The University of Illinois System recognizes a fundamental obligation to protect minor children in its care; the youngest and potentially most vulnerable members of its community. Accordingly, the U of I System has adopted certain safeguards intended to better protect minor children when they are on U of I System premises participating in U of I System programs and activities designed to include minors, or when they are in the care of Members of the University Community (i.e. personnel, volunteers, and contractors). The U of I System and Members of the University Community shall comply with applicable federal and state laws to provide a safe environment in which children can learn, discover, and achieve their full potential. In particular, University Personnel shall comply with the “Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act” (ANCRA).
All Members of the University Community are expected to be familiar with and comply with the provisions of this Policy and any related U of I System or university policies and/or procedures, as applicable. In addition, non-university organizations and entities that operate non-university programs and activities on campus (i.e. Registered Student Organizations, lessees, etc.) shall be familiar with this Policy and shall take appropriate precautions to protect minors participating in or attending their programs and activities.
II. Website Address For This Policy
This policy and related procedures are published on the System Human Resource Services website at http://www.hr.uillinois.edu/ in the Policy Library section.
Duty to Cooperate - Members of the University Community shall cooperate with investigations of alleged child abuse/neglect, including DCFS initiated, law enforcement initiated, and/or internal investigations. All Members of the University Community shall also cooperate with investigations of alleged violations of this Policy and any applicable university procedures.
Duty to Complete Education and Acknowledgement; Sign Certificate
- Upon hire, all Members of the University Community must complete the U of I System-approved education program(s) and sign a certification acknowledging their understanding of reporting responsibilities.
- All University Personnel must complete recertification training as required by the ANCRA legislation on a cycle that the U of I System deems constructive. The retraining cycle may require that University Personnel complete training more frequently than prescribed in the legislation.
- Duty to Report
- To University Police: Members of the University Community shall report suspected child abuse or neglect to the appropriate University of Illinois Police Department (UIC: 312-996-2830; UIS: 217-206-6690; UIUC: 217-333-1216). In emergencies or when an incident involves injury, Members of the University Community are expected to call 911 and/or the university police.
- To DCFS: In addition, University Personnel who have reasonable cause to believe that a minor known to them in his or her professional or official U of I System capacity may be an abused or neglected child must immediately make a report to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) at 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873) as soon as abuse or neglect is suspected. In addition to making a verbal report to DCFS, the reporting party must follow any additional directions given by DCFS to complete the report. Non-personnel Members of the University Community are encouraged to make a report.
- The duty to report includes but is not limited to the requirement that U of I System personnel report any suspected abuse that they witness occurring on U of I System premises or at a U of I System-sponsored event.
- The duty to report includes both (a) minors who are currently enrolled at the U of I System or accepted for enrollment (e.g., a 17 year-old student enrolled as an undergraduate); and (b) minors who are not enrolled or accepted for enrollment as students at the U of I System but who participate in a U of I System program or activity designed to include minors or who otherwise become known to U of I System personnel in their official or professional capacity.
- To Medical Examiner or Coroner: University Personnel who have reasonable cause to suspect that a minor has died as a result of abuse or neglect shall immediately report his/her suspicion to the appropriate medical examiner or coroner. Non-personnel Members of the University Community are encouraged to make the report referenced herein.
- Duty to Submit to Background Checks
- Members of the University Community who are responsible for the supervision or care of children, or whose duties would require close contact and/or alone time with minors who are not enrolled or accepted for enrollment at the U of I System, must undergo a criminal background check and sex offender registry check in accordance with university procedures. Universities may require checks from other individuals as deemed appropriate.
- Each university must establish policies and procedures for conducting background checks of individuals responsible for the supervision or care of children, or whose duties would require close contact and/or alone time with minors who are not enrolled or accepted for enrollment at the U of I System. At a minimum, such policies must require checks for Members of the University Community involved in programs or activities designed to include minors who: 1) are directors or supervisors of such programs or activities; 2) those whose duties require close contact and/or alone time with minors as part of their job responsibilities or role in the program or activity; and 3) those who stay overnight with the minors as part of their job responsibilities or role in the program or activity. The universities may adopt applicable state or federal background check standards or requirements for certain programs as warranted.
