1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Minor Programs
  4. Reporting Protocols
  5. Ad-hoc Day Care Programs
  6. Third Party Programs
  7. Enforcement

I. Introduction

Wheaton College (the “College”) is committed to maintaining a safe environment for all members of the College community.  This commitment includes the safety and well-being of minors who are enrolled at Wheaton, who visit College facilities, and who participate in College-sponsored events, programs, or activities.   The Policy on Health and Safety of Minors (the “Policy”) sets forth procedures to guide the conduct of College faculty, staff, students, contractors, vendors and volunteers when working with minors.  The Policy is intended to promote the safety of minors who participate in College events, programs, or activities and ensure that any safety concerns are properly reported and addressed.

II. Definitions

Abuse: The non-accidental commission of any act by a Caretaker upon a Minor which causes, or creates a substantial risk of, Physical Injury or Emotional Injury; or an act by a Caretaker involving a child that constitutes a sexual offense under Massachusetts Law; or any sexual contact between a Caretaker and a child under the care of that individual.

Caretaker: A child’s parent, step-parent, guardian, or any household member entrusted with the responsibility for a child’s health or welfare.  In addition, many other persons entrusted with the responsibility for a child’s health or welfare, both in and out of the child’s home, regardless of age, is considered a caretaker.  Examples may include: relatives from outside the home, teachers or staff in a school setting, workers at an early education child care or afterschool program, a babysitter, foster parents, staff at a group care facility, or persons charged with caring for children in any other comparable setting.

Child Molestation:  Any actual or alleged illegal or otherwise wrongful sexual conduct with a minor.

Community Member: Faculty, staff, students, contractors, vendors and volunteers of the College.

Confidential Resource:  Staff, faculty, or third-party partners with a statutory privilege (licensed psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, clergy and designated medical personnel), who are acting within that privileged role, and individuals the College explicitly designates as confidential resource providers available to students, faculty, and staff for the purpose of providing information, support and resources.

Emotional Injury: An impairment to or disorder of the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as evidenced by observable and substantial reduction in the child’s ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior.

Exempt Programs:  (1) College programs, events, or activities involving minors when all of whom are also enrolled students and/or employed by the College, except for residential high school programs offered by the College; (2) performances or events open to the general public (such as athletic competitions, plays, concerts, lectures); (3) visits and tours for prospective students organized by the Office of Admissions; visits by minors over the age of 16, including overnight stays in College housing facilities by candidates for admission, prospective student-athletes, or siblings of enrolled students, when hosted by enrolled students, provided however, that all such visitors must be registered with the College and shall be subject to the Student Code of Conduct while on campus; (4) tutoring and mentoring by enrolled students who are registered in recognized organizations (e.g. Big Brother/Big Sister); (5) community service activities sponsored by an administrative or academic unit of the College, provided that such activities take place only in a public setting (such as dining halls and libraries); (6) field trips to the College that involve elementary, middle, or secondary school students, under the supervision of their teachers, during a single business day; and (7) the Wheaton College Early Education Center which is subject to state regulation and has established policies and procedures specific to its operation.

Minor: A person under the age of eighteen years who is invited to or participates in a Minor Program or who is enrolled at or employed by the College.

Minor Programs:  A program, other than Exempt Programs, that invites or includes Minors and is organized by a Community Member within their official capacity at the College.

Neglect: Failure by a Caretaker, either deliberately or through negligence or inability, to take those actions necessary to provide a child with minimally adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, supervision, emotional stability and growth, or other essential care; provided, however, that such inability is not due solely to inadequate economic resources or solely to the existence of a handicapping condition.  This definition is not dependent upon location (i.e., neglect can occur while the child is in an out-of-home or in-home setting).

Physical Injury:  Death; or fracture of a bone, a subdural hematoma, burns, impairment of any organ, and any other such nontrivial injury; or soft tissue swelling or skin bruising, depending upon such factors as the child’s age, circumstances under which the injury occurred and the number and location of bruises; or addiction to a drug or drugs at birth; or failure to thrive.

Serial Sexual Misconduct:  Any actual or alleged illegal or otherwise wrongful sexual conduct: (1) with more than one victim; and (2) committed by or alleged to have been committed by any perpetrator who is not a student of the College.

