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Protection of Minors Policy

I. Justification and Statement of Policy

Franklin & Marshall College is committed to the safety of all individuals in its community. The College has particular concern for those who are particularly  vulnerable, including minor children, who require special attention and protection. This policy establishes guidelines for those in the College community who may work or interact with individuals under 18 years of age, with the goal of promoting the safety and wellbeing of minors.

II. Scope

All Franklin & Marshall College faculty, staff, students, volunteers, and contractors are responsible for understanding and complying with this policy.  Appendices to this policy set forth specific requirements and procedures and may be updated from time to time.

III. Definitions

Campus, for purposes of this policy, means all buildings, facilities, and properties that are owned, operated, managed, or controlled by the College. 

Child means an individual under 18 years of age.

Child Abuse means intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly doing any of the following:

    1. Causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.

    2. Fabricating, feigning, or intentionally exaggerating or inducing a medical symptom or disease, which results in a potentially harmful medical evaluation or treatment to the child through any recent act.

    3. Causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act.

    4. Causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any act or failure to act.

    5. Creating a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.

    6. Creating a likelihood of sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any recent act or failure to act.

    7. Causing serious physical neglect of a child.

    8. Child abuse also includes certain acts in which the act itself constitutes abuse without any resulting injury or condition. These recent acts include any of the following:

      • Kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing, or cutting a child in a manner that endangers the child.

      • Unreasonably restraining or confining a child, based on consideration of the method, the location, or the duration of the restraint or confinement.

      • Forcefully shaking a child under one year of age.

      • Forcefully slapping or otherwise striking a child under one year of age.

      • Interfering with the breathing of a child.

      • Causing a child to be present at a location while a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 7508.2 (relating to operation of methamphetamine laboratory) is occurring, provided that the violation is being investigated by law enforcement.

      • Leaving a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child's parent, who the actor knows or reasonably should have known

        1. Is required to register as a Tier II or Tier III sexual offender under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. H (relating to registration of sexual offenders), where the victim of the sexual offense was under 18 years of age when the crime was committed.

        2. Has been determined to be a sexually violent predator under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.24 (relating to assessments) or any of its predecessors.

        3. Has been determined to be a sexually violent delinquent child as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.12 (relating to definitions).

    9. Causing the death of the child through any act or failure to act.

    10. Engaging a child in a severe form of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking, as those terms are defined under section 103 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (114 Stat. 1466, 22 U.S.C. § 7102).

ChildLine is an organizational unit of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s  Department of Public Welfare that operates a statewide 24-hour toll-free system for receiving reports of suspected child abuse, refers such reports for investigation, and maintains the reports in the appropriate file.

Contractors are employed by, or affiliated with, an external organization the College has hired to complete a task or provide services for the College. This includes, but is not limited to, staff in Dining Services, Bookstore operations, construction, etc.

Covered programs are: 

    1. College-run or affiliated programs, events or activities that Franklin & Marshall College operates or sponsors or in which College employees (including student employees) engage with minors through their College roles. Affiliated programs include those conducted or provided on behalf of or for the College. This term does not include programs or activities in which one’s participation is unrelated to one’s status as a member of the College’s faculty, staff, or student body.

    2. Programs or services serving minors that are administered by an outside entity or contractor on College premises. Such entities must be contracted with the College through the Office of Conference & Event Services.

NOTE: This policy does not apply to general public events in College facilities where parents or guardians are required to attend and appropriately supervise their child.

Mandated Reporter means any employee (including student employees), independent contractor, or volunteer of Franklin & Marshall College, regardless of their status as a mandated reporter as defined by Pennsylvania law.

Minor, for the purposes of this policy, means any person under the age of 18.

Recent Act means any act occurring within two years prior to a mandated reporter receiving information that triggers their mandated reporting responsibilities as outlined in Section IV.D. 

Employees, for the purposes of this policy, means all staff, faculty, and student employees of the College.

Volunteers, for the purposes of this policy, are individuals who provide uncompensated assistance with covered programs. Those engaging volunteers should contact the Office of the General Counsel to discuss their situation and how the policy requirements apply.

IV. Policy

A.  General Responsibilities

When participating in covered programs, employees and volunteers must:


  • Always be vigilant in protecting the well-being and safety of minors with whom they interact on campus and elsewhere.

  • Review the informational material about the signs of abuse and neglect of minors provided in Appendix A.

  • Watch for signs of child abuse and promptly report whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect abuse, as outlined in Section D below.

  • Meet the requirements of this policy relating to training and criminal background checks, as well as any additional requirements that relate to the specific program or activity.

College faculty and others on campus who only interact with matriculated Franklin & Marshall College students under the age of 18 in classes or other normal academic settings are not obligated to undergo the training or background checks required by this policy.  However, mandated reporters who have reasonable cause to suspect that a student under the age of 18 is a victim of child abuse must, however, make reports as required by Section D.

College employees and volunteers participating in programs or activities run by a non-College organization or entity off campus should familiarize themselves with, and follow, the policies of the sponsoring organization relating to interactions with minors.

B. Training for Those Participating in Covered Programs

Employees and volunteers who participate in covered programs must complete appropriate training through Vector Solutions SafeColleges.

Training may be expanded depending upon the program or activity and the person’s role in the program or activity.

Non-College organizations and entities that wish to operate programs or activities involving minors on campus must provide documentation upon request to the College that all individuals who will be interacting with minors (and anyone who supervises such individuals) have received appropriate training.

