Office of Audit, Compliance & Ethics

Protection of Minors and Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect Policy

Title: Protection of Minors and Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
Policy Owner: Office of University Compliance
Applies to: All personnel associated with the University including faculty, staff, volunteers, graduate and undergraduate students, interns, residents and fellows.
Campus Applicability: All University campuses including Storrs, regional campuses, the Law School and UConn Health (University)
Effective Date: April 1, 2016
For More Information, Contact Minor Protection Coordinator/Office of University Compliance
Contact Information: (860) 486-5682
Official Website: http://minorprotection.uconn.edu

1.  Reason for Policy

The University of Connecticut is committed to promoting a high quality, secure and safe environment for minors who are active in the University community. This policy and the accompanying procedures establish consistent standards intended to support the University in meeting its commitments to promote the protection of minors who participate in activities sponsored by the University and to inform all members of the University community of their obligation to report any instances of known or suspected child abuse or neglect.

2.  Applies to

This policy applies to all University employees, including faculty, staff, volunteers, graduate and undergraduate students, interns, residents and fellows. Except as provided below, it also applies to any activity that takes place on University property or is sponsored by the University and is open to the participation of minors.

This policy does not apply to: (1) events open to the public where parents/guardians or adult chaperones are invited / expected to accompany and supervise their children; (2) undergraduate and graduate programs in which minors are enrolled for academic credit or have been accepted for enrollment; (3) students who are dually enrolled in University credit-bearing courses while also enrolled in elementary, middle, and/or high school, UNLESS such enrollment includes overnight housing in University facilities; (4) minors employed by the University; (5) field trips or visits solely supervised by a minor’s school or organization; (6) patient-care related activities relating to minors; (7) non-university programs undertaking activities in or on University land or facilities under the sole supervision of said program; (8) university programs which take place outside of the University under the supervision of a separate organization; (9) licensed child care facilities; and (10) other activities granted advance and written exemption from part or all of the policy.

3.  Definitions

A. Authorized Adult: A University employee, student, or volunteer (paid or unpaid) who has (1) successfully passed a Background Screening within the last four years, (2) completed the University minor’s protection training within the last year, and (3) has been registered with the University’s Minor Protection Coordinator.

B. University Sponsored Activities Involving Minors: A program or activity open to the participation of minors that is sponsored, operated, or supported by the University and where minors, who are not enrolled or accepted for enrollment in credit-granting courses at the University or who are not an employee of the University, are under the supervision of the University or its representatives.

C. Background Screening: A criminal history search that is consistent with University Criminal Background Check Policies, which has been successfully completed within the past four years. Such investigation may include the following searches by a nationally recognized background check vendor:

i.    Social Security Number verification/past address trace;

ii.   federal criminal history record search for felony and misdemeanor convictions covering, at minimum, the last seven years in all states lived in;

iii.   a statewide or county level criminal history record search for felony and misdemeanor convictions covering, at minimum, the last seven years in all states lived in; an;

iv.   sex offender registry searches at the county level in every jurisdiction where the candidate currently resides or has resided.

D. Child Abuse: A non-accidental physical injury to a minor, or an injury that is inconsistent with the history given of it, or a condition resulting in maltreatment, such as, but not limited to, malnutrition, sexual molestation or exploitation, deprivation of necessities, emotional maltreatment, or cruel punishment.

E. Child Neglect: The abandonment or denial of proper care and attention (physically, emotionally, or morally) of a minor, or the permitting of a minor to live under conditions, circumstances, or associations injurious to the minor’s well-being. (Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-120(6))

F. Minor: Any individual under the age of 18, who has not been legally emancipated.

G. Mandated Reporter: An individual designated under Section 17a-101(b) of the Connecticut General Statutes as someone who is required to report or cause a report to be made of Child Abuse or Child Neglect. All employees of the University, except student employees, are Mandated Reporters under state law.

H. Minor Protection Coordinator: An individual designated by the University to develop procedures to implement this policy and best practices for the protection of minors involved in University Sponsored activities involving minors , and to provide coordination, training, and monitoring in order to promote the effective implementation of this policy.

4.  Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect

Pursuant to state law, all University employees (except student employees) are Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse and/or Child Neglect and must comply with the reporting requirements in Connecticut’s mandated reporting laws. (Connecticut General Statutes Sections 17a-101a to 17a-101d)

Connecticut state law, requires that reports of known or suspected child abuse or neglect be made orally, as soon as possible, but no later than 12 hours to law enforcement or the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and followed up in writing within 48 hours.

