Youth at UW

About the office

The Office for Youth Programs Development and Support establishes guidelines and best practices that promote the safety and well-being of youth (persons under the age of 18) engaged in UW’s programs, activities and events.

We provide educational resources and consultation to UW staff who manage, sponsor or host programs and activities serving youth on- and off-campus. We also coordinate efforts across departments to strengthen safeguards for youth and increase alignment between youth-serving programs and the educational and strategic goals of the University.

This office was born out of a recommendation from the Safety of Minors Committee.

Questions? E-mail

Caroline Shelton, Director

I have over 20 years experience supporting children and youth in school, community and non-profit settings. My work history emphasizes professional education and training, organizational capacity building and program quality improvement. In the past I have worked with the Harborview Children’s Response Center and Early Achievers, a Washington state quality rating and improvement initiative for licensed child care. I received my MSW (Multiethnic Practice) in 2001 from UW.

Laura C. Harrington, Youth Protection Specialist

My experience and interests include working in sexual violence prevention, program evaluation, and community building and outreach. In 2019, I earned my MSW (Administration & Policy Practice) and MPH (Health Services) from the UW. Prior to graduate school, I worked as an academic adviser in the UW Honors Program, and before that, earned my undergraduate degree in Women Studies from UW as well. I’m excited to serve the UW community in this new role!

Emily Smith, Program Assistant

I am currently in the second year of the Master of Social Work Degree program (Administration & Policy Practice) and am working in the Office for Youth Programs Development and Support for my practicum. I have prior experience working within youth serving organizations in residential treatment, alternative education, and job readiness. When I’m not in school or working, I also volunteer as a tax preparer with United Way.