Administrative Policies

AD39 Minors Involved in University-Sponsored Programs or Programs Held at the University and/or Housed in University Facilities

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Sandy Weaver, 814-865-8785,

Policy Steward: 

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff



To provide for appropriate supervision of minors who are involved in University-sponsored programs, programs held at the University and/or programs housed in University facilities at all geographic locations with the exception of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center campus (including the College of Medicine), the client representation clinics of Dickinson Law, the Psychological Clinic, and University Health Services which will follow separate policies that reflect their unique activities.  Supervision of minors who are involved in University research is addressed by Institutional Review Board processes as outlined in RP03, and is not addressed by this policy.  This policy also does not apply to general public events where parents/guardians are invited/expected to provide supervision of minors, or to events where parents/guardians are explicitly required to accompany their children.


  • Child - A person under the age of eighteen (18).
  • University Facilities - Facilities owned by, or under the control of, the University with the exception of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center campus (including the College of Medicine) and the Student Health Center (University Park) which will follow separate policies that reflect the unique activities that occur in those locations.
  • Programs - Programs and activities offered by various academic or administrative units of the University, or by non-University groups using University facilities subject to Policies AD02 or AD03. This includes but is not limited to workshops, sport camps, academic camps, conferences, pre-enrollment visits, 4H or Cooperative Extension programs and similar activities.
  • Sponsoring Unit- The academic or administrative unit of the University which offers a program or gives approval for housing or use of facilities pursuant to AD02 or AD03.
  • Authorized Adult- Individuals, age 18 and older, paid or unpaid, who interact with, supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee minors in program activities, recreational, and/or residential facilities. This includes but is not limited to faculty, staff, volunteers, graduate and undergraduate students, interns, employees of temporary employment agencies, and independent contractors/consultants. The Authorized Adults’ roles may include positions as counselors, chaperones, coaches, instructors, etc. Authorized Adults are considered to be mandated reporters as defined by Pennsylvania law. Further guidance on reporting child abuse for Penn State employees is provided in Policy AD72 and University Human Resources policy(ies).
  • Direct Contact - Positions with the possibility of care, supervision, guidance or control of children or routine interaction with children.
  • One-On-One Contact - Personal, unsupervised interaction between any Authorized Adult and a participant without at least one other Authorized Adult, parent or legal guardian being present.


A sponsoring unit offering or approving a program which involves minors or provides University housing for minors participating in a program, or a non-University group being sponsored for a program, whether utilizing University housing or not, shall:

