Policy set on child safety in university programs

The university has a new policy outlining the obligation of faculty, staff, and students to report suspected child abuse and setting employee screening, training, and conduct requirements for university programs serving minor children.

The policy, developed by a universitywide committee and approved by the board of trustees, went into effect this summer. It covers programs—such as camps, classes, workshops, and early childhood centers—that serve children under 18. It applies to activities on campus, even if the sponsor or organizer is not from the university or is staffed by employees of a contractor. It also applies to off-campus programs that are operated by the university or by an employee identified by his or her university affiliation.

The policy, online at tinyurl.com/jhu-childsafety-policy, mandates reporting of suspected physical or sexual abuse or neglect of a child to government or law enforcement authorities, as required by Maryland law, and to the university's general counsel.

In a message announcing the policy, Provost Lloyd Minor and Senior Vice President Daniel Ennis said that it "reiterates and reinforces our responsibility to these young people."

"It is critical that all members of the university community understand and follow through on these responsibilities," they wrote, "so that our institution may be a safe and nurturing one for the minds of tomorrow."

The committee that drafted the policy was chaired by Elaine Hansen, executive director of the Center for Talented Youth, and included representatives from academic and administrative departments. The committee's work helped ensure that the university's procedures and policies reflect its commitment to child safety and outline a consistent and uniform approach to implementation, Minor and Ennis said.

Questions about the policy and child abuse reporting obligations should go to the Office of the General Counsel at 410-516-8128. The university maintains a compliance hotline (877-932-6675) that individuals may use to make inquiries, anonymously if desired, concerning suspected child abuse and child sexual misconduct.

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