Youth at UW

Employee, Volunteer and Participant Conduct Codes

Conduct Codes for employees, volunteers and program participants

Every workplace or program has expectations for behavior originating from laws, policies or other relevant guidelines.  A conduct code, also referred to as a “code of conduct,” outlines specific behavioral expectations of an employee, volunteer or program participant. (Note that when we refer to program participants we are referring to youth program participants.)

In a youth-serving environment, a conduct code is a useful tool for educating employees, volunteers and participants about accepted and encouraged workplace behaviors that support positive youth engagement, as well as prohibited behaviors that have the potential to harm youth. Individuals come to a work or program environment with different experiences and beliefs about what is appropriate behavior. Implementing a universal set of behavioral expectations brings everyone to the same place of understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable.  In the rare case that an employee, volunteer or program participant violates the conduct policy, you have a clear road map from which to take corrective action, including removing them from the position or program as necessary.

1. What is a conduct code?

A well-crafted conduct code will include the following:

  • Specifically outlined acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, leaving little room for interpretation;
  • Clearly articulated consequences for failing to follow outlined expectations, or committing a code violation;
  • Acknowledgement by the relevant parties, usually by a signature, that they understand and will abide by the conduct code.

2. Sample Conduct Codes for Employees and Volunteers

The model codes below were developed with input from UW youth program, Risk Services, and the Office of the Attorney General. These codes may be used with paid employees, volunteers and service learning students, as applicable. The codes below may be used in part or as a whole document, and additionally customized with specific program information.

This model policy is recommended for staff or volunteers who will have ongoing interactions with minors.

This model policy is recommended for volunteers who are participating in a short-term activities with minimal interaction with minors.

3. Sample Conduct Codes for Youth Participants

The tipsheet and sample codes below were developed with input from UW youth programs and Risk Services. The codes may be used in part or as a whole document, and additionally customized with specific program information.

Download this tipsheet for incorporating youth participant codes of conduct into your program.

This model policy is recommended for use with elementary-aged youth program participants

This model policy is recommended for use with teen-aged youth program participants

Questions? Contact cshelton@uw.edu with the Office for Youth Programs Development and Support.