  1. Establish a procedure for the notification of the minor's parent/legal guardian in case of an emergency, including medical or behavioral problem, natural disasters, or other significant program disruptions. Authorized Adults with the program, as well as participants and their parents/legal guardians, must be advised of this procedure in writing prior to the participation of the minors in the program.
  2. For residential programs at University facilities, provide a list of all program participants and a directory of program staff to the campus unit(s) responsible for police services (their contact information will be provided to the sponsors by the University). This list shall include participant's name; local room assignment (if applicable); gender, age, address, and phone number(s) of parent or legal guardian, as well as emergency contact information.
  3. Provide information to parent or legal guardian detailing the manner in which the participant can be contacted during the program.
  4. Provide a Medical Treatment Authorization form to the campus unit responsible for health services. Any request to amend the approved form must be approved by the Director of University Health Services prior to its distribution or use. All forms must include the following:
    1. A statement informing the parent/legal guardian that the University does (or does not, as applicable) provide medical insurance to cover medical care for the minor.
    2. A statement authorizing the release of medical information (HIPAA) and emergency treatment in case the parent/legal guardian/emergency contact cannot be reached for permission.
    3. A list of any physical, mental or medical conditions the minor may have, including any allergies that could impact his/her participation in the program.
    4. All emergency contact information including name, address and phone number of the emergency contact.
  5. Follow guidance from University Health Services concerning communicable diseases. 
  6. University Policy SY21 shall be followed concerning first aid kits and epinephrine (“epi”) pens.  Participants’ medicines may be distributed by program staff, under the following conditions:
    1. The participant’s family provides the medicine in its original pharmacy container labeled with the participant’s name, medicine name, dosage and timing of consumption. Over-the-counter medications must be provided in their manufacturers’ container.
    2. Staff shall keep the medicine in a secure location, and at the appropriate time for distribution shall meet with the participant.
    3. The staff member shall allow the participant to self-administer the appropriate dose as shown on the container.
    4. Any medicine which the participant cannot self-administer, must be stored and administered by a licensed healthcare professional associated with the campus or, if no one is available, arrangements must be made with another health care professional in advance of the participant’s arrival. The event coordinator should consult with the location’s health service and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access ADA Coordinator to discuss reasonable accommodations in the above situation.
    5. Personal “epi” pens and inhalers may be carried by the participant during activities.
  7. Arrange to access emergency medical services at all locations and, for events at University Park, access to these services must be pursuant to ADG04.  Medical care appropriate for the nature of the events, expected attendance and other variables should be discussed with the Director of University Health Services.
  8. Follow appropriate safety measures approved by the Office of Environmental Health & Safety for laboratory and research work as outlined in SY01.
  9. Ensure adequate supervision of minors while they are on University property. All activities involving minors must be supervised by at least two or more Authorized Adults or by their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) at all times. Some of the factors to consider in determining "adequate supervision" are the number and age of participants, the activity(ies) involved, type of housing if applicable, and age and experience of the counselors. See also, item 15 below.
  • When Penn State students are hosting High School students, including prospective athletes, participating in pre-enrollment visitation, the requirement for two Authorized Adults will be waived. This requirement also does not apply to licensed psychologists providing psychological and counseling services to minors.
  • All supervised participants in a University program or a program taking place on University property are permitted in the general use facilities [e.g. athletic fields, public spaces, academic buildings] but may be restricted from certain areas of the facilities [e.g. storage rooms, equipment rooms, athletic training rooms, staff/faculty offices] or from utilizing certain equipment.
  1. Develop and make available to participants the rules and discipline measures applicable to the program. Program participants and staff must abide by all University regulations and may be removed from the program for non-compliance with rules. The following must be included in program rules:
    1. The possession or use of alcohol and other drugs, fireworks, guns and other weapons is prohibited.
    2. The operation of a motor vehicle by minors is prohibited while attending and participating in the program.
    3. The parking of staff and participant vehicles must be in accordance with University parking regulations.
    4. Rules and procedures governing when and under what circumstances participants may leave University property during the program.
    5. No violence, including sexual abuse or harassment, will be tolerated.
    6. Hazing of any kind is prohibited. Bullying including verbal, physical, and cyber bullying are prohibited.
    7. No theft of property regardless of owner will be tolerated.
    8. No use of tobacco products (smoking is prohibited in all University buildings) will be tolerated.
    9. Misuse or damage of University property is prohibited. Charges will be assessed against those participants who are responsible for damage or misuse of University property.
    10. The inappropriate use of cameras, imaging, and digital devices is prohibited including use of such devices in showers, restrooms, or other areas where privacy is expected by participants.
    11. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination (including sexual harassment and/or sexual abuse) against Youth Participants in any of the University’s education programs or activities, including recreational and/or athletic programs or services operated by the University.  Please click here to review the University’s Title IX policy and procedures. To report an incident of suspected sex or gender-based discrimination, please contact Penn State’s Title IX Coordinator, using the contact information below:

Amber Grove, Title IX Coordinator

227 West Beaver Avenue, Suite 212; State College, PA 16801


or submit the Online Reporting Form  

11. Obtain all media and liability releases as part of the program registration process. All data gathered shall be confidential, is subject to records retention guidelines, and shall not be disclosed, except as provided by law.

12. Assign a staff member who is at least 21 years of age to be accessible to participants. The staff member must reside in the housing unit, if applicable. Additional Authorized Adults will be assigned to ensure one-on-one contact with minors does not occur and that appropriate levels of supervision are implemented. See also item 15 below.

When there are High School students, including prospective athletes, participating in pre-enrollment visitation, the hosting Penn State University student(s) will not be required to be at least 21 years of age and the requirement for two Authorized Adults will also be waived.

  1. All Authorized Adults who have direct contact with minors are required to have a valid background clearance on record with the University at the time of hire and/or beginning work with minors. The three clearances required include:
  • Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Background Check (SP4-164)
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance Form (CY-113)
  • Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Criminal Background Check (Criminal History Report)

Background clearances that have any negative or questionable results must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Human Resources Recruitment and Compensation Division prior to the individual being hired and/or working with minors.