DCF’s 24-hour hotline for reporting suspected Child Abuse or Child Neglect is (800) 842-2288, and additional guidance on these reporting requirements may be found here: http://www.ct.gov/dcf/cwp/view.asp?a=2556&Q=314384. (Last accessed 2/11/2016.)

University employees are protected under state law for the good faith reporting of suspected Child Abuse or Child Neglect, even if a later investigation fails to substantiate the allegations.

In addition to this statutory reporting requirement, University employees must also comply with any other University policies that impose additional reporting obligations, such as the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Interpersonal Violence.

5.  Requirements for University Sponsored Activities Involving Minors

To better protect minors participating in activities sponsored by the University, all Programs must meet the following requirements, in addition to any applicable federal, state, or local law, and University policies. Please Note: A more comprehensive description of the following requirements are detailed in the accompanying procedures.

A.   University Sponsored activities involving minors must register with the University’s Minor Protection Coordinator with sufficient advance notice to confirm the requirements of this policy have been met.

B.   No individual, paid or unpaid, shall be allowed to supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee any Minor who participates in University Sponsored activities involving minors unless he or she is an Authorized Adult.

C. All University Sponsored activities involving minors must implement standards to safeguard the welfare of participating minors, and must also comply with University standards included in the accompanying procedures.

D. All University Sponsored activities involving minors are subject to periodic audits to verify compliance with this policy and the accompanying procedures.

E. Any exceptions must be requested with sufficient notice and approved in writing by the Minor Protection Coordinator in consultation with Minor Protection Oversight Committee prior to the start of program operations.

6.  Enforcement

Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and applicable Student Code.

Policy History

Policy Created: April 1, 2016 [Approved by the President’s Cabinet]

Procedures

Procedures for the Protection of Minors and Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect can be found at: http://minorprotection.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1652/2016/03/Procedures-for-the-Protection-of-Minors-and-Reporting-of-Child-Abuse-and-Neglect.pdf. 

HIPAA- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

The University’s Privacy Officer maintains a separate website providing access to HIPAA related resources, including policies, procedures, and forms.

Please note that the resources at hipaa.uconn.edu apply to HIPAA practices on the Storrs and Regional Campuses.  If you are interested in learning more about HIPAA practices at the University of Connecticut Health Center and its affiliates, please visit UConn Health.

External Investigations, Audits and Requests for Information Protocol

Title: External Investigations, Audits and Requests for Information Protocol
Policy Owner: The Office of Audit, Compliance & Ethics
Applies to: All University Faculty, Staff, and Administrators
Campus Applicability:  All Campuses, except UConn Health
Effective Date: August 15, 2014
For More Information, Contact Office of Audit, Compliance & Ethics
Contact Information: (860) 486-6195
Official Website:  http://audit.uconn.edu/

 

Background and Reasons for the Protocol: Under certain circumstances, representatives of the Federal or State government or other external auditors or inspectors, including accrediting organizations, may arrive without advanced notice at the University to perform investigations into possible violations of laws and regulations or to conduct certain audits. It is the University’s policy that employees fully comply with all such audit and inspection rights.

The entire protocol is available here.

Use of Students in Outside Employment

Title: Use of Students in Outside Employment
Policy Owner: Office of University Compliance
Applies to: Faculty, Staff
Campus Applicability:
Effective Date: July 14, 2015
For More Information, Contact Office of University Compliance
Contact Information: (860) 486-2530
Official Website: https://compliance.uconn.edu/

 

Background and Reasons for the Policy: The Code of Ethics for Public Officials preclude public employees from accepting other employment which will impair the employee’s independence of judgment or otherwise create a conflict of interest.

Purpose of Policy: To provide guidance on the employment of students by faculty and staff for work external to the University.

Expected Institutional Outcome: Compliance with the Code of Ethics.

Applicability of Policy: All employees.

Policy Statement: Pursuant to Connecticut General Statute Section 1-84(b) of the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, a state employee may not accept other employment which will impair his/her independence of judgment as to his/her official duties or employment.  Furthermore, in accordance with Connecticut General Statute Section 1-86 and the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies Section 1-81-29, a state employee with a potential conflict of interest must inform his/her supervisor who shall assign the matter to another who is not subordinate to the individual with the conflict.

Potential conflicts may occur when a University employee hires a student in any non-University supported activity. Therefore, employees who choose to employ students in any non-University activity must obtain written approval from their Department Head/Dean/Director prior to employing the student. Faculty members who wish to hire a graduate student and who teach a course in which the student is enrolled, serve as a member of the student’s thesis or dissertation committee, or serve as the student’s advisor or the director of his or her thesis or dissertation research must also receive written approval from the Dean of the Graduate School.  The University requires that each student receive a written offer of employment with a specific scope of work or job description, the rate of compensation and the expected hours of work.  In addition, the student should receive a fair market value rate of pay.

