Protocol for Programs Involving Children

Protection of Children at Lesley University

Each year, children and teens under age 18 (“children”) participate in a variety of Lesley University programs and activities both on and off campus. The University is committed to providing a positive environment that promotes the education and safety of children who participate in University-sponsored programs. This Protocol for Programs Involving Children sets forth the University’s requirements for University programs involving children and teens.

It is important for each member of the Lesley community to act immediately if encountering situations in which they find themselves a witness to questionable activity involving children or if they have any suspicion that a child has been abused or neglected. The University expects all members of the Lesley community to help protect the safety and well-being of children with whom they interact and to report known or suspected abuse or neglect of a child immediately to Lesley’s Public Safety Office at 617.349.8888.

Requirements for Programs Involving Children

Definition

A program involving children is any organized event or activity in which children participate that Lesley operates or sponsors, and in which Lesley faculty, staff, students, or volunteers are involved, whether occurring on or off campus. 

Programs involving children include residential programs (involving an overnight stay) and nonresidential programs. They include events or activities that occur on a single day, and events or activities that occur over several days, weeks, or months. 

This Protocol does not apply to:

  1. Events that are open to the general public and are not targeted toward children (e.g. athletic competitions, concerts, art exhibits, or lectures)
  2. Functions, including campus tours, attended by children who are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other non-Lesley adult supervisor
  3. Events or activities where parents, guardians, or other non-Lesley adult supervisors are required to accompany children
  4. Admissions-related activities for prospective students

Lesley Student Internships

For information about Lesley student internships at non-Lesley sites involving children, contact the school or college Field Training Office or Internship Office:

The Lease of Lesley Facilities

For information about the lease of Lesley facilities to third parties for events or programs involving children, contact Facility Rentals at facilityrentals@lesley.edu or Residence Life at reslife@lesley.edu.

Non-Lesley individuals or organizations that wish to operate or sponsor programs or activities involving children on campus must have written agreements with the University that provide certain representations and indemnifications, carry certain minimum limits of insurance, and receive a copy of the University’s Guidelines on Interacting with Children. 

  • Program Registration

    The University requires all programs involving children to be registered with the University General Counsel annually at least 60 days prior to the program’s start date.  To register a program, the following information must be provided:

    • Program name
    • Program description
    • Program director and contact information
    • Cabinet-level approval
    • Program dates, hours, duration, and location
    • Number of child participants and age range
    • Program staffing information (including faculty, staff, students, and volunteers)
    • Staff to children ratio and the number of faculty, staff, students, and volunteers who will work in the program, and anticipated number of children who will participate in the program.
    • Whether the program involves overnight stays, housing, and disrobing/changing clothing
    • Program field trips or travel, including transportation
    • Participation agreements, waivers, and releases


    To register a program, contact the University General Counsel, Shirin Philipp, at legal@lesley.edu.

    Lesley student clubs that organize activities involving children must also register their activities through the Student Activities Office at 617.349.8565.

  • Background Checks

    Under the Background Check Policy (section 3.3 of the Employee Handbook (PDF), the University conducts criminal and sexual offender background checks on all applicants for employment. The University also conducts criminal and sexual offender background checks on individuals working with children before they may participate in a program. The program supervisor of a program involving children is responsible for ensuring that background checks are complete before any faculty, staff, students, or volunteers may participate in the program and for ensuring that the background checks are updated at least once every three years for each faculty member, staff member, student, or volunteer to continue participation in the program. The program supervisor must coordinate with Human Resources to conduct the background checks.

    Human Resources will manage the background check process and will maintain the background check records.  For additional information on background checks and the required forms, contact Human Resources at 617.349.8787. 

    Program staff must be instructed to disclose all prior arrests or convictions involving crimes of a violent or sexual nature and must agree to immediately disclose any new arrest or conviction.

  • Guidelines for Interacting with Children

    The University has established Guidelines for Interacting with Children which apply to all faculty, staff, students, and volunteers who interact with children through University programs and activities. Prior to participating in a program involving children and at least once per year, all faculty, staff, students, and volunteers involved with the program must receive and read a copy of this Protocol for Programs Involving Children and the University’s Guidelines for Interacting with Children.  In addition, prior to participating in a program involving children and at least once per year, all faculty, staff, students, and volunteers must sign a form agreeing to comply with the Guidelines for Interacting with Children. The forms must be retained by program supervisors. 

    Download the Guidelines for Interacting with Children and the acknowledgement form (DOC).

  • Training

    Program supervisors and staff (including students and volunteers) are required to complete certain training before the start of the program and at least once per year thereafter.

    Program Supervisors

    Prior to the start of a program involving children, program supervisors must complete the online training course on recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse and neglect, pursuant to Massachusetts law (M.G.L. c. 119, § 51A(k)), available through the Middlesex Children’s Advocacy Center and print and retain a certificate of completion, which the online training course offers upon completion. 

