University Programs or Activities Involving Minors

Each year Rice University faculty, staff and students host a variety of virtual, on- and off-campus programs and camps for minors, individuals under the age of 18 who are not enrolled or accepted to enroll in a degree program at Rice. These activities range from summer sports camps to STEM focused programs to creative writing camps. Almost every department across campus provides some type of programming to the K-12 audience. The goal of this site is to provide information and resources to campus program sponsors. If you have any questions regarding hosting programs for minors, please contact the Youth Protection Manager at youthprotection@rice.edu.

Policy Guidelines

Program directors and all authorized adults participating in a program must adhere to Policy 811 - University Programs or Activities Involving Minors. This policy identifies programmatic safeguards and requirements, including program registration, background check requirements and identifying other topics that organizes are advised to follow.

Program Registration

To register your virtual, on- or off-campus Rice sponsored program, please visit the Minors Program Registration System and complete the program registration process.

  • All programs must register at least 30 days in advance of the start date.
  • Information to gather prior to starting a program registration:
    • Date and time of session
    • Detailed session description
    • Interaction with youth
    • Chart of Accounts or Project/Task number
    • List of authorized adults
    • Emergency action plan
  • Once the registration is complete, it is reviewed by the Office of Risk Management. If the program involves minors engaged in lab activity, Environmental Health & Safety will review the registration as well. For information regarding minors engaged in lab activities, please refer to Policy 313 - Laboratory Safety Policy. For questions on minors in laboratories, please contact safety@rice.edu.

Background Checks

Any adult participating in a program who has direct contact or will be in a private or secluded area with minors must have a current background check (within the last three years) on file with Risk Management before participating in the program. You will receive an email with instructions on completing the background check once you are listed as an authorized adult for a university program or activity in the minors program registration system.

  • Background checks can take anywhere from two to seven days to complete.
  • The department/organization sponsor is responsible for covering the cost of background checks and providing a Chart of Accounts or Project/Task number at registration and no later than 14 days prior to the start of the program. The estimated cost of each background check can range from $28 to $45 with out of state checks incurring more fees.
  • Background checks for programs or activities involving minors differs from new hire background checks. Background checks from outside organizations are not accepted.
  • A decision denying an individual permission to participate in a program will be made in consultation with General Counsel, Office of Risk Management and others as appropriate. The department or office in charge will be notified accordingly.
  • Authorized adults and program sponsors will continue to receive reminders until this step is complete.

Child Protection Training

Any adult participating in a program who has direct contact or will be in a private or secluded area with minors must complete Child Protection Training (within the last two years) before participating in the program. This requirement does not apply to any individual who has only incidental contact with children in the course of performing their job duties. The required training is an hour long and will cover a number of topics including:

  • Definitions of various forms of abuse
  • Signs and effects of abuse and molestation
  • Steps for reporting known or suspected abuse

You will receive an email with instructions on completing the child protection training once you are listed as an authorized adult in a university program or activity in the minors program registration system. Authorized adults and program sponsors will continue to receive reminders until this training is complete.

Reporting Child Abuse

All Rice employees, faculty, staff, students, volunteers and independent contractors have a legal obligation to report abuse or neglect whether it is witnessed suspected or reported. If you witness or receive a report of child abuse or neglect:

  • Remove the minor from the abusive environment
  • Call the Rice University Police Department at x6000 if the activity is on campus or 911 to report the abuse to local law enforcement if the activity is off-campus.
  • Report the situation to your supervisor or if they are the abuser, someone else in a management role.
  • Supervisors should file an online report with the Texas Department of Family Protective Services.
  • Suspected or actual wrongdoing may also be reported through the Rice University EthicsLine or by calling 866-294-4633. Reports may be submitted anonymously and confidentially and will be directed to the appropriate University official for investigation.

Third Party Programs

A third party program is an outside organization that reserves space on campus for an activity or program. Third party programs hosted on campus involving minors are required to follow Policy 811. The specific requirements of this policy must be incorporated into any contract or subcontract that involves minors in order to hold programs on-campus or involving Rice at off-campus locations. This includes:

  • All adults in direct contact with minors during the program must have completed a background check in the past three years.
  • All adults in direct contact with minors during the program must have completed a Texas approved child protection training in the past three years.
  • A Rice University participation agreement and release of liability must be completed for the minor before participating in the third-party program.
  • If a third-party program hosted on-campus is more than four consecutive days in length with at least 20 minors, the program sponsor is required to provide a list of authorized adults to the Youth Protection Manager by the start date of the program. The template for this report can be found here.

Additional Information

Liability Waivers and Record Retention

A liability waiver must be completed by every minor participating in a Rice-sponsored virtual, on-, or off-campus program as well as third party programs hosted at Rice. The program sponsor or department hosting the program is responsible for maintaining these releases. As instructed by the Office of General Counsel, records must be retained for a period of 12 years after the completion of the program or activity. These records may be retained digitally on a Rice encrypted storage space such as Box or department server.

Ratio of Adults to Minors

Ensure adequate supervision of minors while in University Programs or Activities Involving Minors. Currently the university recommends a minimum of one Authorized Adult for every 15 minors. However, depending on the age of the children and the activities involved, the hosting organization or department may determine higher or lower ratios are appropriate (e.g. participants aged 6-8 may call for 1 Authorized Adult per 5 minors, participants aged 9-13 may call for 1 Authorized Adult per 10 minors, participants aged 14-17 may call for 1 Authorized Adult per 15 minor participants).

Virtual Programs

Virtual programs are required to follow the same process as in-person programs described above.

  • Programs must register at least 30 days in advance.
  • Authorized adults must completed a background check and child protection training before participating in the program.
  • A release of liability waiver must be collected for all participants prior to their participation in the activity or program.
  • For virtual programs, please adhere to the 'Rule of Three' - at least two minors present in a session with one authorized adult. If the program includes an interview with one minor at a time, two authorized adults can be present with one minor during a session.
  • For other questions regarding virtual programs with minors, please contact the Youth Protection Manager at youthprotection@rice.edu.
Emergency Action Plan

Create an emergency action plan that includes establishing a procedure that will be used for emergency notifications to RUPD, a minor's parent or legal guardian, and appropriate university offices (e.g. Risk Management, Dean of Undergraduates, Academic Deans or others) in the event of an emergency involving a minor. This plan must include a completed list of minors participating in the program and their emergency contact information. The department must identify the person responsible for managing this information. Immediately contact RUPD if a minor becomes lost.