As per Pennsylvania's Child Protective Services Law, required clearances are valid for 60 months (5 years) and must be renewed prior to the expiration date to remain valid. Authorized Adults are required to notify the appropriate Human Resources representative of an arrest (charged with a misdemeanor or felony) or conviction for an offense enumerated in the Penn State

within 72 hours of knowledge of the arrest or conviction. The Penn State Arrest and Conviction self-disclosure form provides the list of arrests and/or convictions that must be disclosed and this form must be used to provide the information in writing to the appropriate Human Resources representative. This includes any arrests or convictions that occur either between the date of disclosure for a University run background check and the date work begins, or the date of issuance of the publicly-available background checks, and the date work begins.

Overall guidance for background checks is provided in Policy HR99-Background Check Process.

* Licensed Child Care Centers affiliated with the University shall be subject to the applicable PA Department of Public Welfare regulations.

  1. If applicable, require the program to adopt and implement rules and regulations for proper supervision of minors in University housing. The following must be included:
    1. Written permission signed by the parent/guardian for the minor to reside in University housing.
    2. A curfew time which is age-appropriate for the participants, but in no case shall it be later than midnight.
    3. In-room visitation to be restricted to participants of the same gender.
    4. Guests of participants (other than a parent/legal guardian and other program participants) are restricted to visitation in the building lobby and/or floor lounges, and only during approved hours specified by the program.
    5. The program must comply with all security measures and procedures specified by University Housing Services and Police Services.
    6. Pre-enrollment visit programs for high school students housed overnight in residence halls must be registered with the Office of Residence Life.
  2. Require the program to provide and supervise trained counselors (also considered to be Authorized Adults) who must be at least 18 years of age, in accordance with the following:
    1. The ratio of counselors to program participants must reflect the gender distribution of the participants, and should meet the following:

      Standards for resident camps are:
    • One staff member for every five campers ages 4 and 5
    • One staff member for every six campers ages 6 to 8
    • One staff member for every eight campers ages 9 to 14
    • One staff member for every 10 campers ages 15 to 17

      Standards for non-residential camps and programs* are:
    • One staff member for every six participants ages 4 and 5
    • One staff member for every eight participants ages 6 to 8
    • One staff member for every ten participants ages 9 to 14
    • One staff member for every twelve participants ages 15 to 17
    1. Training for the counselors must include, at a minimum, information about responsibilities and expectations; policies, procedures, and enforcement; appropriate crisis/emergency responses; safety and security precautions; confidentiality issues involving minors; mandated reporting; and University responsibility/liability. Counselors must know how to request local emergency services and how to report suspected child abuse (counselors are considered to be mandated reporters as defined by Pennsylvania law).
    2. Responsibilities of the counselors must include, at a minimum, informing program participants about safety and security procedures, University rules, rules established by the program, and behavioral expectations. Counselors are responsible for following and enforcing all rules and must be able to provide information included herein to program participants and be able to respond to emergency(ies).
  3. Pursuant to Policy AD72, ALL University employees, volunteers and independent contractors, regardless of their status as a mandated reporter as defined by Pennsylvania law, who, in the course of their business or volunteer activity, have reasonable suspicion of child abuse, as defined by Pennsylvania law, are to make a report as outlined in Policy AD 72 and fully reproduced below.

In addition, ALL University employees, volunteers and independent contractors, who, in the course of their business or volunteer activity, receive a specific disclosure from a person that an identifiable child is a victim of child abuse, or that the person has abused a child, are also required to make a report as outlined in Policy AD 72 and fully reproduced below. Please note that information learned through any confidential communications made to an attorney subject to the attorney-client privilege or to a member of the clergy subject to the clergy-penitent privilege is not required to be reported.

Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law, any University employee, volunteer. and/or independent contractor, who is defined by law as a mandated reporter, must make a report if there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse under any of the following circumstances (23 Pa. C.S.§6311(b)):

  1. The mandated reporter comes into contact with the child in the course of employment, occupation and practice of a profession or through a regularly scheduled program, activity or service.
  2. The mandated reporter is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child, or is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, school, regularly established church or religious organization or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child.
  3. A person makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the victim of child abuse.
  4. An individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the individual has committed child abuse.

