Best Practices for Activities Involving Minors

September 2022 Update:

Guidelines for Virtual Events with Minors

How to Report Child Abuse & Neglect

This page should be read and used in conjunction with the campus policy on Activities Involving Minors and the Volunteer's Code of Conduct. 

If you have any questions, please contact Risk Services at 510-642-5141 or risk@berkeley.edu

CONTRACTS WITH NON-UNIVERSITY ORGANIZATIONS bringing minors onto campus for an overnight stay or for consecutive-day (or longer) visits must include the following provisions:

• General Liability insurance with limits of at least $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate.

• Sexual Misconduct (also known as Abuse and Molestation) liability insurance with limits of at least $1 million per occurrence and $3 million aggregate. Non-University organizations that do not have Sexual Misconduct Insurance coverage may APPLY FOR COVERAGE HERE for both General Liability and Misconduct Liability insurance. 

• Confirmation from the non-University organization that all their employee, volunteers or staff under their direction (or, if there are no employees, the lead contractor or supervisor) providing direct, on-site supervision of the activity is a mandated reporter under CANRA and has signed a Statement Acknowledging Requirement to Report Child Abuse.

• A link to (or copy of) this policy advising that the non-University organization abides by the requirements contained herein, along with a notification that failure to abide by this policy may constitute grounds for termination of the activity.

• An indemnification clause in which the non-University organization agrees to indemnify The Regents of the University of California for claims, lawsuits, or other actions that arise as a result of the non-University organization’s use of campus facilities. Standard language reads as follows:

[NON-UNIVERSITY ORGANIZATION] shall defend, indemnify and hold THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, its officers, employees and agents harmless from and against any and all liability, loss, expense, including reasonable attorneys' fees, or claims for injury or damages arising out of the performance of this Agreement, but only in proportion to and to the extent such liability, loss, expense, attorneys' fees, or claims for injury or damages are caused by or result from the negligent or intentional acts or omissions of [NON-UNIVERSITY ORGANIZATION], its officers, agents or employees. 

DEPARTMENTAL ACTIVITIES that involve minors should adopt the below best practices that the campus has identified associated with the following topics. 

  1. Behavioral Expectations for Adults Supervising Minors
  2. Screening Applicants for Volunteer Positions
  3. Physical Contact with Minors
  4. Disciplining Minors
  5. Transportation
  6. Supervision of Bathroom Use
  7. Supervision of Locker Room Use
  8. Release of Minors at the Conclusion of an Activity
  9. Non-Program Contact with Minors

BEHAVIORAL EXPECTATIONS FOR EVERY SUPERVISOR OF MINORS

Minors will be treated respectfully at all times, regardless of their actions or behavior.

Minors will be treated fairly regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or any other basis covered by the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy.

To minimize bullying and physical abuse, groups of minors more than two years of age from each other will be kept apart to the maximum extent feasible.

Adults participating in a campus activity involving minors will not do any of the following with or in the presence of minors:

  • Use profanity
  • Tell off-color jokes or banter suggestively
  • Discuss personal problems or sexual experiences
  • View sexually suggestive materials or make those materials available to minors
  • Comment on other peoples’ bodies
  • Use alcohol or narcotics or offer alcohol or narcotics to minors

Adults participating in a campus activity involving minors will not permit any of the following interactions with or between minors:

  • Bullying
  • Hazing
  • Derogatory name-calling
  • Ridicule or humiliation
  • Truth or Dare or similar games
  • Sexual touching

SCREENING APPLICANTS FOR VOLUNTEER POSITIONS 

Before a volunteer is allowed to participate in a campus activity involving minors, the department in charge of the activity will submit the volunteer to a LiveScan background check that includes a search of the Live Scan background check of the DOJ, FBI, and National Sex Offender Public Registry) to see whether the potential volunteer is registered as a sex offender. if the potential volunteer is listed as a sex offender, the volunteer MAY NOT participate in the activity involving minors.

Click here for more information on setting up criminal background checks.

Departments should ask each volunteer to provide the contact information of at least three friends or family members who can serve as character references. The department should then call those references. If any reference providers hesitate to recommend the potential volunteer due to past problems with minors, the department should refuse to permit the volunteer to participate in the activity. 

For further advice on screening volunteers, contact Risk Services at risk@berkeley.edu.


PHYSICAL CONTACT WITH MINORS

The campus understands that physical contact between non-related adults and minors can be essential to the minor’s well-being and self-esteem. The following types of contact may be permitted:

  • Handshakes
  • High-fives and hand slapping
  • Pats on the shoulder or back
  • Side hugs (with consent)
  • Feeding and grooming of babies and toddlers (including diaper changes)
  • Holding hands while escorting children (ex. helping with street crossing)
  • Other brief contact intended to comfort distressed children below the age 12 so long as another adult is witnessing it
  • Teaching a physical technique that literally requires hands-on instruction, such as finger placement on a musical instrument or positioning for an athletic activity, so long as it is conducted either in the open or in an interior space (1) with doors and windows open and (2) in a building open to the public at the time of the touching
  • Assisting disabled minors who need assistance with a major life function, so long as at least one other person is present and observing
  • Any contact to aid an injured minor or a minor in imminent danger of physical harm (such as a struggling swimmer)
  • Separating minors involved in an altercation

 The following are types of contact that IS NOT permitted:

  • Frontal hugs
  • Kisses
  • Lap sitting
  • Massages or rubs
  • Piggyback rides
  • Tickling
  • Touches on the buttocks, chest, or groin (except when changing diapers)
  • Wrestling
  • Any intended affection unwanted by the minor
  • Any touching conducted in private (i.e. no other adults or children present)
  • Physical or sexual abuse of minors will not be tolerated. 

