University of Southern Indiana

Frequently Asked Questions

To Whom the Policy Applies:

There are 17 year olds who are full-time students in my class; does this policy apply to them?

If you observe abuse or neglect of a student under 18 years of age, you are required to report to law enforcement or Child Protective Services (“CPS”).  However, as to the requirements concerning supervision in class, the policy does not apply.   

I do not work with children in my position on campus; does this policy apply to me?

Yes, if you observe abuse or neglect of a minor on campus, you are required to report it according to state law and the University Child Protection Policy.

Does this policy include off-campus conduct?

Yes, this policy applies to University sponsored programs, whether on or off campus.  Additionally, the statutory requirement to report abuse of a minor to law enforcement or CPS applies throughout Indiana, regardless of where the conduct occurs.


Background Checks:

Who has to have a background check?

All University employees are subject to Human Resources Department procedures in regards to criminal background and sex offender registry checks.

University sponsored programs must ensure that all University employees, students and volunteers who will work with children have been subject to a criminal background check within the last five years.  Sex offender registry checks must be repeated annually. These University employees, students and volunteers must fully disclose all such convictions.

I have international students or individuals participating in my program involving children, do I need to run background checks on these individuals?

Yes, but the check will be limited to a domestic background check.

Do volunteers need background checks?

Yes—volunteers working with children at University sponsored programs must have a background check. The only exception is in the case of large, one or two day programs that rely on a large number of volunteers, like First Lego League, science fairs, or reading/activity days.  However, at this kind of event there must be a reasonable number of background checked supervisors present, taking into consideration the number of volunteers assisting in the program who have not been background checked. The volunteers that have not received a background check must be working in a public area, supervised by an authorized adult, and not alone with children. However, to use this method, the program must first obtain the written approval of the Child Protection Committee.

Do guests such as lecturers and speakers have to be checked?

Guest lecturers and speakers will be required to have background checks if they will have direct contact and interaction with children. Check with the Office of Risk Management if you are unsure if your guest will need a background check.

How do I know that all University employees who will participate in events involving children have a current background check on file?

Verify with the Human Resources Department no later than ten (10) business days prior to your program involving children that all of your employees who will participate have background checks.   Unless the employee was hired or transferred in the past year, Human Resources’ Employment staff will need to re-run the sex offender registry check that is required annually for this program participation.   Unless the employee was hired or transferred in the past five years, Human Resources will also need to re-run the criminal background check.  In such case, you will need to obtain and send the completed Program Participant Form to the Human Resources’ Employment staff.

Who is responsible for making sure all employees, students, and volunteers participating in University sponsored programs involving children have been background checked?

The administrator of the program is responsible for obtaining Program Participant Form and Authorization for Background and Sex Offender Registry Checks form from employees and then verifying with Human Resources’ Employment staff that faculty, administrators, and support staff working with children have been background checked within the past five years for the criminal background check and within one year for the sex offender registry check.

For students and non-employee volunteers participating in University sponsored programs, the administrator of the program is responsible for obtaining the Program Participant Form and the Authorization for Background and Sex Offender Registry Checks and completing the background checks.

How do I process a background check on students and non-employee volunteers?

The administrator/fiscal agent in charge of the University sponsored program must search the electronic databases for public offender and sex offender listings for the state(s) where the student/volunteer has identified on his/her Program Participant Form s/he has lived and/or worked and/or gone to school in the last two years by entering in each state’s database all names listed on his/her Program Participant From.  Indiana public offender and sex offender registries should always be checked for these volunteers, even if they have not indicated they have lived, worked, and/or gone to school in Indiana in the last two years.  The links for Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois public offender and sex offender registries are listed below.  Contact Human Resources at (812) 464-1815 for additional state offender and sex offender lists if needed.

Indiana Public Offender Searchhttp://www.in.gov/apps/indcorrection/ofs/ofs

Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Searchhttp://www.icrimewatch.net/indiana.php

Kentucky Public Offender Searchhttp://www.corrections.ky.gov/kool.htm

Kentucky Sex Offender Searchhttp://kspsor.state.ky.us/

Illinois Public Offender Search:
https://www.illinois.gov/IDOC/OFFENDER/Pages/InmateSearch.aspx

Illinois Sex Offender Searchhttp://www.isp.state.il.us/sor/

 

What do I do if the criminal record shows convictions?

A University sponsored program may not allow any administrator, faculty, staff, hourly employee, student, volunteer or other personnel whose criminal background check and/or sex offender registry check includes a record of sexually based offenses or crimes against children to participate in the program.  If criminal background checks include a record of other offenses, programs should consult the following offices to determine if those offenses should preclude participation:  Director of Human Resources or Human Resources Employment Manager regarding employees; Dean of Students regarding students; University Director of Public Safety regarding volunteers.


Suspecting and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect:

What if I am unsure of whether I have witnessed child abuse?

You must report what you saw to Child Protective Services. It is up to law enforcement officials to determine whether or not further action is warranted.

