1
- For events that vary in ages, a ratio of 10:1
Liability Insurance Requirements
The Programs Serving Minors Policy requires third parties to obtain a general liability insurance policy that names CSU as an additional insured in order to conduct a program or activity on campus. Campus facilities booked through University Support Services should have a liability policy in place. If, for some reason, no policy has been obtained, a third-party liability policy can also be obtained through a Tenants and Users Liability Insurance Policy (TULIP).
Transportation for Off-Campus Program/Activity
The CSU Programs Serving Minors Policy requires the use of University-authorized vehicles driven by University-authorized drivers when transporting program/activity participants, including minors, and must be authorized by the CSU Office of Transportation.
University-authorized vehicles that are transporting minors should always have two adults in the vehicle. One adult is responsible for driving; the other is responsible for supervising the children. Use of private passenger vehicles to transport minors is strictly prohibited.
Finally, no child should be transported in a University-authorized vehicle without the consent of the parent or guardian.
Responding to Injuries, Medical Needs, and Other Incidents
Ensuring the health and well-being of minors participating in our programs is one of our top priorities at Columbus State University. It is crucial that all staff and volunteers are prepared to respond appropriately and efficiently in the event of a medical emergency or if there is a need to administer first aid. The following best practices are designed to guide these responses.
- Preparedness - Before any program begins, gather essential information about each participant's medical conditions, allergies, medications, and special needs. This information should be readily accessible to authorized personnel throughout the program. Additionally, ensure that first aid kits are available and fully stocked in all program locations. Staff and volunteers should be familiar with their contents and how to use them.
- Training - All staff and volunteers should have up-to-date training in basic first aid and CPR. They should be familiar with common medical emergencies that can occur in the age group they are working with and know how to respond appropriately. This includes recognizing signs of distress, knowing when to call for medical assistance, and understanding how to perform basic first-aid procedures.
- Emergency Response - In the event of a medical emergency:
- Assess the situation: Check the minor's condition and determine the severity of the problem. Is the minor conscious and breathing? Is there any obvious injury?
- Call for help: If the situation is severe or life-threatening, call 911 immediately. Inform them of the minor's condition, your location, and any relevant medical history or allergies, if known.
- Administer First Aid: If trained to do so, provide first aid until medical professionals arrive. Do not attempt any procedures beyond your level of training.
- Notify the appropriate university personnel: After ensuring the minor is receiving the necessary care, inform your supervisor and the Minors on Campus Program office about the situation.
- Notify the minor's parent or guardian: As soon as it is feasible, the minor's parent or guardian should be notified about the situation and the steps that have been taken.
- First Aid Administration - If a minor needs first aid, then:
- Keep calm and reassure the minor: Your calm presence can help stabilize the situation and reassure the minor.
- Administer first aid: If trained to do so, administer appropriate first aid. If you are unsure, consult with a health professional before proceeding.
- Notify the appropriate university personnel and the minor's parent or guardian: Even if the situation is not severe, it is important to keep these parties informed.
- Remember, the health and safety of minors participating in our programs is of utmost importance. By following these best practices, we can ensure that we are prepared to respond effectively to any medical needs that may arise.
- Incident Reporting Requirements - Minor injuries such as cuts and scrapes that do not require off-campus medical attention need not be formally reported to the Office of Risk Management. More serious injuries (such as those that prevent a minor from participating in a program or activity) or which require off-campus medical attention should be reported at the earliest possible date to the Office of Risk Management via the University's Incident Report and Claim Form.
Release and Waiver of Liability Form
All participants in a CSU program/activity should sign or agree to be bound to a release/waiver form not only because they serve to minimize the University's legal exposure but because they can also be used as a tool to inform participants of the dangers associated with certain activities. Properly worded, a Release/Waiver, by its very nature, can inform the parties that the activity carries the risk of injury. Visit the CSU's General Release, Waiver, and Covenant Not to Sue page, which contains COVID-related release language as well.
- Program Serving Minors Registration and Approval Form
- CSU Code of Conduct (PDF)
- Waiver and Release from Liability Forms (contains photo/video release, medical care, and transportation consent)
Additional Resources and Forms
The University System of Georgia provides a host of additional resources to support the successful organization and management of various programs and activities, including summer camps.