DISCIPLINING MINORS 

No adult associated with a campus activity involving minors should ever use physical punishment to manage a minor’s behavior. This prohibition should extend to, but not be limited to, spanking, slapping, pinching, or hitting. 

TRANSPORTATION

Walking

Parents/guardians should be informed in advance of any walking activity with minors under eight years of age that includes crossing a street used by automotive vehicles. The parents/guardians should be informed of known traffic hazards and what steps the activity involving minors will take to mitigate those hazards. Parents/guardians should provide written permission before their minors under age eight participate in such a walk.

When walking off-campus as part of their activity, minors under age twelve should wear identifying lanyards, badges, vests, or shirts. At least one adult should lead the procession and permit no minor to walk ahead. At least one adult should follow the procession and permit no minor to lag behind. The procession should stop on a regular basis for a head count. Unless safety considerations dictate otherwise, the procession should not advance until all minors are accounted for.

Automobiles

Parents/guardians should be informed in advance if their minor will be driven someplace. Parents/guardians should provide advance written permission to transport their minor via van or automobile.

If possible, drivers should use a University vehicle. Second preference is a rental vehicle (such as a 10 passenger van) obtained through a preferred provider. 

Drivers should present the supervisor of the activity involving minors an up-to-date copy of their driver record from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If the driver record shows moving violations within the last three years, or a driving-under-the-influence conviction at any time, the driver should not be approved. Drivers who cannot or will not present copies of their driver record should not be allowed to transport minors.

No adult should drive one minor unless the driver is the minor’s parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or sibling. In all other circumstances except emergencies, drivers should inform their supervisor and the parent of the minor in advance before driving one minor.

Minors should not be transported by motorcycle.

Vans, Buses, and Other Commercial Transportation

Departments should notify parents/guardians in advance if minors will be driven someplace. Parents/guardians should provide advance written permission to transport their minor via van or bus.

For minors, age twelve or under, adults should be seated throughout the bus for easier supervision, with at least one adult in the middle of the bus and one in the far rear. Adults should sit in an aisle seat so they can get up to supervise minors as necessary.

Minors should be seated by grade or age group. Disruptive minors should be seated next to an adult.

Adults supervising the activity involving minors should take a head count or roll call before loading and after unloading a van, bus, or another form of commercial transportation, and unless safety considerations dictate otherwise, should not proceed until all minors are accounted for.

Public Transportation

Departments should notify parents/guardians in advance if minors will be taken someplace via public transportation. Parents/guardians should provide advance written permission to transport their minor via public transportation.

Minors under age twelve should be restricted to one area of the bus or train for easier supervision. Adults should stand or sit on the periphery of the area to which minors on public transportation are restricted. They should take a head count or call roll before boarding public transportation and upon leaving public transportation, and unless safety considerations dictate otherwise, should not proceed until all minors are accounted for.

SUPERVISION OF BATHROOM USE

Adults should use staff-only bathrooms. If no staff-only bathrooms are available, adults should use bathrooms when no minors are present. If adults must use a bathroom when a minor is present, the adult needs to follow the rule of three, i.e. at least one other adult or minor should also be present.

For minors age twelve and under, adults should escort two or more minors to the bathroom for group bathroom breaks. The adult should not send in more minors than the number of stalls and/or urinals available in the bathroom. As one student exits the bathroom, another may enter. The supervising adult should stand by the doorway and ensure students are leaving the bathroom in a timely manner. 

For minors fourteen or older, an adult supervising the activity should give permission for the minor to leave the activity to use the bathroom. The adult should note when the minor left for the bathroom and when the minor returned. If the minor does not return in a timely manner, the adult in charge of the activity should promptly check on the minor. During periods of transition from one activity to another, minors do not need permission to use bathrooms, but adults should randomly monitor bathrooms to ensure minors are not lingering or acting inappropriately in them.

SUPERVISION OF LOCKER ROOM USE 

Adults should not change clothing or shower in locker rooms at the same time as minors, nor should they watch minors undress or shower.

While minors shower, at least one adult in charge of the activity should stand within earshot of the minors to ensure that no adults are showering with them and that the minors are respectful of one another.

RELEASE OF MINORS AT THE CONCLUSION OF AN ACTIVITY 

Campus units in charge of activities involving minors should develop written protocols for the release of minors at the end of the activity. Campus units should supervise minors until they are picked up by an adult with advanced written authorization to take custody of the minor. Only with the advance written consent of parents/guardians, may campus units release minors into the custody of others or may release minors to their own custody.

Campus units in charge of activities involving minors should develop protocols for extended supervision of minors in the event of a natural disaster or other unanticipated interruption of the activity, or if continuous adult supervision becomes difficult for any other reason.

NON-PROGRAM CONTACT WITH MINORS

Employees and volunteers who are part of a campus activity involving minors may not meet in person outside the activity with any individual minor, regardless of in-person meetings or telephonic and electronic communication. 

GIFTS

Employees participating in a campus activity involving minors may give a token gift (under $25 value) to all minors involved in the activity. However, no adult participating in a campus activity involving minors is allowed to give an individual minor in the program a gift (regardless of value).