2.14.1 Youth Protection Policy

A. Policy Statement

It is the policy of The University of Texas at Tyler (“University”) to provide oversight and training for Youth Programs held on University premises or operated by the University which have recreational, athletic, religious, or educational activities for the attendees. This includes all camps or programs covered by Texas Education Code, Chapter 51, Section 51.976, as well as any camp, program, internship, mentorship, event, or activity held on UT owned or controlled premises, or sponsored or supported by a UT institution that offers recreational, athletic, religious, or educational activities to Youth Participants which includes online programs. 

This policy does not apply to university course-based academic service learning or research approved by the Institutional Review Board ("IRB").

B. Purpose

To promote the safety of minors participating in Youth Programs on the University premises or participating in those programs sponsored or supported by the University. This policy also supports compliance with federal and state law.

C. Persons Affected

This policy applies to University employees, affiliates, student workers, volunteers, contractors, and visitors who are Designated Individuals as defined by this policy. The policy applies to all campus programs for minors (Youth Programs) held on University property, as well as those programs sponsored by the University.

D. Definitions

Care, Custody, and Control – When an adult(s) is present and has primary responsibility for supervision of minors at any given point throughout an activity or program with minors. At least one adult must have care, custody, or control of minors at all times during the activity or Youth Program.

Conference and Camp Coordinator – The University employee responsible for the oversight of all Youth Programs on University property or sponsored by the University.

Designated Individual(s) – Any person involved in and assisting with a Youth Program for Youth Participants, who has contact with a Youth Participant and has been identified by the institution as a Designed Individual. Examples of Designated Individuals can include: University employees, affiliates, student workers, volunteers, contractors, and visitors who assist in Youth Programs.

Minor(s) – An individual under the age of 18. For purposes of this policy, this definition does not include University-enrolled students under the age of 18.

Program Manager – The University college, school, unit, or department employee who owns, operates, or supervises a specific Youth Program (or programs), regardless of profit.

University Interscholastic League (UIL) – A unit of the University that provides educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests for students who attend UIL member schools.

Youth Participant(s) – A minor who is attending a Youth Program. This definition does not include University students who are under the age of 18.

Youth Program(s) – A camp, program, internship, mentorship, event, or activity held on UT Tyler owned or controlled premises, or sponsored or supported by UT Tyler that offers recreational, athletic, religious, or educational activities to Youth Participants. Youth Program also includes any “campus program for minors” as defined by Section 51.976 of the Texas Education Code. “Youth Program” as defined herein specifically includes external 3rd party Youth Programs that contract with UT Tyler for the use of institutional facilities. May also be referred to as program. For the purposes of this Policy, this definition does not include programs for UT Tyler-enrolled students or employees under the age of 18, or programs where the custody, control, and care of a minor (under age 18) is not the responsibility of the institution but instead held by non-UT Tyler teachers, official chaperones, parents, or legal guardians (e.g., campus tours of prospective students’ families, visits by local school district classes).

Youth Protection Deputy Coordinators – Also referred to as Deputy Coordinators will assist with compliance. Duties may include monitoring worker/volunteer background checks, site visits, or other items assigned by the Conference and Camp Coordinator.