How to Make a Report

If you are making a report as a mandated reporter pursuant to Pennsylvania law or as a University employee, independent contractor, or volunteer (or both), follow these steps:

  1. If a child is in immediate danger, contact police at 911 to obtain immediate protection for the child.
  2. Immediately make an oral report to the Pennsylvania Department of Human services via ChildLine (1-800-932-0313) (23 Pa. C.S. § 6313(a) (1)) or an electronic report using the Child Welfare Portal at  Solely informing a supervisor that you suspect abuse is NOT sufficient under this Policy or the law.
  3. Immediately, but in no event later than 48 hours after calling ChildLine (as described in #2 above), prepare and submit a written report utilizing Form CY47, which may be submitted electronically, to the County Children and Youth agency where the suspected abuse occurred (23 Pa. C.S. §6313(a)(2)).  If you make an electronic report using the Child Welfare Portal (as described in #2 above), you are not required to submit a Form CY47 to the County Children and Youth Agency.
  4. Whenever an employee, volunteer or independent contractor makes a report, that person shall also make an internal report to the University’s designated agents for purposes of Policy AD 72 and this policy and Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law, pursuant to (23 Pa. C.S.§6311(c)) by immediately sending an email to, attaching the completed Form CY47 (if required, as described in #3 above).  In response to the email, the person making the report will be contacted by University Police Services, Penn State’s Office of Ethics & Compliance, and/or Penn State’s Risk Management Office. All University employees, volunteers, and independent contractors are required to assist the University, to the extent deemed necessary by the University, in gathering factual information related to the report.
  5. Forward any subsequent communication from the Department of Human Services relating to the report to
  6. To the extent provided by law, Penn State will preserve the confidentiality of all child abuse and neglect reports and records to protect the privacy rights of the person making the report. (23 Pa. C.S. §6340).

17. Authorized Adults participating in programs and activities covered by this Policy shall not:

  1. Have one-on-one contact with minors: there must be two or more adults present during activities where minors are present. Authorized Adults also shall not have any direct electronic contact with minors without another adult being included in the communication.
  2. In the case of adults supervising minors overnight, Authorized Adult should not enter a minor’s room, bathroom facility, or similar area without another adult in attendance, consistent with the policy of not having one-on-one contact with minors.
  3. Separate accommodations for adults and minors are required other than the minors’ parents or guardians.
  4. Engage in abusive conduct of any kind toward, or in the presence of, a minor.
  5. Strike, hit, administer corporal punishment to, or touch in an inappropriate or illegal manner any minor.
  6. Pick up minors from or drop off minors at their homes, other than the driver’s child(ren), except as specifically authorized in writing by the minor’s parent or legal guardian.
  7. Authorized Adults shall not provide alcohol or illegal drugs to any minor. Authorized Adults shall not provide prescription drugs or any medication to any minor unless specifically authorized in writing by the parent or legal guardian as being required for the minor’s care or the minor’s emergency treatment. Participants’ medicines may be distributed by program staff, following the conditions outlined in section 6 of this document.
  8. Make sexual materials in any form available to minors participating in programs or activities covered by this Policy or assist them in any way in gaining access to such materials.

Items 17a, 17b, and 17c, do not apply when there are High School students, including prospective athletes, participating in pre-enrollment visitation, hosted by Penn State University student(s).

Item 17a does not apply to licensed psychologists providing psychological and counseling services to minors.

  1. If an allegation of inappropriate conduct has been made against an Authorized Adult participating in a program, s/he shall discontinue any further participation in programs and activities covered by this Policy until such allegation has been satisfactorily resolved.

Authorized personnel/signatories for non-University groups using University facilities must provide to the sponsoring unit satisfactory evidence of compliance with all of the requirements of this Policy at least thirty (30) days prior to the scheduled use of University facilities, as well as sign an approved agreement for use of University facilities, if applicable.

  1. For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of Ethics and Compliance.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of Human Resources.


