USC takes great pride in our commitment and obligation to protect the well-being and safety of minors involved in our university-run or -affiliated programs, activities, and events. We write to you today to enlist your help to make sure you register activities involving minors and keep a watchful eye over minors who participate in our programs, as your help is critical in ensuring and upholding our commitment, which is directly tied to our Unifying Values of well-being and accountability.
The university abides by mandatory youth protection protocols and reporting responsibilities, which apply to minors or individuals under the age of 18, in accordance with applicable laws. Our Office of Youth Protection and Programming is accountable for partnering with stakeholders to support activities including minors and for implementing the key elements required to help keep these participants protected when engaging in USC programs. The Office, led by Vice President of Culture, Ethics and Compliance Stacy Giwa, and Associate Vice President for Clery Compliance and Youth Protection Gabe Gates, recently updated USC’s Protecting Minors Policy to reflect the latest industry standards and best practices in youth protection while incorporating requirements of state and federal law.
Enclosed, you will find key information related to the Protecting Minors Policy. Our collective awareness and understanding of the Policy requirements are critical to keeping minors safe in our community and to fulfilling our legal and ethical obligations as individuals and an institution.
Thank you for all that you do to make USC a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for all.
Felicia A. Washington
Senior Vice President, HR, Equity, and Compliance
Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Protecting Minors Policy: Key Information for Faculty and Staff
Key requirements that remain unchanged
Two key elements have not changed and are important for every USC employee to continue to follow:
- Report. All faculty and staff are required to immediately report suspected child abuse or neglect to the appropriate external agencies and university officials, even if they do not regularly work or interact with minors.
- Register early. All organized activities sponsored by or taking place at USC involving minors must be registered in advance at protectingminors.usc.edu/activity-registration.
What’s new in the Protecting Minors Policy
- Updated reporting process for suspected child abuse or neglect: The reporting process is now as follows:
- Immediately report suspected child abuse or neglect to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) by calling their Child Protection Hotline at 800-540-4000.
- Immediately following a report to DCFS, and within 24 hours, submit notice to the Office of Youth Protection and Programming.
- Within 36 hours of the initial telephone report, and as indicated during the call with DCFS, file a written report with DCFS by completing and submitting Form SS8572 (Suspected Child Abuse Report or “SCAR”).
- Expanded reporting requirements: In addition to reporting suspected child abuse and neglect, all other serious concerns and violations relating to minors (e.g., inappropriate conduct, near misses, serious injuries, etc.) must now be immediately reported to USC’s Office of Youth Protection and Programming for review. This must be done within no more than 24 hours after becoming aware of the original concern.
- Additional safeguards for activities involving minors: To promote environments that help keep both minors and adults safe, the administration of camps, programs, activities, or events involving minors has enhanced requirements. These include but are not limited to minimum supervision ratios, enhanced background screening that will include fingerprint-based background checks, and additional safety planning measures.
Ways to learn more
If you have questions about the policy, the Office of Youth Protection and Programming is offering the following opportunities to connect:
- Fall information session: On Nov. 22 at 9:30 a.m., the Office will provide an overview of the key changes and address any questions related to the Protecting Minors Policy. You can register for this session here.
- Office hours: Beginning Nov. 30, and ongoing the last Wednesday of each month from 1 – 2 p.m., the Office will hold sessions where you can ask questions, seek support and guidance, and talk with others from across the university about matters related to the protection of minors and programming. You can join these without registration at the Zoom link here.
- Email and web: You are welcome to contact the Office by email and/or visit their website to learn more about how USC is working to keep minors safe, how to report concerns involving minors, and how to access various resources aimed at keeping minors safe.