E. Policy

  1. Requirements for University-Sponsored Youth Programs (excluding UIL). Each University-sponsored program involving the participation of minors must comply with the following terms and conditions, as well as any other applicable requirements of federal, state, or local law or regulation.
    1. Program Eligibility. The University requires any Youth Program to be sponsored and controlled by a University college, school, unit, or department, unless specifically authorized by the university president on a per program basis. Student organizations are not permitted to hold a Youth Program. Student organizations may participate in a Youth Program sponsored by a college, school, unit, or department.
    2. Program Registration. Each University academic and administrative unit sponsoring a Youth Program, whether located on or off campus, is required to register such program with the Conference and Camp Coordinator or designee no later than 60 days prior to the commencement date of the program. Any amendments or changes to the program registration should be submitted as soon as is practicable after the need for amendment becomes known. Youth Programs that reach max capacity and must open additional camps will be exempt from the 60-day requirement permitting all information remains the same. To register a program, utilize the Youth Protection Online Registration System, and it will require:
      1. Program name;
      2. Program details (dates, times, marketing, etc.);
      3. Program Manager;
      4. Insurance form or alternative policy notification; and
      5. List of all Designated Individuals and for each of them the following information:
        1. Name
        2. ID number; if applicable
        3. Contact Information (mobile number and email)
        4. Paid/Volunteer Status
        5. Supervisor
    3. Insurance. All Youth Programs must carry accident and liability insurance with coverage at least equivalent to the Camp Insurance Program offered by the UT System Office of Risk Management. Any purchase of insurance must also comply with requirements of Regents’ Rule 80601. Insurance required is per program.
    4. Marketing. To keep with brand consistency, all programs sponsored and hosted by the University of Texas at Tyler must use the Youth Program marketing materials. This information will be collected during program registration and materials will be available 14 business days after submission.
    5. Youth Protection Emergency Plan. In the event of an emergency or incident, each Youth Program must follow the guidelines in the Youth Protection Guidebook. Plans must be submitted through DocuSign to the Conference and Camp Coordinator at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the Youth Program. Plans are subject to approval from the Conference and Camp Coordinator and Environmental Health and Safety.
      1. Communication Plan. Each program must follow the guidelines regarding communication with the Youth Participant and Youth Participant’s parents/legal guardians. The Program Manger’s responsibilities are to:
        1. provide Designated Individuals with contact information for parents/legal guardians of Youth Participant in the event of an emergency;
        2. provide parents/legal guardians with contact information to reach their youth while the program is in session;
        3. create reunification plans in case of an emergency where normal pick up is unavailable; and
        4. utilize the Communication Plan Template provided in the Youth Protection Guidebook for other incidents.
      2. Medical Emergency Plan. The Program Manager must have at least one Designated Individual certified in CPR, First Aid, and AED available and on staff during program operating hours. The Program Manager must also obtain from each Youth Participant’s parent/legal guardian the following, which can be collected during registration and check-in:
        1. authorization to permit transportation of the Youth Participant to University Health Services or a local hospital as deemed necessary in an emergency;
        2. authorization for emergency medical treatment in the event the parent/legal guardian or their designated emergency contact is not available;
        3. signed liability and indemnification agreement to participate in the event;
        4. disclosure of any allergies, other medical conditions, or physical limitations of a Youth Participant that may impact his or her participation in the program; and
        5. any prescription medication the Youth Participant needs during the program in the original container with dosage instructions.
          1. Prescriptions must be kept in a secure location.
          2. A Designated Individual should supervise the administration of medication to a Youth Participant.
          3. A medication log should be kept to record times, dosage, and what medication is taken.
      3. Supervision Plan. Each program must establish a plan for adequate supervision considering the number and average age of Youth Participants, the program activity, and whether overnight accommodations are involved. Programs are not permitted to have any unsupervised free time.
        1. The supervision plan must specify the person having responsibility over all Designated Individuals serving in the program, the proposed ratio of Youth Participants to Designated Individuals and provide a proposed breakdown of Designated Individuals by category of employees, students, and volunteers.
        2. Per UTS 192, each program must have a minimum Designated Individual to Youth Participant (minor) ratio of the following:
          Average Age of Minors Number of Staff Overnight Minors Day Only Minors 
           5 years and younger  1   5   6 
          6-8 years   1  6  8
           9-14 years  1  8 10
          15-18 years 1 10 12
        3. Supervision plan must include a way to identify Youth Participant and the program they are attending, i.e., nametags, t-shirts, bags, etc.
        4. Plans must have a Code of Conduct and review appropriate and inappropriate behaviors with Youth Participants. Examples:
          1. appropriate attire for in-person events or in videos and backgrounds;
          2. bullying, including cyber bullying, during or outside of a session is not appropriate;
          3. behavior during events or in screenshots or recordings; and
          4. issues and consequences of behaviors should be discussed with the parent and Youth Participant and can result in temporary or permanent removal from the program (without a refund).
        5. The supervision plan for any overnight program must also
          1. specify curfews, and
          2. no visitors are permitted.
        6. The supervision plan for any online program must also
          1. have a secure network to use video with a password or unique link to join where only registered participants and approved staff or volunteers can participate;
          2. have two staff members in each online access point, or breakout room, for Youth Participants; and
          3. notify students before screenshots or recordings are taken. Youth Participants may turn off their screen and microphone if they wish to not be recorded. Leaving either of those on is implied consent.
        7. No Unsupervised Access. Any individual not considered a Designated Individual (e.g. parent/guardian) must not have unsupervised access to a Youth Participant during Youth Program operating hours.
        8. Program Managers will be responsible for collecting, completing, and storing incident reports located in DocuSign involving Designated Individuals and/or Youth Participants due to behavior, medical, abuse, or neglect issues after the incident has been resolved.
      4. Transportation Plan. Each program must establish a procedure for the pick-up and drop-off of Youth Participants, specifying times and locations, and assure that no Youth Participant is released to any person other than their parent/legal guardian without specific written authorization.