Students have on-going recourse to the Provost who will consult with the Dean of the Graduate School (for graduate students) or the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (for undergraduate students) in order to address any grievances that may arise during the term of the employment.

Failure to comply constitutes a violation of the State ethics code and University policy and is subject to disciplinary procedures of both.

Responsibilities: All employees.

Use of Students in Outside Employment Letter Template

History

Revised: 07/13/2015; 12/16/2014; 06/23/2008

New Policy: 03/01/2004

Guide to the State Code of Ethics

 

Title: Guide to the State Code of Ethics
Policy Owner: Office of University Compliance
Applies to: Faculty, Staff
Campus Applicability: All Campuses
Effective Date: February 26, 2014
For More Information, Contact Office of University Compliance
Contact Information: (860) 486-2530
Official Website:  https://compliance.uconn.edu

 

Purpose

Pursuant to state law, the University is required to adopt in cooperation with the Office of State Ethics, an ethics statement as it relates to the mission of the University. The Code of Ethics for Public Officials (Connecticut General Statutes Section 1-79 et seq.) sets forth principles of ethical conduct that all state employees, including employees of the University, must observe. All employees of the University are expected to become familiar with the Code and are expected to comply with all of its provisions. This statement is intended to be a general guide to assist you in determining what conduct is prohibited so that it may be avoided. It is not intended to supersede the Code of Ethics for Public Officials. Please note that under state statute, compliance with the Code is the responsibility of the employee, not the University.

The Office of State Ethics has jurisdiction to interpret and enforce the Code. Violations may result in a formal complaint proceeding filed against the employee and sanctions of up to $10,000 per violation. The entire Code and regulations, as well as a summary of these rules, may be found at the web site for the Office of State Ethics, www.ethics.state.ct.us.    For formal and informal interpretations of the Code of Ethics, employees should contact the Office of State Ethics.   In addition, the University must designate an Ethics Liaison Officer as an information resource regarding compliance. An employee who has a question or is unsure about the provisions of this policy, or who would like assistance in contacting the Office of State Ethics, should contact the University’s Ethics Liaison Officer.

Please note: Violations of the Code of Ethics may subject an employee to sanctions from agencies or systems external to the University. Whether this occurs or not, the University retains the right to independently review and respond administratively to violations. The conduct of the review and response will be in accordance with contractual and regulatory guidelines.

The following general provisions of the Code of Ethics are applicable to all employees of the University of Connecticut:

Conflict of Interest

  • GIFTS: In general, employees are prohibited from accepting gifts, discounts or gratuities of any kind from donors: (1) doing business with or seeking to do business with the University;  (2) directly regulated by the University; (3)  known to be a registered lobbyist or a lobbyist’s representative, or; (4) pre-qualified under Conn. Gen. Stat. §4a-100.  A list of registered lobbyists can be found on the web site of the Office of State Ethics.  Certain items are excluded from the definition of “gift,” including: items offered to the public at large (for example, trinkets provided at an open house), items valued at under $10, food and beverage up to $50 in a calendar year from each donor and training for a product purchased by the University provided such training is offered to all customers of that vendor.  “Gifts to the state” are also permitted long as the gifts facilitate University actions of functions.  If an employee is offered a benefit from someone other than the prohibited donors listed above, and the benefit is offered because of the employee’s position at the University, the total value of benefits received from one source in a year must not exceed $100.  Additionally, supervisors may only accept gifts valued at no more than $100 from a subordinate; a subordinate may only accept gifts valued at no more than $100 from his/her supervisor.  Questions regarding specific facts and circumstances surrounding various gift-giving scenarios should be directed to the University’s Ethics Liaison or the Office of State Ethics.
  • OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT: No employee may accept outside employment that will impair his or her independence of judgment with regard to his/her state duties or would encourage the disclosure of confidential information gained in state service. Additionally, although an employee may use his/her expertise, he/she may not use his/her state position to obtain outside employment. An employee is not allowed to use his/her business address, telephone number, title or status in any way to promote, advertise or solicit personal business.  Employees interested in pursuing outside employment may seek and receive written approval from their Department Head and, if uncertain about the application of the Code, the Office of State Ethics. For faculty and professional staff, the University of Connecticut Laws and By-Laws specifically address consulting, private professional practice, teaching, and other outside employment situations. Members of the AAUP bargaining unit must adhere to the University’s Faculty Consulting Policy as well as the  policy on assigning textbooks which they have authored. Union members are referred to contract articles, if such exist, relating to outside employment in their respective collective bargaining agreements. If you are thinking about an opportunity for outside employment, you may also consult with the University’s ethics liaison for guidance.
  • FINANCIAL BENEFIT: Employees may not use their official position or confidential information gained in their service for personal financial benefit, or the financial benefit of a family member or a business with which they, or a family member, are associated.  Employees are prohibited from using state time, personnel or materials, including telephones, computers, e-mail systems, fax machines, copy machines, state vehicles and any other supplies, for personal, non-state related purposes.  It is understood, however, that incidental use of state property for personal use is permissible so long as you reimburse the state for any identifiable charges.
  • CONTRACTS WITH THE STATE: Employees, their immediate family members, and/or a business with which an employee or his/her family member is associated may not enter into a contract with the state valued at $100 or more, unless the contract has been awarded through an open and public process. The Office of State Ethics has ruled that immediate family members may not be hired as an independent contractor unless there has been an open and public process.
  • APPEARANCE FEES: No employee may personally accept any fee or honorarium given in return for a speech or appearance made or article written in the employee’s official capacity.  You may, however, direct that the fee or honorarium be deposited in a University account to be used for future University-related business activities. Necessary expenses to participate in a particular event may be acceptable under certain circumstances and, if received from a non-governmental entity, may also require the filing of a disclosure form with the Office of State Ethics. “Necessary expenses” are limited to: necessary travel expenses, lodging for the nights before, of and after the appearance, speech, or event; meals and any related conference or seminar registration fees.

