Wellesley College Policy on Safety and Well-Being of Minors

Wellesley College Policy on Safety and Well-Being of Minors

 

Commitment to Protecting Minors

Wellesley College (Wellesley or the College) is committed to safeguarding all children and youth involved in our programs or on our campus. The following Policy and Program Guidelines provide direction to employees, students, contractors, vendors and volunteers about expected codes of behavior and sound procedures. Wellesley College will not tolerate any abuse or neglect of a minor in any form (physical, sexual, or emotional) in any Wellesley program or on the Wellesley campus.  This Policy and related procedures are intended to ensure that child protection concerns will be properly addressed and that our programs for children will be safe.

This Policy covers all operations and programs of Wellesley College which involve minors, including without limitation, educational, outreach, summer programs, athletic programs, art, theater and any other operations whether on or off the premises of Wellesley.  For purposes of reporting abuse or neglect, a minor is anyone under the age of 18.  This Policy applies to all employees, students, contractors, vendors, volunteers and others who are interacting with minors on campus or in a Wellesley College program or activity.

Reporting of Abuse or Neglect

All College employees and anyone participating in a Wellesley College program or activity involving minors who knows, suspects, or receives information indicating that a minor has been abused or neglected, or who has other concerns about the safety of minors, are expected to inform the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) immediately by phone, at one of the numbers listed below. More information about warning signs of child abuse and neglect can be found here

In addition, anyone who knows of or suspects abuse or neglect of minors should immediately notify the Wellesley College Police. In an emergency, call (781) 283-5555 or 911 to reach campus police.  Wellesley College Police’s non-emergency line is (781) 283-2121.  Wellesley College Police is responsible ensuring reporting to DCF and to the Town of Wellesley Police Department.

When it is safe and appropriate to do so, College employees are encouraged to also inform their supervisor, department or division head.

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

Additional Obligations for Mandated Reporters

Massachusetts law defines individuals in certain occupations and professions as Mandated Reporters; the following non-exhaustive list includes those categories more likely to apply to a Wellesley College employee:

  • Physicians, nurses; emergency medical technicians;
  • Private school (k-12) teachers, educational administrators, guidance or family counselors;
  • Early education, preschool, child care or after school program staff;
  • Police officers;
  • Allied mental health and licensed human services professionals;
  • Psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers, drug and alcoholism counselors;
  • Persons in charge of a medical or other public or private institution, school or facility or their agents;
  • Clergy members.

Mandated Reporters who, in their professional capacity, have reasonable cause to believe that a child is suffering abuse or neglect, including any physical or emotional injury, must report immediately to DCF.  During regular business hours, call the DCF Area Office that serves the city or town where the minor lives (preferable) or, if the minor’s city or town of residence is not known, DCF’s Framingham Area Office (508) 424-0100.  After hours, call DCF’s 24-hour Child-At-Risk Hotline, 1-800-792-5200.

Within 48 hours of making a verbal report, a Mandated Reporter must also file a written report with DCF detailing the suspected abuse or neglect. There is no need to investigate or wait for proof of abuse or neglect before reporting. 

More information about these obligations can be found here. The Wellesley College Police is available to assist Mandated Reporters throughout the process. 

Making a report to College administrators does not exempt Mandated Reporters from also reporting abuse or neglect to DCF.

Questions: For more information, including a more complete definition of the types of abuse and neglect that are reportable under Massachusetts law and/or College policy, see Definitions of Abuse & Neglect.  Questions about reporting suspected abuse or neglect should be directed to minors@wellesley.edu, however, posing questions to this address is not a substitute for reporting suspect abuse or neglect of minors to DCF . 

Guidelines for Wellesley College Programs Involving Minors (“Program Guidelines”)

These Program Guidelines cover all operations and programs of Wellesley College that involve minors, including without limitation, educational, outreach, summer programs, athletic programs, art, theater and any other operations whether on or off the premises of Wellesley. The Wellesley College Child Study Center is subject to state regulations and has policies and procedures specific to its operations. A minor, for purposes of these Program Guidelines, is anyone under the age of 18 who is not an enrolled Wellesley College student nor working at Wellesley College as an intern or employee.  Also excepted from these Program Guidelines are minors participating in research studies and minors accompanied by parents or guardians or attending public events on campus.

  1. Program Registration Required

All Wellesley College programs involving minors must be registered through the Child Safety Certification website. Once registration is complete, the responsible Program Director will ensure that each authorized adult (staff and volunteers) who will have unsupervised contact with minors in the program is Child Safety Certified before participating in the program.

  1. Child Safety Certification Required

All faculty members, staff, students, volunteers, and other members of the Wellesley community who may have direct and unsupervised contact with minors in the course of their employment or service activity must pass the Wellesley Child Safety Certification prior to commencing their employment or service activity. There are two parts to the Child Safety Certification process:  Background (CORI/SORI) checks and Child Safety Training. Successful completion of these parts will convey Child Safety Certification to the individual for a period of three (3) years and apply to all College programs.

  1. Reference and Background Checks Required

One goal of these Program Guidelines is preventing child abuse by screening out potential abusers before they come to the campus or participate in programs involving minors.

All employees who may have direct and unsupervised contact with minors in the course of their employment must pass thorough reference and background checks, including review of criminal and sexual offender records (CORI/SORI checks). Other persons who may be required by these Program Guidelines to pass background checks may include:

  • volunteers and other members of the Wellesley community who have direct and unsupervised contact with minors in the course of their service for the College;
  • contractors (e.g., photographers, van drivers, caterers) who provide services to Wellesley functions or activities where the contractor may have direct and unsupervised access to minors; and  
  • student volunteers either on or off campus who may have direct and unsupervised access to minors in Wellesley-sponsored activities (e.g., admissions, athletics programs, tutoring and mentoring programs, community service projects, research team members, orientation).