        1. The Conference and Camp Coordinator must review and approve in advance any Youth Program which provides for transportation of Youth Participants by Designated Individuals after drop-off by parent/legal guardian to the campus or other site.
        2. A Designated Individual is not permitted, at any time, to be alone with a Youth Participant in a car or other vehicle.
        3. Any transportation must adhere to the Guidelines for Student Travel and Off-Campus Activities.
        4. Supervision ratios still apply.
  2. Requirements for Designated Individuals. Any University employees, affiliates, student workers, volunteers, contractors, and visitors who serve as a Designated Individual in any Youth Program, must first meet the following requirements:
    1. Age Requirement. 80 percent of a program’s staff must be classified as adults, and 100 percent for programs primarily serving persons with special needs. Designated Individuals must be at least 16 years of age, at least two years older than the oldest Youth Participant and have parental approval.
    2. Background Check. All Designated Individuals who will interact with Youth Participants during the program must undergo a criminal background check.
      1. As per UTS192, these background checks must be conducted each year prior to the start of the program.
      2. All internal University-program background checks will be handled in accordance with the Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) 4.15.2 Criminal Background Checks.
      3. Background checks will be at the cost of each program.
    3. Training.
      1. Designated Individuals must complete Sexual Abuse and Child Molestation Awareness training and examination. This training must include information and examination concerning warning signs of sexual abuse and child molestation.
      2. Designated Individuals must achieve a score of 70% or more correct on the examination. A Designated Individual will be allowed to repeat the course as necessary to achieve a passing score.
      3. Designated Individuals must complete training and examination every two years. If the Designated Individual is a new employee or volunteer, they must complete the training before interacting with Youth Participants.
      4. The University of Texas System Youth Protection Training module is provided by the University at no cost to the individual.
    4. Volunteer Assignment. Program Managers must assure that all volunteering Designated Individuals complete a volunteer application in accordance to UT Tyler HOP, 4.16.5 Volunteer Service.
    5.  Paid Worker Assignment. Program Managers must submit employment forms through SharePoint for any pay checks issued to Designated Individuals by the University prior to the start of the Youth Program.
  3. Requirements for University Interscholastic League (UIL) Events. UIL events and contests are staffed by UIL staff, contract employees, school district employees, and volunteers in supporting roles such as judges, officials, coaches, sponsors, and teachers to support student participants.
    1. UIL-sponsored events are subject to Texas Education Code, Chapter 51, Section 51.976, The University of Texas System ("UT System") Policy UTS 124 Criminal Background Checks, and the Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) 4.15.2 Criminal Background Checks when an event or contest lasts four days or more and involves an overnight stay as part of the event.
    2. In accordance with Texas Education Code (Chapter 22, Sections 22.0831-0837 and Chapter 38, Section 38.0041) and Texas Administrative Code (Title 25, Part 1, Chapter 265, Subchapter N, Rule § 265.403), UIL is responsible for tracking and documenting training and criminal background checks for all UIL-affiliated volunteers and other persons working at a UIL contest or event. Responsibility for conducting training and criminal background checks for school district personnel and school district-affiliated volunteers involved in UIL events and contests rests with the school district.
  4. Prohibited Conduct. Designated Individuals working in programs covered by this policy must not engage in any behavior that could cause harm or be misinterpreted as possibly causing harm. Prohibited conduct for Designated Individuals includes, but is not limited to:
    1. No one-on-one contact with Youth Participants is permitted outside the presence of others.
    2. Do not meet with Youth Participants outside of established times for program activities.
    3. Do not touch Youth Participants in a manner that a reasonable person could interpret as inappropriate.
    4. Do not engage in any abusive conduct of any kind toward, or in the presence of, a Youth Participant, including but not limited to verbal abuse, striking, hitting, punching, poking, spanking, or restraining.
    5. Do not shower, bathe, or undress with or in the presence of Youth Participants.
    6. Do not use, possess, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while working a Youth Program.
    7. Do not be alone with a Youth Participant at any time.
    8. Do not have direct electronic contact with Youth Participants without another Designated Individual and the parent/guardian included in the communication.
    9. Do not make sexual materials in any form available to Youth Participants participating in programs or assist them in any way in gaining access to such materials.
  5. Reporting Requirements
    1. Requirements for Emergency Situations. In the event of a medical emergency, please contact 911 immediately. After speaking with 911, the original caller or another Designated Individual should contact the UT Tyler Police Department. An incident report sent to the Conference and Camp Coordinator is required after the event.
    2. Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect. Under Texas law, if you believe a child/minor is being abused or neglected, you are required to report it to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Reports may be made at any time to DFPS by phone at 1-800-252-5400 or online at Texas Abuse Hotline. The hotline and website are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The University’s policy prohibits retaliation against good faith reporting of suspected abuse or neglect. In addition to notifying DFPS and/or law enforcement, the University also requires Designated Individuals report any suspected abuse or neglect of minors on University property to their associate vice president and Title IX Coordinator. In an emergency, or if you see a crime in progress, always call 911 immediately.
    3. Requirements for Reporting Crimes. University officials, known as “Campus Security Authorities,” are required by the Jeanne Clery Act to report to The University of Texas at Tyler Police Department any suspected sexual assault or other crime that occurs on campus, on property immediately adjacent to the University, or on non-campus property or buildings owned or controlled by the University. In addition, under state law, all employees that have knowledge of any incident of sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, or sexual harassment that occurs to a youth participant must make an immediate report to the Title IX Coordinator.
    4. Requirements for Reporting to Parents. Program Managers should practice transparency with parents/guardians of Youth Participants and inform them of medical, emergency, or behavior issues unless this puts the Youth Participant in harm’s way.
    5. Requirements for Reporting to the Conference and Camp Coordinator. Program Managers will be required to submit incident reports in regards to suspected abuse or neglect, crimes, or injury of Youth Participants to the Conference and Camp Coordinator using the reporting form located in DocuSign after the incident has been resolved. Any incident that requires immediate intervention or resources should be handled prior to completing the form.

