Third-Party Sponsored CPM Compliance Guidelines
Revised: January 7, 2013
Stephen F. Austin State University is committed to providing a safe environment for its students, employees and guests. The university may grant use of its facilities to third-parties for programs that involve minors. University policy 13.5 (Campus Program for Minors) provides for regulation of these activities.
The following information is provided to assist third-parties comply with the requirements imposed by SFA Policy 13.5 and Section 51.976 of the Texas Education Code, which requires certain employees of campus programs for minors to receive sexual abuse and child molestation awareness training.
There is a separate site for information for camps/programs operated by the university here.
What is a "Campus Program for Minors?"
Any program that:
1) includes participants who are minors;
2) is operated on the campus of the university, and
3) offers recreational, athletic, religious, or educational activities to participants for all or part of at least two (2) days.
Who is considered a minor?
A minor is anyone under the age of 18.
The statute only includes programs that last "at least four (4) days." Why is the SFA criteria different?
As the purpose of this law and policy are to protect minors, the university opted to include a more rigorous definition of which programs will be included under these requirements.
If a program meets the criteria to be defined as a "campus program for minors" a program operator must be identified. Who is the "program operator"?
The "program operator" is defined as the "person who owns, operates or supervises a campus program for minors, regardless of profit."
Third-parties who contract with the university for use of university facilities and whose programs meet the definition of a "campus program for minors" must designate a person with the authority to ensure compliance with these requirements as the program operator.
What are Program Operators required to do?
The program operator is responsible for:
- Certifying that all of the employees/volunteers who may have contact with minors during the program have successfully completed a sexual abuse/child molestation awareness training and examination program that has been approved by the Department of State Health Services pursuant to Section 51.976 of the Texas Education Code within the last two (2) years, (note: all training must be completed prior to the commencement of the program on campus)
- Timely submission of verification forms (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/cpm/forms.shtm) to the Texas Department of State Health Services indicating that each campus program employee received the required training under the statute, and
- Maintaining documentation of each employee's successful completion of the training and examination program for two (2) years from the date of their examination
When a third-party rents facilities on campus, who is responsible for compliance with the law?
Third-parties that own, operate and supervise CPMs on campus are considered to be the program operator under the statute. As such, these persons have sole responsibility for complying with the law.
Although the statute does not impose an obligation on the university to ensure third-party camp operators fulfill their obligations under the statute, given the sensitivity of the issue of sexual abuse and child molestation the university will require a copy of the verification form the third-party program operator submitted to the Department of State Health Services required under the statute.
Do volunteers also have to be trained?
Yes. Since the purpose of the statute is to provide child abuse/ molestation awareness to those who will be in contact with minors, SFA requires that camp volunteers be successfully trained as well.
Where can third-party program operators seek training for their employees/volunteers?
The Texas Department of State Health Services maintains a list of approved training programs on their website at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/cpm/training.shtm.
SFA provides a training program for its own staff. While the priority of the university is to ensure that its own employees/volunteers are appropriately trained, a third-party may apply for training of their program's employees and volunteers. There will be a fee associated with this service and the availability of the training will be subject to scheduling restrictions. Click here for more information.
Regardless of the training program utilized, the program operator remains fully responsible for complying with the statute.
Since the training and examination applies to persons who are "in a position involving contact with campers at a campus program for minors," how much contact must there be with campers for the position to be subject to the statute?
The statute does not provide any guidance or descriptors as to what constitutes "contact with campers." Therefore, "contact" must be read as that word is commonly understood and the definition applied broadly.
What about guest speakers, entertainers, etc.? Must they be trained?
Employees/volunteers acting as a guest speaker, an entertainer, or fulfilling any other role who visits for a limited purpose or a limited time and has no direct and unsupervised interaction with campers are not subject to the training and examination requirements.
Are SFA employees who assist with camp check-in or other administrative duties required to complete the training since they could potentially have unsupervised contact with the minor campers?
Has the Department of State Health Services issued the form needed by program operators to verify to the department that employees have completed the required training?
Yes. The form is available at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/cpm/forms.shtm.
What happens if an employee of a campus program for minors fails to obtain the proper training and examination under the statute?
The program operator or employee that fails to comply with the training and examination requirements of the statute is subject to investigation by the Department of State Health Services and an assessment of civil penalties of not less than $50 or more than $1,000 for each act of violation. Violations may also limit the ability of the third-party from renting university facilities in the future.
What if I become aware of, or suspect, sexual abuse or molestation of a minor camper?
State laws impose a duty to report abuse or molestation of a minor when a person has cause to believe it is occurring. Under section 261.101 of the Texas Family Code, a person having cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person must immediately make a report to a local or state law enforcement agency, or the Department of Family and Protective Services, among other agencies. The identity of the person making the report is confidential. Also, a person acting in good faith who reports or assists in the investigation of a report of alleged child abuse or neglect, or who participates in a judicial proceeding arising from a report is immune from civil or criminal liability that might otherwise exist.