- In the event of extenuating circumstances (e.g. the need for numerous volunteers with short lead time) an alternative to background checks may be allowed by the university. The alternative method includes 1) recording the names and contact information for the individuals prior to the program date, 2) verifying the names have been checked against the online sex offender registry and disqualifying anyone who is listed in the registry, and 3) requiring individuals to show a valid photo ID upon program check-in. University officials should consider the duration of the event, whether there will be one-on-one or alone time with minors, whether or not overnight accommodations are involved, and how recently the individual was last required to submit to a background check by it or other institutions before allowing an exception to the background check requirement.
- University and Program Safeguards
- Each university must maintain a current report of U of I System activities and programs designed for minors not enrolled or accepted for enrollment at the U of I System. Activities and programs to be recorded on the report include, but are not limited to camps, summer programs, lessons, performances, and tutoring. The report must at a minimum detail program location/facility, dates and times, age range of participants, and planned number of participants. For each program listed, contact information must be provided for two responsible individuals who will make arrangements for the safety of minors and other participants in the event of an emergency.
- Each university should document minimum standards or safeguards for appropriate levels of supervision for programs and activities, including guidelines for overnight stays.
IV. Retaliation Will Not Be Tolerated
Retaliatory acts against University Personnel who make good faith reports or complaints under this policy, and/or who cooperate in the investigation and handling of such complaints, even if it is found that no violation of the policy has occurred, will not be tolerated. In accordance with the University Whistleblower Policy, University Personnel who believe they are the subject of retaliation or reprisal should contact the appropriate office as designated in the Policy. The U of I System will promptly investigate all complaints of alleged retaliation.
V. Sanctions for Violation of Protection of Minors Policy
Sanctions for Violation of Protection of Minors Policy Failure to comply with the provisions of the Protection of Minors Policy and/or any related university procedures may result in cancellation of an event and/or discipline in accordance with university and U of I System policies, up to and including termination of employment, dismissal from the U of I System, and/or disqualification for participation in future volunteer activities. Knowingly making a false report or complaint under this policy, or knowingly providing false or intentionally misleading information during an investigation, may also result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment and/or dismissal from the U of I System.
For purposes of this Policy, the following definitions shall apply:
- Child Abuse and Neglect: “Abused Child” and “Neglected Child” are defined in the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. Please consult the statute for a full definition. In general, abuse includes the maltreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, step-parent, guardian, foster parent, immediate family member, paramour of the natural parent, any individual residing in the same home, any person responsible for the child's welfare at the time of the alleged abuse, or any person who came to know the child through an official capacity or position of trust. Child abuse can be physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or neglect.
Physical abuse includes when a parent or a person responsible for the child’s welfare inflicts, causes to be inflicted, or allows to be inflicted a physical injury, by other than accidental means, which causes death, disfigurement, impairment of physical or emotional health, or loss of impairment of any bodily function; creates a substantial risk of physical injury; commits an act of torture; inflicts excessive corporal punishment; commits or allows to be committed female genital mutilation; causes the selling, transfer, distribution, or giving of illegal drugs to a child; or commits or allows to be committed involuntary servitude, involuntary sexual servitude of a minor, or human trafficking.
Neglect includes when a parent or a person responsible for the child deprives or fails to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, needed medical care, or supervision. A child is also considered neglected if he or she is subjected to an environment which is injurious insofar as (i) the child’s environment creates a likelihood of harm to the child’s health, physical well-being, or welfare and (ii) the likely harm to the child is the result of a blatant disregard of parent or caretaker responsibilities.
- Member of the University Community: All University Personnel, University Volunteers, and University Contractors
- Minor: A person under the age of eighteen (18).
- University Contractor: An individual retained by the U of I System under contract to provide services and/or support for programs and activities designed to include minors.
- University Personnel: Includes but is not limited to all U of I System faculty, staff, Post-Doctoral, visiting scholars, and students in their capacity as student-employees. Excluded from this definition are individuals who began unpaid service to the U of I System prior to 2013 and who do not have any current affiliation with the University of Illinois.
- University Volunteer: An uncompensated individual who is authorized by a U of I System department or unit to: a) perform civil, charitable, or humanitarian services related to the business of or in support of activities of the U of I System designed to include minors, or b) gain personal or professional experience in specific endeavors. Volunteers perform services without a promise, expectation, or receipt of any compensation for services performed, including a promise of future employment. This definition does not include parents or guardians who are accompanying their child at a program or activity and who may provide incidental service for the program or activity.