F. Responsibilities

  1. Presence of Minors on Campus. The University reserves the right to condition, restrict, or deny access to University facilities by minors at its discretion. All minors, including those participating in a Youth Program (or programs), will be subject to all University regulations while on campus, and may be asked to leave the campus if unable to comply.
  2. Authority. The president delegates authority to the Conference and Camp Coordinator for oversight of any camp or program involving minors held on University property or sponsored by the University, including online programs.
  3. Youth Protection Deputy Coordinators. Conference and Camp Coordinator will designate Deputy Coordinators to assist with compliance. Additional YPP Deputy Coordinators will be determined at the discretion of the Conference and Camp Coordinator. YPP Deputy Coordinators will receive annual training to assist in their role of youth protection.

G. Procedures

Program Managers can access the Youth Protection Guidebook on the Schedule and Conference Services website. Meetings with the Conference and Camp Coordinator can be requested through e-mail.

  1. Request Online Youth Protection Registration Access with Conference and Camp Coordinator
  2. Submit Youth Program registration online
  3. If approved,
    1. Program Manager must sign Terms and Conditions for Youth Programs through DocuSign, sent by the Conference and Camp Coordinator
    2. Meeting with Conference and Camp Coordinator must be scheduled to create and train the Program Manager on the Youth Program website
    3. Program Manager must submit the Youth Protection Emergency Plan through DocuSign
    4. Program Manager must train Designated Individuals working their program
    5. Conference and Camp Coordinator will schedule site visits to each program to monitor policy compliance
  4. If denied, the Conference and Camp Coordinator will provide feedback regarding the denial and an opportunity to re-submit request for approval.

H. Review

This policy shall be reviewed by the Youth Protection Committee every two years or as legislation changes.

I. Resources

Relevant System Policies, Procedures, and Regents’ Rules

UTS 124 Criminal Background Checks

UTS 192 Youth Protection Policy

Rule 80601: Property and Casualty Insurance and Surety Bonds

UT System Model Policy on Sexual Misconduct

Rule 80105: Joint Sponsorship of the Use of Property or Buildings

Relevant University of Texas at Tyler Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines

Manual of Policies and Procedures for Student Affairs, Chapter 13 Student Travel

UT Tyler HOP, 4.15.2 Criminal Background Checks

UT Tyler HOP, 4.16.5 Volunteer Service

UT Tyler HOP, 2.4.3 Sexual Misconduct

Relevant Federal and State Statutes

American Camp Association (ACA) Accredited Staff Ratio Standards

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681–1688 and its implementing regulations, 34 C.F.R. Part 106

Clery Act, 20 U.S.C §1092(f) and its implementing regulations 34 C.F.R. Part 668

Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Part 1, Chapter 265, Subchapter N, Rule § 265.403

Texas Education Code, Chapter 51, Section 51.976

Texas Education Code, Chapter 22, Sections 22.0831-0837 

Texas Education Code, Chapter 38, Section 38.0041

Other Relevant Links, Resources, and Educational Materials

Schedule and Conference Services website

Youth Protection Program Registration Website


Texas Abuse Hotline

UT Tyler Department Safety Liaison Program

Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) phone number 1-800-252-5400