    Program Staff

    Supervisors of programs involving children are responsible for ensuring that all faculty, staff, students, or volunteers complete the online training course on recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse and neglect, pursuant to Massachusetts law (M.G.L. c. 119, § 51A(k)), available through the Middlesex Children’s Advocacy Center, and print a certificate of completion, which the online training course offers upon completion.  Program supervisors must collect and retain a certificate of completion from each faculty member, staff member, student, and volunteer prior to their participation in the program.

    Program supervisors must also ensure that faculty, staff, students, and volunteers receive a copy of this Protocol for Programs Involving Children and the Guidelines for Interacting with Children and must collect and retain the associated acknowledgement form prior to their participation in the program. 

    Program supervisors are encouraged to supplement this training to meet the specific needs of their programs.  Additional topics may include first aid/CPR and safety/security protocols. 

    Additional training materials and resources are available at the United Educators’ website, including a training entitled “Protecting Children: Identifying and Reporting Sexual Misconduct,” and a video about reporting sexual misconduct entitled “Shine a Light.”

    All staff and volunteers must also be familiar with the University’s Community Standards of Conduct and Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence Policy.

    For more information on training topics and materials, contact Human Resources. 

  • Participant Agreements, Waivers, and Other Documents

    Children and their parents or legal guardians must submit required agreements and forms before participating in programs.  These agreements and forms may include a participation agreement that includes a release, health form, emergency contact form, proof of medical insurance, photo and recording release, and participant code of conduct.  For copies of agreements and forms, contact the University General Counsel. 

  • Transportation

    Transportation of children by faculty, staff, students, volunteers, or others (e.g. contracted vendors) may occur only if it follows a written transportation plan developed by the program and reviewed by the University General Counsel.  In general, transportation of children should be carried out by a contracted vendor. The University General Counsel should review the contract.

  • Reporting Obligations

    Reports of Known or Suspected Abuse or Neglect of Children

    The University expects anyone participating in programs involving children (including faculty, staff, students, and volunteers) who knows, suspects, or receives information indicating that a child has been abused or neglected, or who has other concerns about the safety of children, to immediately inform Lesley’s Public Safety Office at 617-349-8888 or call 911.  This includes not just information or suspicions relating to on-campus conduct, but also suspected abuse or neglect by a parent, guardian, or caretaker.  Lesley’s Public Safety Office is the University’s designated agent to receive such reports and will make required reports to state or local agencies, including the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”), as necessary. 

    Information about the warning signs of child abuse and neglect can be found in the University’s Guidelines on Interacting with Children (DOC) and on the state of Massachusetts website.

    Additional Obligations for Mandated Reporters

    In addition to the reporting obligations above, certain individuals are “Mandated Reporters” and have additional obligations under Massachusetts law. 

    Massachusetts law, M.G.L. c. 119, §51A(a), designates individuals in certain occupations and professions whose work brings them in contact with children as Mandated Reporters and requires these individuals to report to Department of Children and Families when they have reasonable cause to believe that a child is suffering from abuse and/or neglect. 

    Mandated Reporters include, but are not limited to, private school teachers; educational administrators; guidance or family counselors; mental health and licensed human services professionals; psychiatrists, psychologists, and clinical social workers; and early education, preschool, child care, or after school program staff.  Review a complete list of who is considered a Mandated Reporter under Massachusetts law.

    Under Massachusetts law, failure by Mandated Reporters to report suspected child abuse and/or neglect can result in a fine, imprisonment, and/or a report to professional licensing authorities.

    Program staff who are Mandated Reporters and become aware of any instance of known or suspected abuse and/or neglect of a child, must immediately report the suspected abuse or neglect by:

    1. Notifying Lesley’s Public Safety Office, the University’s designated agent to receive such reports, at 617.349.8888, or calling 911; or
    2. Notifying DCF directly at 617.520.8700 (the DCF Cambridge office) or, after office hours, at 800.792.5200 (the DCF Child-at-Risk Hotline)

    If a Mandated Reporter notifies DCF directly, the Mandated Reporter should notify Lesley’s Public Safety Office of the report immediately thereafter so that the University is aware of the report. 

    Within 48 hours of making a verbal report, Mandated Reporters must file a written report with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF), detailing the suspected abuse or neglect. The written report form can be found here, on the DCF website. The Lesley Public Safety Office is available to assist Mandated Reporters throughout the process and free online training is available through the Middlesex Children’s Advocacy Center.

    No Retaliation

    The University will not retaliate or discriminate against any person who makes a good faith report of abuse or neglect of a child.

    If you have any questions or concerns regarding this Protocol for Programs Involving Children, please contact the University General Counsel at 617.349.8505 or legal@lesley.edu.

Contact Human Resources