Youth at UW

Model Conduct Code: employee/volunteer ongoing interactions with minors

About this conduct code template

The following conduct code template is intended to provide a standard option for University youth programs to use with youth program personnel. Content aligns with the University Standards for Interacting with Youth. Youth programs are required to have authorized personnel sign an acknowledgment of having reviewed and agreed to the Standards for Interacting with Youth.

You may download an editable Word Version of this conduct code here.

It is allowable to edit certain sections of the conduct code as fits your program. You may not edit section 1. University Standards for Interacting With Youth.

Code of Conduct

STANDARDS FOR INTERACTING WITH YOUTH

As University of Washington employees and volunteers, it is our duty to safeguard the youth in our care. The following code of conduct describes the minimum expectations that we hold for personnel who interact with youth in a University youth program. “Youth” refers to any individual under the age of 18 years old. “Personnel” or “Authorized Personnel” includes both employees of the University of Washington and volunteers who supervise, chaperone, or have custodial or caregiving responsibilities for, or who have unsupervised access to youth. “Parent” refers to both parents and legal guardians.

Included:

  1. University Standards for Interacting With Youth
  2. [program name] Specific expectations (Include as applicable)
  3. How to Report Violations of the Standards
  4. How to Report Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect
  5. Confirmation of Understanding

 

1.     UNIVERSITY STANDARDS FOR INTERACTING WITH YOUTH

GENERAL CONTACT: IN PERSON, ONLINE, VERBAL, PHYSICAL

Expectations

  • Observe the “Rule of Three” – have at least one other adult present during all interactions with youth.
  • Limit physical contact to purposes that are consistent with the program’s mission and/or for a clear educational, developmental, or health related purpose, in the presence of another staff member, and with the consent of the youth.
  • Use program-sponsored e-mail, phone and social media accounts for communication when there is an essential educational or programmatic reason to do so.
  • Disclose any pre-existing relationships with youth in the youth program immediately to the program lead. Abide by these standards while affiliated with the youth program, despite any pre-existing personal relationships.

Discouraged or prohibited

(Note: Discouraged behaviors are indicated by use of the word “avoid.”  All other behaviors are prohibited.)

  • Avoid being alone with a single youth where you cannot be observed by program staff or other adults.
  • Do not act in a manner that can be perceived as physical or verbal abuse.
  • Do not discipline youth by use of physical punishment or by failing to provide the necessities of care.
  • Do not engage in purposeful communication or contact including in-person meetings, phone or other electronic communication including social networking, with youth outside of sanctioned program activities.
  • Avoid texting and other forms of electronic one-on-one communication between a single staff person and a youth.

EQUITABLE TREATMENT

Expectation

  • Treat all youth equitably, i.e. fairly and consistently, regardless of their actions or behavior, sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, culture, place of birth, age, class, ability, health, citizenship, language, or other identities.

Prohibited

  • Do not discriminate against a youth based on their sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, culture, place of birth, age, class, ability, health, citizenship, language, or other identities.
  • Do not give personal gifts to youth or their parents, e.g., any item intended to give a youth and/or parent special attention that is not given to others.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Expectation

  • Understand and respect the physical and personal boundaries set by youth.

Prohibited

  • Do not engage in sexual contact of any kind (including any verbal or physical contact that can be perceived as sexual in nature.)
  • Do not date or become romantically involved with youth.
  • Do not discuss your own or a youth’s sex life or sexual activities.
  • Do not share sexually explicit material with youth.

SAFETY

Expectations

  • The safety of youth must be your primary concern above all others.
  • Report any concerns for suspected abuse or neglect of a youth to authorities per University policy requirements.
  • Notify University representatives per policy requirements of any violations of these standards for interacting with youth.
  • Follow all University transportation procedures for transporting youth.

Prohibited

  • Do not possess, sell, use, or be under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, tobacco or illegal drugs while engaged in program activities or on site.
  • Do not bring or carry a weapon into the program.
  • Do not transport youth in a personal vehicle.

 

EDUCATING YOUTH

Youth should be informed in an age-appropriate manner of their right to set their own physical limits for personal safety. They should be encouraged to tell an adult if someone is abusing them, or if they are in a situation or observe something that makes them uncomfortable.