Because there is no federal database for this information, background checks will include a multi-state search involving, in particular, those states where the applicant indicates that they previously resided and worked. The Human Resources office will process and manage all CORI/SORI checks for employees and, as needed, non-Wellesley-affiliated volunteers and contractors. The Career Services office will process and manage all CORI/SORI checks for matriculated Wellesley students.

Wellesley reserves the right to conduct additional background screening any time after employment or volunteer service has begun, as permitted by applicable laws. All individuals subject to the requirements of this Policy, and who enter into employment or volunteer service with the College, may undergo periodic background checks. Any misrepresentations, falsifications, or material omissions in the information submitted to Wellesley, whenever discovered, may result in disqualification from, or termination of, employment or other service with the College.

All background screening accomplished by or on behalf of Wellesley will comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other applicable laws.

  1. Child Safety and Molestation Prevention Training Required

For any child abuse prevention policy to be effective, the people implementing the policy and providing services to minors must have adequate education and training.

All faculty, staff, students, volunteers, and other members of the Wellesley community who work or volunteer in Wellesley programs involving minors are required to participate in the child abuse prevention education and training course(s) determined appropriate by Wellesley at least once every three years and prior to commencing their employment or service activity.

The training will raise awareness of the nature of child abuse and its prevalence in all segments of society, and will include training in abuse prevention strategies; how to identify situations of abuse, neglect or similar endangerment; how to respond to a disclosure of abuse by a minor; how to report those situations to civil and school authorities; and what actions to take to prevent abuse of minors (or minimize further harm) on Wellesley property and at Wellesley-sponsored events and activities. No person required to take the training will be allowed unsupervised access to minors until the training is accomplished.

Students who are participating in community service activities through an independent host entity (e.g., Big Brothers/Big Sisters) and who are CORI/SORI checked by their host are required to take the Child Safety Training but are not required to be CORI/SORI checked by the College.

  1. Limitations on Gifts and Interactions

Faculty, staff, contractors, vendors, students and volunteers are strictly prohibited from:

  • giving gifts as individuals to minors or their families outside of the specific requirements of the program or the specific requirements of their job,
  • meeting with minors individually or with their families outside of the specific requirements of the program or the specific requirements of their job, or
  • interacting with minors individually or with their families through electronic communications such as email or on personal social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or other similar sites outside of the specific requirements of the program or the specific requirements of their job.
  1. Emergency Response Planning Required

Every college-sponsored program which involves minors shall establish an appropriate Emergency/Crisis Response Plan.

Establish a procedure for the notification of each minor's parent/legal guardian in case of an emergency, including medical or behavioral problem, natural disasters, or other significant disruptions. Authorized adults involved in the program or activity, 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/activity.

For residential programs in College facilities, provide a list of all program participants and a directory of program staff to Wellesley College Police. This list shall include the participant's name; local room assignment (if applicable); gender, age, address, and phone number(s) of their parent/legal guardian, as well as emergency contact information.

Provide information to the parent/legal guardian detailing the manner in which the participant and program staff can be contacted during the program or activity.

Follow guidance from health professionals on campus concerning communicable diseases.

Establish a procedure to access emergency medical services at all locations.  

  1. Investigation

Under the following circumstances, Wellesley Campus Police will conduct a prompt and thorough internal investigation in accordance with its procedures:

If the alleged abuse or neglect of a child has taken place on campus or at a Wellesley-sponsored event, or if the alleged perpetrator is employed by, enrolled at or associated with Wellesley College and Wellesley Campus Police have made or ensured that the required oral and written report to DCF.

All members of the Wellesley community are strongly encouraged to cooperate fully and truthfully with an investigation. Employees of the College are required to cooperate fully and truthfully with an investigation. 

When an investigation is pending, the College may impose interim safety or protective measures until the investigation is completed.  Such measures may include, among other actions, a leave of absence for employees or students, a cessation of services for contractors and vendors, as well as stay away or no trespass directives.

Other incidents involving accident or injury may be investigated by Wellesley College Police, the Office of Compliance and Risk Management or other safety personnel, as may be necessary  and appropriate.

  1. Ad-hoc Day Care

No Program or College department shall establish an ad-hoc day care program (e.g., for an adult conference or meeting) without first obtaining approval from the Office of Compliance and Risk Management.

  1. Community Service

All Wellesley-sponsored Community Service programs shall follow this Policy, including these Program Guidelines, with respect to the Child Safety Certification of participants.

  1. Programs Involving Minors Operated by Outside Parties on Wellesley College Property

Any program involving minors operated by outside parties on Wellesley College property must be operated consistently with this Policy and these Program Guidelines. All contracts for the use of College facilities by outside parties for programs involving minors must reference this requirement and provide a link to this Policy.  Outside parties operating programs involving minors on Wellesley College property will have primary reporting responsibility regarding minors involved in their programs.

  1. Questions

For more information, see Program Directors and Managers Responsibilities and Resources. Questions about these Program Guidelines should be directed to minors@wellesley.edu.  Again, posing questions to this address should not take the place of notifying DCF about suspected child abuse or neglect.

Policy Violations

Any person or group found to be in violation of this Policy, including these Program Guidelines, will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, enrollment or services.  If Wellesley determines that a report of misconduct against an individual or group currently affiliated with Wellesley has been substantiated, the responsible party(ies) may be banned from Wellesley’s campus and barred from participating in any Wellesley programs or activities. If the responsible party(ies) is/are a contractor or vendor, the contract or business relationship may be cancelled. Violations may also lead to civil or criminal liability.

Periodic Review

To ensure ongoing compliance with applicable laws, Wellesley College will undertake a periodic review of this Policy and its implementation.

Revised August 1, 2019