The paramount issue to be considered is whether the activity in question is performed in an employee’s “official capacity.” As a general rule, if a university employee is asked to participate in an event, speak, appear, or write an article and the employee’s official position or authority was a significant factor in the decision to extend the invitation, then it will be deemed to be in his/her official capacity. If, however, a state employee has developed an expertise in a particular field and he/she is asked to participate in an event, speak, appear, or write an article as a result of his/her knowledge and expertise, then the employee is not prohibited from accepting a fee or honorarium. Note that these situations are very fact specific and employees are encouraged to contact the University’s Ethics Liaison for guidance.

Political Activity

  1. Employees are not prohibited from seeking political office as long as it is not done on State time or with State equipment. However, any State employee who is elected to state political office may not be employed by two branches of state government simultaneously. Therefore, any employee who accepts an elective state office must resign or take a leave of absence from his/her position with the University. Consult the University Laws and By-Laws and inform your supervisor prior to participating in a political campaign.
  2. No employee of the University will engage in partisan political activities while on state time. Additionally, no employee will use state materials or equipment for the purpose of influencing a political election of any sort.

Miscellaneous: Confidential Information, Post-Employment, Vendor Notification

Many employees of the University have access to confidential information. Information may be deemed confidential pursuant to various state and federal statutes and/or University policy. Unauthorized release of confidential information is prohibited. If an employee is unsure whether certain information is deemed confidential, he/she should seek advice from his/her supervisor, prior to releasing such information.

The State Code of Ethics contains several provisions regarding post-state employment. Prior to leaving employment with the University, all employees should review the applicable rules and, if necessary, seek guidance from The Office of State Ethics.

  • Section 1-84a: You may never use confidential information for financial gain for yourself or any other person. This is a lifetime prohibition. “Confidential Information” is any information not generally available to the public.  The information may be in any form (written, photographic, recorded, computerized, etc.) including orally transmitted information, e.g., conversations, negotiations, etc.
  • Section 1-84b(a): You may not represent anyone concerning any particular matter in which you personally and substantially participated while in state service in which the state has a substantial interest.
  • Section 1-84b(b): You may not, for one year, represent anyone before your former agency for compensation
  • Section 1-84b(f): If you participated substantially in the negotiation or award of a state contract valued at $50,000 or more, you may not accept employment with a party to the contract for one year after leaving state service, if you resign within one year after the contract was signed.

No official or employee shall counsel, authorize or otherwise sanction action that violates any provision of the Code of Ethics.

The provisions of this document shall apply to all employees of the University of Connecticut. All current and future employees of the University shall be supplied with a copy of this document, and it shall be the responsibility of each employee to be familiar with these provisions and to comply with them. It is strongly suggested that employees avoid those situations which may give the appearance of being a conflict of interest. When in doubt or unsure about these provisions, an employee should contact either his or her supervisor, department head, or the University’s Ethics Liaison. Ultimately, The Office of State Ethics is the authority that determines what conduct constitutes an ethics violation under the law. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to discuss any situation which may pose a conflict of interest or other ethics problem with the Office’s staff attorneys.