CONSEQUENCES OF VIOLATING UNIVERSITY STANDARDS

The University of Washington and [program name] take these matters seriously. In the case of suspected abuse or neglect of a youth or violations of the Standards for Interacting with Youth, the University and [program name] will adhere to existing policies and procedures for corrective action. Actions taken will first and foremost consider the need to ensure the safety of youth participating in the program.

 

2.     [program name] SPECIFIC EXPECTATIONS

[If you have specific expectations with respect to convey to your staff you may include them here. If not, or if you include them in a separate document, delete this section.]

 

3.     HOW TO REPORT VIOLATIONS OF THE STANDARDS FOR INTERACTING WITH YOUTH

Authorized Personnel of youth programs are required to report violations of the Standards for Interacting with Youth.

If you believe a staff member involved in a UW youth program has violated the Standards for Interacting with Youth you must notify SafeCampus at 206-685-7233 within 48 hours.

Information to provide when you call:

  • Information about the behaviors of concern including any concerns for safety or well-being of youth.
  • Information about the persons involved and date, time, location of the event(s).
  • Information about the youth program.

If you believe the staff member has violated the Standards in a way that raises concerns for abuse or neglect, you must first contact either DCYF Child Protective Services or law enforcement (see below for contact information).

If you are unsure about whether someone’s behavior is a violation of the standards, you can consult with your supervisor, or contact SafeCampus or the Office for Youth Programs Development and Support with your concerns and they can provide guidance.

 

4.     HOW TO REPORT SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT

All University of Washington employees and volunteers are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the authorities, as outlined below.

 If you have reasonable cause to believe that a youth has experienced abuse or neglect, or if a youth has disclosed abuse or neglect to you, you are required report that abuse to the proper authorities within 48 hours.

Failure to do so is a violation of [program name] Guidelines for Working with Youth and University of Washington policy. Those who are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect and who fail to do so may be charged with a gross misdemeanor and/or subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

Personnel who become aware of suspected child abuse or neglect must:

  1. If the safety of a youth is of immediate concern, call the police:

Call 9-1-1 for immediate intervention.

  1. For all other concerns, call either Child Protective Services (CPS) or local law enforcement within 48 hours:

DCYF CPS 24-hour Hotline – 1-866-ENDHARM (1-866-363-4276); TTY 1-800-624-6186. Depending on your location you may be connected directly to the appropriate local office to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

Alternatively, call local police, specifically the jurisdiction where the incident occurred. If the incident occurred on UW-Seattle property, call UWPD at 206-685-UWPD(8973).

Information to provide when you call:

Information about the youth, e.g., name, age, contact information and name of parent/guardian(s).

Information about the person suspected of committing the abuse or neglect.

The nature and extent of the abuse or neglect, including location and description of the incident.

Any knowledge of previous incidences.

You do not need to have all of the above information when you call to make a report, but the more accurate information you can provide, the better equipped the office will be to assess the child’s risk.

If you are unsure about whether a report is required, you may use Child Protective Services (CPS) as a sounding board to help determine whether a report should be made and to whom.

  1. For cases involving abuse occurring in a UW program or on UW property, contact your supervisor immediately after making your report to CPS or law enforcement, and contact SafeCampus at 206-685-SAFE (7233). Describe what occurred and who was involved, and any details regarding your conversation with CPS or law enforcement.

[program name] will adhere to existing policies and procedures for corrective action regarding the employee or volunteer, including suspension or termination from [program name] employment or volunteer status.

Confidentiality of information related to abuse is crucial and should be limited to the immediate supervisor, any authorities called, and designated UW internal reporting recipient(s).

 

5.     CONFIRMATION OF UNDERSTANDING

 

I have read the [program name] Standards for Interacting with Youth and I agree to abide by the standards as stated.

I UNDERSTAND VIOLATIONS OF [program name] GUIDELINES FOR WORKING WITH YOUTH MAY RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY ACTION UP TO AND INCLUDING DISMISSAL (SEPARATION OF EMPLOYMENT).  I ACKNOWLEDGE I AM AWARE OF MY RESPONSIBILITIES AND I HAVE RECEIVED A COPY OF THE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING WITH YOUTH.

 

 

Print Name____________________________________ _     Date______________

 

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