IU has reviewed and updated its Programs Involving Children policy.
The updated policy, announced April 11 in an IU press release, includes input from experts at the Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, the Indiana Department of Child Services and the IU School of Medicine to create a more comprehensive procedural outline.
First established in 2012, the Programs Involving Children policy is crucial to IU-sponsored programs as well as programs run by external organizations that use IU facilities. It includes any programs that involve children, such as camps, workshops, clubs, teams and tours, according to the release.
Staff members from public safety, policy administration and the general counsel’s office have traveled to every IU campus to consult with employees about policy revisions.
The purpose of revising the policy was to create the safest possible atmosphere for children participating in university-sponsored programs.
“DCS’ mission is to protect children from abuse and neglect,” said LaTrece Thompson, deputy director of staff development at the Indiana Department of Child Services, in the release. “One way we do this is by partnering with respected organizations and institutions like Riley at IU Health and the IU School of Medicine to educate and train our communities to recognize and report abuse and neglect.”
Underlined aspects of the policy include points about child abuse, background checks and rules and procedures.
All faculty, academic employees, staff, students and volunteers must comply with Indiana law under the revised policy, meaning if any member of one of those groups suspects an incident of child abuse or neglect, they must report it to the state Child
Protective Services department or local law enforcement.
When working with children in any capacity, participants are required to comply with background checks, which include criminal history and sex offender registry checks.
These must be completed at least every five years.
IU also must maintain up-to-date lists detailing programs they sponsor involving children, including locations and contact information. These programs must be equipped with clear rules and procedures in regards to child safety. These details span from weather emergencies to transportation complications.
Violating any of these aspects of the new policy could result in sanctions, which could include the cancelation of programs and disciplinary actions for individuals.
Almost 900 programs involving children across all IU campuses have been registered with the Office of Public Safety since the policy was established.
“I appreciate the work of the many IU units involved in putting the policy into action,” said John Applegate, IU executive vice president for university academic affairs. “The policy has had broad impact and has improved awareness of the number and range of IU programs that serve children across the state.”