The University will notify vendors/contractors doing business with it of these provisions through its procurement officers. A summary of the State Code of Ethics as it applies to vendors will also be provided. Copies of this policy will be provided upon request.

Important Ethics Reference Materials

It is strongly recommended that every employee read and review the following ethics materials:

 

The University’s Ethics Liaison is:

 

Storrs, Regional Campuses and Health Center

Kimberly Fearney, Interim Associate Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer
Office of University Compliance
28 Professional Park Road (Unit 5084)
Storrs, CT 06268

Telephone Number: (860) 486-2530
Fax Number: (860) 486-4527

Email: Kim.Fearney@uconn.edu

 

The contact information for the Office of State Ethics:

20 Trinity Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Office of State Ethics
Tel: (860) 263-2400
Fax: (860) 263-2402

Revisions: 2/26/2014; 07/2009

Original: 07/2006

Employment and Contracting for Service of Relatives, Policy on

Title: Employment and Contracting for Service of Relatives, Policy on
Policy Owner: Office of Audit, Compliance and Ethics and the Office of Faculty & Staff Labor Relations/Human Resources
Applies to: Faculty, Staff, Others
Campus Applicability: All Campuses
Effective Date: February 7, 2011
For More Information, Contact Office of Audit, Compliance & Ethics and the Office of Faculty and Staff Labor Relations (Storrs) or Human Resources (UConn Health)
Contact Information: UConn Health: (860) 679-4180 or (860) 679-2426
Storrs/Storrs Based Campuses: (860) 486-4526 or (860) 486-5684
Official Website:  http://audit.uconn.edu/storrs-compliance/ or http://lr.uconn.edu

 

Purpose:
The employment or contracting for service of relatives in the same department or area of an organization may cause conflicts and serve as the basis for complaints concerning disparate treatment and favoritism as well as violations of the state’s Ethics statute.

This policy is established to protect against such conflicts and complaints, and to provide for the ethical and legally consistent treatment of individuals with relatives seeking employment or who are employed by the University.

Policy:
No employee of the University of Connecticut may be the direct supervisor of or take any action which would affect the financial interests of one’s relative. This may include decisions regarding appointment, award of a contract, promotion, demotion, disciplinary action, discharge, assignment, transfer, approval of time-off, and approval of training or development opportunities, as well as conducting performance evaluations or participating in any other employment action, including serving on a search committee acting on a relative’s application, or otherwise acting on behalf of a relative except as noted under “Procedure” below. Further, no employee may use his/her position to influence an employment action of a non-relative if such action would benefit one’s relative.

For purposes of this policy, relative is defined as: spouse, child, step-child, child’s spouse, parent, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, dependent relative or a relative domiciled in the employee’s household.

Procedure:
The University recognizes the potential for conflict of interest, claims of disparate treatment and/ or discrimination in the employment of relatives in the same department, work unit or in a direct or indirect supervisory relationship. The University further recognizes that there are infrequent but compelling circumstances under which such employment relationships may be in the best interests of the institution. Thus, to protect both the involved employee and the institution in those situations, the following procedure must be followed.

  1. No employee may sign any document that would affect an employment action on behalf of a relative.
  2. An employee who is confronted with an employment decision or action involving a relative must inform the immediate supervisor in advance, in writing, of the situation. The employee will describe the relationship and the proposed action requiring a decision by using Section 1 of the Conflict of Interest (COI) Disclosure form available here.
  3. The COI is submitted through the supervisory chain to the dean/director and then to the appropriate senior manager.  Using Section 2 of the COI Disclosure form, the dean/director shall propose to the senior manager an appropriate conflict resolution plan (CRP) to resolve the conflict.  In general the CRP  should address how the required decisions will be made to avoid any conflicts.
  4. The senior manager shall determine if the proposed plan for the resolution of the conflict is within the best interest of the institution, and approve or modify the plan using Section 3 of the COI Disclosure form. The written resolution and implementation of the plan shall be communicated to the dean/director and through the supervisory chain to the employee(s) involved in the conflict of interest.
  5. The supervisor, dean/director, or provost/vice president (the first level outside of the reporting process of each person in the conflict) shall oversee the implementation of CRP.
  6. Should the conflict involve the provost or a vice president, then the actions/decision shall be directed to the president or designee.

Note:  Under no circumstances will the University approve the employment of dependent children or step-children as student employees under direct or indirect supervisory relationships.

* Senior Manager is defined as the Provost or Vice President level.

This policy was approved by the Board of Trustees on 11-09-2010.