Safety of Minors

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What does the SOM program do?

The University of Minnesota intentionally strives to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all minors (under the age of 18) participating in activities offered through the University. 

The Safety of Minors program:

  • supports programs and policies involving youth protection; 
  • coordinates compliance with the University’s policies impacting youth protection;  
  • initiates reviews and leads communication of updated procedures and processes related to minors involved with a sponsored University unit.

Youth program staff and volunteers must be familiar with the steps necessary to remain in compliance with all relevant policies, regulations, and laws.

Which groups are covered by the SOM program?

Covered University sponsored programs that must comply with the Safety of Minors policy include:

  • any planned event or series of events, activities, or educational experiences offered by University faculty or staff, academic or administrative units of the University that is intended for minors (under the age of 18) as the primary participants. This includes but is not limited to academic, sport and recreational camps, 4H, conferences, volunteer experiences in laboratories or offices, internships, employment and/or participating on research teams.
  • activities offered/sponsored by an academic or administrative unit of the University and conducted on grounds or under the authority of the University at a non-grounds location; and
  • activities where staff are responsible for supervisory control of participants during the activity.

Exclusions of the policy

This policy does not apply to:

  • activities designed for matriculated students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate courses (including PSEO students). A matriculated student (for the purposes of this policy), is one who has applied for and been formally admitted to a degree granting program;
  • activities that are part of the enrollment process including Orientation and Welcome Week. This means that faculty and other teaching personnel who only interact with minors who are registered students in credit-bearing courses are not required to get a background check and training, unless a background check is otherwise required under Administrative Policy: Background Checks and Verifications;
  • activities that are open to the general public where minors are only incidentally present, generally with an adult. Typical examples are public lectures, athletic events, museums, arboretum/nature centers, and theaters; and
  • one-time informational interviews or tours with parents/guardians.

What are the requirements for running a program for minors?

  • Program registration has been completed (annually) via the Youth Central website 2 weeks prior to start date. Program registration serves as a verification statement related to compliance and unit approval of the activity/event.
  • Program Staff and Volunteers complete and pass a criminal background check (must be current every 3 years) 
  • Program Staff and Volunteers have completed the Safety of Minors Training accessible through Training Hub
  • Program Leaders must follow the Health and Safety Requirements and Expectations outlined in the SOM Policy topics include: Emergency Preparedness, Safe Movement of Minors, Medication Distribution Procedures, Participant Interactions, Supervision and Ratios
  • Training program staff should include but is not limited to: 
    • Orientation to program 
    • Youth/staff Interaction standards 
    • Supervision responsibilities 
    • Health and safety requirements 
    • Emergency procedures
    • Reporting incidence/procedures
  • Conduct regular observations, provide monitoring and supervision of staff
  • Establish quality, accessible and inclusive physical environments, including drinking water, handwashing, access to first aid, and food service that is attentive to food allergies 
  • Plan for the safe movement of minors (including check in/out) and access to bathrooms
  • Develop a written emergency preparedness plan and train all staff and youth in procedures
  • At least one adult involved in the direct service of minors needs to be CPR/First Aid Certified
  • Collect and keep accessible emergency contact information for minors
  • General Release Waiver OGC 250 is signed by all adult caregivers, add description of activities at the top of the document


Utilize a quality improvement and evaluation tool such as the YPQA (Youth Program Quality Assessment)

Complete Youth Mental Health Certification/Training

College Messaging integrated into programming design

What are the requirements for having minors in laboratories?

In addition to the requirements listed above for programs for minors, groups or individuals inviting minors into their labs must to the following:

  • Signed form/s needed by a guardian/adult-caregiver:
    • Minors in Labs Form (intended for minors receiving compensation for their lab work; or
    • Volunteers/Guest in Labs Form (intended for minors volunteering or completing an unpaid internship in the lab)
  • Written approval from the Unit/Department Head, notifying them that minors will be utilizing the lab at a certain time. Documentation of this communication can be stored internally and does not need to be submitted.
  • Deliver safety instructions (depending on the type of lab and activity) given before any lab activity takes place.
  • Always provide supervision.
  • UMN Training Modules assigned as appropriate (if graduate students are required to take certain lab trainings—assume the training modules would also be necessary for the minors engaging in the lab in the same manner. Contact HSRM for a risk assessment if a minor needs to be present in areas where chemicals, dusts, fumes, vapors, gases, biological materials, radioactive materials, or other substances present a significant hazard. 

Hosting a group in a lab (with the visiting program providing staff) as an exposure activity:

  • Lab Use or Volunteer/Guest Forms: Not applicable
  • UMN Lab Training Modules: Not applicable


Register Your Program

Annual registration is required for covered programs and activities

Training and Professional Development

Find required and recommended training

Report a Concern

Report a concern related to your program or activity

Emergency Preparedness

Develop your emergency preparedness plan

Resource Library

Find resources to support your activity or program

Campus Contacts

Find the contact for your campus who can answer questions about the Safety of Minors Program.