In addition, certain individuals may be required to complete additional child abuse identification, prevention, and reporting training in connection with any state or federal license and/or nationally recognized certification. The College is not responsible for providing additional training in connection with these licenses or certifications. 

C. Criminal Background Checks

Certain categories of individuals will be required to clear a criminal background check prior to participation in covered programs. The categories of individuals who must undergo background checks, as well as specific requirements and procedures for these checks, are listed in the College’s Background Check Policy

If the criminal background check reveals adverse information or unfavorable results the College will conduct an individualized assessment using criteria designed to identify potential risk to minors. Except when required by law, a prior conviction shall not automatically disqualify a person from participating in a covered program. Except when required by law, criminal background checks of College employees and volunteers that are conducted pursuant to this policy will be used only for purposes consistent with this policy and will otherwise be kept confidential and maintained as required by applicable law. 

Non-College organizations and entities that operate programs or activities on campus involving minors must conduct criminal background checks of their employees, volunteers, and representatives that meet College standards and the requirements of Pennsylvania law. The College may request any additional information it deems necessary to meet the requirements of this policy.

Programs that are discrete, occasional events, for which a large number of volunteers are essential (for example, large athletic tournaments or clinics, community fairs, etc.), may elect to adopt measures and safeguards instead of background checks for one-time volunteers. The measures adopted must include requirements that the volunteers be working in public places, not be alone with minors, and be supervised by a background-checked person. Programs adopting this method must have the approval of the Director of Compliance & Risk Management.

D. Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse

This policy governs mandatory child abuse reporting requirements in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), 23 Pa.C.S. §6301 et seq., and College policy, which, in some instances, requires broader protections than the CPSL. Any questions relating to this policy should be directed to the College’s General Counsel. 

    1. Information Triggering Mandatory Reporting Obligations

It is the policy of Franklin & Marshall College that all employees (including student employees), contractors, and volunteers are mandated reporters and must make a report as set forth in this policy when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse under any of the following circumstances:

      • The mandated reporter comes into contact with the child in the course of employment, occupation or practice of a profession, or through a regularly scheduled program, activity, or service.

      • 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, church or religious organization, or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or training of the child.

      • A person (including the child in question) makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the victim of child abuse.

      • An individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the individual has committed child abuse.

Confidential communications made to an attorney that are subject to the attorney-client privilege, or communications made to a member of the clergy that are subject to the clergy-penitent privilege, are an exception to this reporting requirement.

The following additional points relate to the reporting requirement:

      • The obligation to report is triggered even when the mandated reporter has not come into direct contact with the child in question but learns information about the suspected abuse from a source other than the child.

      • The obligation to report is triggered even when the mandated reporter is not able to identify the individual allegedly responsible for the suspected abuse.

      • The obligation to report is triggered regardless of where the alleged abuse occurred; it is not limited to abuse that occurred in Pennsylvania. Likewise, mandated reporters do not need to be physically present in Pennsylvania to make a report. 

      • Mandated reporters must report the information made known to them, but they should not conduct their own independent investigation.

    1. Reporting Procedures

      If a child is in imminent danger or a crime against a child is in progress call 911 immediately and then complete the below steps.

      In all other cases call Franklin & Marshall College’s Department of Public Safety at 717-358-3939, and then complete the following steps.

      1) Report suspected child abuse to ChildLine:

      Immediately submit a report to ChildLine by filing an electronic report at or by calling ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. 

      If the report is made by telephone, the mandated reporter must, within 48 hours of making the oral report, file an electronic report at or file a written report on form CY-47, with the Children and Youth Services (CYS) agency in the county in which the alleged abuse occurred.  

      If a mandated reporter encounters problems while attempting to file a report, they should contact the Office of the General Counsel at (717) 358-5963 or for assistance.

      Please note:

      In order to avoid the need for both a telephonic and electronic or written report, mandated reporters are encouraged (but not required) to submit the electronic report under (1) above in the first instance, rather than placing a telephone call.

      2) Offices from which reports originate must  provide an electronic copy of all written and/or electronic reports, including confirmation receipts of these reports, to the Office of the College’s General Counsel at

      All College employees, volunteers, and contractors are required to assist the College, to the extent deemed necessary by the College, in gathering factual information related to the report.

    2. Failure to Report

      Depending on the circumstances, a mandated reporter’s willful failure to report suspected child abuse may be subject to criminal prosecution as a felony or misdemeanor offense. Additionally, failure to report may result in disciplinary action taken by the College, including possible termination of employment.

    3. Immunity for Good Faith Reports

      Pennsylvania law provides immunity from civil and criminal liability, and protection from employment discrimination, for individuals who have acted in good faith in reporting suspected child abuse, cooperating with an investigation, and/or testifying in a related proceeding.

    4. Questions

      Questions regarding this policy or the reporting of suspected child abuse should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel at

E. Enforcement
Sanctions for violations of this policy will depend on the circumstances and the nature of the violation but may include the full range of available College sanctions, including suspension, dismissal, termination, and/or exclusion from campus. The College may also take any necessary interim actions before determining whether a violation has occurred. 

The College may terminate relationships with, or take other appropriate actions against, non-College entities that violate this policy. All contracts with external contractors will include a requirement to abide by this policy.

F. Policy Implementation and Modification

Questions about the interpretation or application of this policy should be raised with the College's General Counsel, which shall update or modify any Appendices to the policy as necessary and administer and oversee the implementation of the policy in a manner that best achieves its goals.  

V. Related Documents and Forms

Appendix A: Signs of Childhood Abuse and Neglect

Policy Maintained by: Office of the General Counsel, Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel
Last Reviewed: June 2023