Safety of Minors
Frequently Asked Questions
- I am an instructor with PSEO students in my class. Will I be required to undergo a background check and complete training?
Faculty and other teaching personnel who only interact with minors who are registered students in credit-bearing courses (for example, PSEO students) are not required to undergo the criminal background checks or to satisfy the training requirements of this policy. Review Administrative Policy: Background Checks and Verifications to see if a background check is required independent of this policy, such as during initial hiring
- I have a program involving minors that includes an overnight stay. Will all program staff be required to take the training and complete a background check before participating?
- I am a non-University organization renting space at the University. I do not currently have a training course. May I use the University's training module?
Yes. The U of M Training Hub allows guest access. Non-University organizations may also use this link. The program will send a confirmation of completion to a supervisor if the user clicks through the end of the program.
- I want to use a release or waiver for the minors in my program. What form should I use?
Use “Release and Waiver: Safety of Minors”, OGC-SC250, available in the U of M Contracts Library, under Other Agreements, Waivers & Releases. If you think you need something different for your program please contact the Office of the General Counsel at 612-624-4100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I use volunteers in my program, both adults and minors. Is there a document we should use to formalize their role?
Please ask all volunteers to read and sign OGC-SC214, found in the U of M Contract Library, under Other Agreements, Volunteer Agreements.This is appropriate for youth volunteering in offices, lab or research programs.
- I have a high school student volunteering in my office as part of a high school class requirement or service project. Does the policy apply?
Yes. Accepting high school volunteers in an office is considered a program primarily intended for minors, and the policy requirements apply.
- I am a faculty member who has a high school student volunteering in my lab. Does the policy apply?
Yes, the policy applies to the program of allowing minors in the lab (not the overall research lab or program.)
- I represent a U of M student organization. Does this policy apply to us?
Please contact the Student Activities office, which can help your group determine whether the policy applies, and how to comply. The answer depends in part on the classification of your student group.
- I am conducting research that involves a program for youth and that has been approved by the IRB. Does the policy apply to my research program?
Yes, if the research involves a UMN program primarily intended for minors, IRB review and oversight does not address the safety issues covered in the Safety of Minors policy. The program should be registered, and background checks, training and health and safety requirements are applicable.
- Are the required background checks the same as the UMN background checks conducted on new hires?
Yes, they are the same background checks. A background check conducted upon hiring can serve as the Safety of Minors background check if it was conducted within 3 years. Background checks must be conducted every three years to allow continued work with minors. UMN employment policies may require a background check to be conducted more frequently if an employee changes jobs or a volunteer is hired as an employee.
- Does the policy apply to treating minors in UMN medical clinics?
- Where do I find more information on complying with the policy?
Information and guidance, including links to relevant documents, can be found on the College Readiness Consortium website, or contact Jazmin Danielson, Youth Safety and Compliance Manager, for assistance.
- If youth participants bring allowable medicine with them, what do we do? Can medical staff administer medicine to youth, or must they be self-administered by youth?
Medicine should be kept in a secure location not accessible to youth such as a locked storage box or a backpack in the possession of a staff person. Yes, a staff medical professional can administer medicine with appropriate family permission, but not staff without medical credentials.
- If a youth participant is unable to self-administer a medicine due to a disability, can a staff person do it?
UMN programs must provide reasonable accommodations for youth participants. Contact your campus Disability Resources office, or Jazmin Danielson, Youth Safety and Compliance Manager, for assistance.
- How do I know who has completed a background check? Who keeps track of them?
Program leaders are responsible for keeping track of and documenting completed background checks for staff. Completed background checks of employees are recorded in PeopleSoft and unit HR staff can determine if a staff member has passed a background check within three years. For volunteers, program leaders should keep copies of emails reporting successfully passing a background check.
Minors in University of Minnesota Research Labs
- I want to employ a high school student in my research lab. What do I need to do?
The Administrative Policy: Safety of Minors covers U of M programs intended primarily for minors (see definition of program in Administrative Policy: Safety of Minors). Employment is not a program primarily intended for minors, so the policy does not apply to hiring minors. We do recommend that lab staff avoid being alone with a minor. When one-on-one consultation is needed for discipline, mentoring or instructional purposes, the conversation should take place within view (not hearing distance) of others and another staff member should be aware that this private conversation is taking place.
DEHS's safety policy for minors in labs, does apply. Contact your HR rep.
- I want to have a high school student volunteer in my research lab. What do I need to do?
If the U of M (through a college or department, or individual faculty member) arranges for minors to volunteer in a research lab, the Administrative Policy: Safety of Minors applies. The department or other administrative unit can file one annual registration for the “program” of individual faculty hosting minors as volunteers in research labs. The registration includes an attestation that training and background checks “have been or will be” completed before the program (i.e., a student entering a research lab) begins.
The Administrative Policy: Safety of Minors requires program staff to go through training and background checks. Program staff are defined in the policy as "All individuals, paid or unpaid, who work or volunteer in a covered program and regularly interact with, supervise, chaperone or otherwise oversee minors in program activities or recreational and/or residential facilities. This includes faculty, staff, volunteers, (including student employees) and other individuals." In some labs, all staff will "regularly interact with, supervise, chaperone or otherwise oversee minors," and in others, perhaps only two people may fit that definition. There need to be at least two trained and background checked people because the policy requires that there be two program staff in the vicinity at all times, and the DEHS policy on minors in labs requires adult supervision at all times.
Note that minors are not allowed to travel out of state or overnight as part of University business.
Accountability for implementation of the Adminstrative Policy: Safety of Minors lies within the normal administrative lines. Business judgments may be different for a group of elementary students versus a single high school senior who has received lab safety training.