Best Practices for Risk Management of Children on Campus
A preparation checklist is available. Please fill out and return to the Office of Scheduling, Events and Conferences for review of potential risk issues.
Staff Hiring and Training
Background checks are very important screening devices for supervisors, counselors, volunteers, and others who will work with children. Contact HR to obtain consent forms for performing background checks on all students, staff and volunteers who will work with the minors.
All volunteers should be registered with HR and also have current background checks.Volunteers should be trained in appropriate child contact and emergency procedures.
Provide CPR and allergy response training for employees and volunteers with significant child contact. Review and practice procedures for fire or other emergencies. Review handling of bio hazards and other hazardous materials. Train staff to perform safety check functioning of any equipment before use with children.
All food and/or beverages are required to go through Bon Appétit Catering. If the teaching activity requires handling food, any staff working with the food must have current Oregon Food handler’s license. Any event involving food should have a predetermined list of participating children with any significant food-related allergies.
Steps in preventing child molestation include training all staff to recognize the warning signs of sexual abuse, conducting background checks, and following up promptly on complaints, concerns, and rumors. Other good practices include having two adults present with children at all times and, during weekends and evenings, prohibiting staff from having private contact with children. Staff and volunteers should have no direct electronic contact with the children.
Adult Topics and Activities
Let the parents know what to expect before their children arrive. Avoid inappropriate topics and activities. Depending on where children go on college campuses, they may be exposed to pictures, opinions, or behaviors their parents may object to. For example, if computers the children will use in an activity do not have filters, let the parents know.
Obtain Parental/Guardian Consent
Assumption of Risk Forms (a.k.a. waivers and permission slips) advise the parents about activities and the potential risks of those activities. The parents or guardians should sign this form acknowledging their knowledge and consent for their children to participate in the activity; a full and clear explanation of the activity; any risks involved in participation; and any transportation involved. Be specific as possible in stating what is involved, the potential risks, and the voluntary nature of participation.
Specific people should be authorized to deliver and pick up each child, and each day at arrival and departure, a supervisor should carefully monitor these procedures. If a parent is delegating someone else to pick the child up, advance notice should be given in writing, stating the person’s relationship to the child.
Identify ahead of time or at registration any known medical or behavioral issues to plan for and minimize related risks. Have parents complete a medical history form and a consent form authorizing Willamette to provide certain medical services if needed if the minor will be on campus regularly or for an extended period of time.
Check the rooms, entryways, and play areas to see if children or teens can climb through windows, open doors, get caught in tight spaces, or fall through. Check to see whether they can gain access to fire escapes for fall or trap hazards or to the roof. These are not the only areas to check. Be sure to conduct frequent rigorous inspections to assure that your premises are well maintained, safe, and secure.
Transportation Plan for Parents
Establish safe and orderly location for direct transfer of child from parent to staff. Avoid children left unsupervised by having a clear protocol for who is in charge and what time parents may leave children and return to pick up. Locate and supervise drop off and pick up to avoid dangerous car-pedestrian conflicts.
Identify Campers and Staff
Create a visible way of identifying who should be with children through color coded t-shirts or large name tags. Also make sure children are clearly identifiable if they are separated from the group. Adults should be trained in steps to take to address possible trespassers and/or missing children.
Adequate supervision can mitigate many potential problems. Willamette has determined a ratio of one adult supervisor for every ten children must be mandated at all times for children under the age of 18.
Tightly scheduling camp activities so there is minimal unstructured time decreases accidents. Supervisors should publish a clear schedule for the entire camp, with spaces used and people in charge noted. Adequate time should be allowed for transitions from one area to another. Activities should be age and ability appropriate.
Children should not be present at activities where their adult teachers and/or mentors would be involved in the consumption of alcohol. Also, alcohol is not permitted at any event where children are the focus of the event. Please see the Scheduling, Events and Summer Conferences Policies page online to view the entire alcohol policy.
During Emergency Incident
All emergencies must be immediately reported to Campus Safety. They will dispatch fire and/or ambulance assistance. Do not call 911 yourself. Supervisors and counselors must be trained in emergency protocol. All efforts must be made to contact parents immediately after Campus Safety has been called.
If a child obtains any injury or is involved in an accident, the camp is required to immediately report this to campus safety. A formal incident report may be required. Parents should also be immediately apprised of any accident. Steps should be taken to review the incident and make any needed changes to the physical space or activity to prevent further harm.