Sexual Abuse:  Child Molestation or Serial Sexual Misconduct.

III. Minor Programs

Minor Programs must comply with the following terms and conditions, as well as any other applicable requirements of federal, state, or local law or regulation.

(1) Minor Program Registration and Approval.  All academic and administrative departments of the College that sponsor a Minor Program, whether located on or off campus, must register the Minor Program with the Office of Conference and Events not later than thirty (30) days prior to the commencement date of the Program.

(2) Background Checks and Training Required.  All Community Members who may have direct and unsupervised contact with Minors during the course of a Minor Program or who direct or supervise a Minor Program must, at least once every three years and prior to initially engaging in such contact or supervision, complete CORI and SORI background checks and participate in training regarding:

(a) the Policy;

(b) appropriate codes of conduct with Minors;

(c) the nature and prevalence of Abuse and Neglect and how to identify signs of it; and

(d) how to respond to and report disclosures or suspicions of Abuse or Neglect and/or Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct.

(3) Emergency Response Plan.  All Minor Programs must maintain an emergency response plan consisting of the protocols outlined below.

(a) All Minor Programs must establish a procedure for notification of each Minor’s parents/legal guardians in the event of an emergency, and must obtain and keep accessible contact information for Minors’ parents/legal guardians, as well as emergency contact information in the event the parents/legal guardians are unavailable. All parents/legal guardians of Minors must be provided with contact information of appropriate staff of the Minor Program in order to contact Minors while the Minor Program is in session.  All parents/legal guardians must be advised of this procedure in writing prior to the participation of the minors in the Minor Program.

(b) All Minor Programs must obtain: (i) authorization from all Minors’ parents/legal guardians to permit transportation of Minors to local hospitals as deemed necessary; (ii) authorization for emergency medical treatment in the event the parents/legal guardians or their designated emergency contact are not available; and (iii) disclosure of any allergies or other medical condition or physical limitation that might impact participation in the Minor Program.  In the event any Minors require administration of medicines while participating in the Minor Program, necessary procedures must be established, which may include guidance from Health Services.

(c) For residential Minor Programs in College facilities, Minor Programs must, prior to commencing, provide a list of all program participants and a directory of program staff to Wheaton College Campus Safety which must include for all Minors, their name; room assignment; age; address; and contact information of their parent/legal guardian and emergency contact.

(4) Supervision Plan.  All Minor Programs must have established a plan for adequate supervision in light of the number and average age of participants, the Minor Program activity, and whether overnight accommodations are involved.

IV.  Reporting Protocols

The following individuals must adhere to the following reporting protocols.

(1) All Community Members who know of or suspect Abuse or Neglect of must meet individual obligations to inform the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) by following the process for doing so outlined at the mass.gov website: Report child abuse or neglect.

(2) All Community Members must, within twenty-four (24) hours, report to the Assistant Vice President of Legal Affairs instances of known or suspected Abuse or Neglect of any Minor.

(3) All staff, faculty, vendors and volunteers must, within twenty-four (24) hours, report any incidents of Sexual Abuse of a Minor that are disclosed to them or that come to their attention.[1] Additionally, any students who participate in a Minor Program must, within twenty-four (24) hours, report any incidents of Sexual Abuse of a Minor that are disclosed to them or that come to their attention in their capacity as a participant in the Minor Program.

V. Ad-hoc Day Care Programs

No ad-hoc day care program (e.g., for “parents’ night out” or for an adult conference or meeting) may operate on College property without first obtaining approval from the Assistant Vice President of Legal Affairs.

VI. Third Party Programs

Any program involving minors operated by third parties on College property must be operated consistently with the Policy. All contracts for the use of College facilities by third parties for programs involving minors must include this requirement and provide a link to the Policy. Third parties operating programs involving minors on College property will have primary reporting responsibility regarding minors involved in their programs.

VII. Enforcement

Failure to comply with the Policy or the reporting requirements outlined under Section IV may subject Community Members to disciplinary action including but not limited to termination of employment.

[1] Except in cases where the staff, faculty, vendor or volunteer is a Confidential Resource and is prohibited by law from reporting.