When should I make a report?

As soon as you suspect abuse or neglect has occurred.

I suspect a child is being abused, can I just tell my supervisor?

No, Indiana law provides that any person who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect, has an affirmative duty to make an oral report to Child Protective Services at 1-800-800-5556 or to their local law enforcement officials.  Failure to report may result in criminal charges.

USI’s Office of Public Safety (OPS) is not a law enforcement agency; therefore you must make a report to CPS or a local law enforcement agency in addition to notifying OPS.

Can I make an anonymous report?

Yes, however it is important to understand that providing Child Protective Services with your contact information may aid investigators if they have questions.

Are reports of child abuse or inappropriate conduct kept confidential?

Yes, but only to the extent required by law.

If I need to report abuse, what information will I need to know?

You should visit the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline website at http://www.in.gov/dcs/2971.htm for more information about making a report.

What responsibility does the Office of Public Safety have in regards to reports of child abuse?

The University Director of Public Safety has an obligation to report any suspected abuse to CPS, which will then conduct an investigation.

What if USI student teachers, nursing students, etc. observe abuse or neglect while in a field placement?

If the incident occurs off campus AND the alleged perpetrator is not a USI employee, student or volunteer, or working as part of a USI sponsored program then the individual who suspects abuse or neglect should make a report according to the procedures of the cooperating school or facility. If the incident occurs on campus and/or involves a USI employee, student or volunteer then a report must be made in accordance with the USI Child Protection Policy.  Whatever procedure is used, Indiana law requires all individuals who witness abuse or neglect to report to law enforcement or CPS.

Example 1: Sally, a student teacher, observes unusual bruises on a student in her classroom. Sally is required to report this according to the policies of her program and the school in which she is working, however a report does not need to be made to the Office of Public Safety.

Example 2: John, a social work major, is talking to a teenage girl as part of his field placement assignment. During the conversation, the girl discloses abuse by a family member. John is required to report this according the policies of his program and the agency in which he is placed.

Example 3: Casey, a nursing student completing a pediatric rotation, observes a fellow student shaking an uncooperative child. Because the incident involves a USI student, the incident must be reported in accordance with the USI Child Protection Policy.

What if I see a young child unsupervised on campus?

Try to maintain visual contact with the child and contact the Office of Public Safety as soon as possible.


Compliance with this Policy:

Who is responsible for making sure University sponsored programs are complying with the policy?

The administrator/fiscal agent responsible for the University sponsored program is responsible for ensuring compliance with the policy.

What does my program have to do to be in compliance?

All University sponsored programs must meet the requirements for background checks, supervision, conduct requirements, reporting procedures, and training requirements as outlined in the USI Child Protection Policy in order to be in compliance with the policy.

How long do University sponsored programs have to comply?

University sponsored programs must be in compliance with the policy when the program begins.  Each program must maintain compliance as long as it is operating.


Other questions:

Who should I contact with questions and concerns about the policy?

The Director of Risk Management 812-461-5366 is the contact for questions or concerns regarding this policy.

Does this Policy require that USI employees supervise children in general use facilities, such as a library or concert venues and are minors going to be prohibited from these facilities unless they are supervised?

The Child Protection Policy contemplates that individuals under 18 years of age will engage in the general use of University facilities, such as libraries, concert venues and study areas. This general access to campus as a member of the public, unaffiliated with a structured program or activity, does not require USI employees to provide individual supervision to minors. At the same time, USI employees are expected to report circumstances of abuse, neglect or inappropriate conduct that they observe toward minors regardless of the situation. The policy also states that the University, in its discretion, may limit the access of minors to events where their participation is not age-appropriate.

What other resources has the University made available to assist University sponsored program administrators in fulfilling their responsibilities?

The University has created the following forms to assist University sponsored program administrators:

  • Event Planning Form for Programs Involving Children – to be completed by the program administrator and sent to the Child Protection Committee for evaluation.
  • Program Participant Form – to be completed by any prospective program participant; this form provides information to conduct background and/or sex offender registry checks
  • Authorization for Background and Sex Offender Registry Check – provides USI with the employee’s, student’s, or volunteer’s consent to the background and/or sex offender registry checks
  • Background Check and Sex Offender Registry Tracking Form – provides University sponsored program administrators with a tool for tracking and certifying the completion of the annual sex offender registry checks and background checks for each program volunteer in accordance with the Child Protection Policy
  • Program Participant Check-in Form – programs must compile, on this form, the name, date of birth, and address of each volunteer prior to the event.  Each employee, student, and volunteer must present a photo identification when they check-in on each day of the program.  The person reviewing IDs must verify the photo corresponds to the volunteer, the ID has not expired, and the name and date of birth on the ID correspond to the information populated on this form.
  • Volunteer Child Protection Policy Training Document – student and community volunteers who have not completed online Child Protection Policy training must read, sign, and submit this document at volunteer check-in

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