Other Policies in this Manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

AD02 - Non-University Groups Using University Facilities,

AD03 - Conducting Educational Programs Using the Name of The University,

AD26 - Sales of Food and Beverages at University Locations,

AD27 - Commercial Sales Activities at University Locations,

AD34 - University Recycling Program,

AD42 - Statement on Nondiscrimination and Harassment,

AD72 - Reporting Suspected Child Abuse,

ADG04 - Providing Emergency Medical Services at University Events at University Park,

HR02 - Employment of Minors,

HR99 - Background Check Process,

SY01 - Environmental Health and Safety Policy,

SY05 - Persons, Other Than Students or Employees, Who are Injured or Become Ill on University Property,

SY21 - First Aid Kits,

SY28 - Emergency Evacuations and Fire Drills - Residence Halls, and

RA14 - The Use of Human Participants in Research

Effective Date: January 1, 2015

Date Approved: December 22, 2014

Date Published: January 1, 2015

Most Recent Changes:

  • January 10, 2022 - Editioral changes in Section 13 to clarify required clearances are only valid for 5 years and must be renewed and to remove the provisional hire language.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • January 13, 2021 - Updated to add item "k" under Section 10.
  • October 8, 2018 - Updated broken links in policy: Dickinson Law, Psychological Clinic, County Children and Youth Agency, and changed RA14 to RP03.
  • January 1, 2015 - Edits have been made to the DEFINITIONS, Section 13, Section 16 and Section 19 to comply with changes in the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL).
  • June 10, 2014 - Editorial changes in the POLICY section of the policy, #16, changing contact offices from Office of General Counsel and Risk Management and Privacy Office to Office of Ethics & Compliance and Risk Management, respectively.
  • October 15, 2013 - Editorial changes in the PURPOSE section of the policy, adding policy links for the Dickinson School of Law and the Psychological Clinic, respectively, who follow separate policies that reflect their unique activities as it pertains to supervision of minors. Additionally, policy steward information has been added at the top of the policy, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • February 21, 2013 - The following updates have been added throughout the policy to clarify details in the process:
    • Clarified, in PURPOSE section, last sentence, those scenarios where the policy does NOT apply.
    • Addition of the Psychological Clinic to the units that are excluded from AD39 and who must have a separate policy in place due to their specific requirements.
    • Clarification of submission of form CY47 to report suspected child abuse to “the county children and youth agency” instead of the Department of Public Welfare.  A direct link to form CY47 was also added.
    • Clarification of the method for Program Directors to report suspected child abuse to University Police Services, Office of General Counsel, and Risk Management & Privacy Office.  Now requires an email be sent to which will then prompt a response by one of the above listed departments/offices.
    • Clarification of the need to send participant listings to police services for residential programs only.
    • Revised language for “day camps” to “non-residential camps and programs” within the document.
    • Clarification that ratios for adults and children at the licensed child care centers affiliated with the University are subject to the applicable PA Department of Public Welfare regulations.
    • Clarification that background checks for those working directly with minors must be completed annually.
    • Clarification that background checks from publicly-available websites must be completed annually.
  • January 23, 2013 - Editorial change to #16 in the POLICY section. Instead of providing written notification to the Department of Public Welfare, the verbiage now instructs to provide such notification to "the county children and youth agency within 48 hours of filing the oral report (utilizing form CY47)"
  • June 7, 2012 - Additional clarifications, including update of requirements for high school students visiting on pre-enrollment visits with Penn State students, clarification of reporting process and exclusion of client representation clinics in Dickinson School of Law from policy.
  • April 11, 2012 - Major revisions, reflecting improvements to the process. Revisions include clarifications about procedure, training, clearances, responsibilities and reporting of incidents for individuals who supervising minors that are participating in programs and activities covered by this policy.
  • April 28, 2010 - Multiple changes, clarifying policy details pertinent to the administration of youth programs involving minors housed in University facilities.
  • June 15, 2006 - Revision History added.
  • June 1, 1998 - Added reference to Administrative Guideline ADG04, EMT Services.
  • August 28, 1995 - Expanded the number/types of people requiring information about the notification of medical emergencies regarding participants; added factors to consider for "adequate supervision"; and added information about confidentiality issues concerning minors and University responsibility and liability.
  • October 20, 1992 - New Policy.

Date Approved: 

December 22, 2014

Date Published: 

January 1, 2015

Effective Date: 

January 1, 2015