Frequently Asked Questions

The Division of Community Engagement (DCE) officially interprets the Safety and Protection of Minors Policy and administers it through the Mary and Frances Youth Center (MFYC). If you have any further questions, e-mail the MFYC at

I am considering mentoring/I am mentoring a minor in my lab – does this policy apply to me?

Yes, this policy applies to you. Whether you are acting as a solo mentor with a minor or as part of a group providing mentorships to minors, this policy applies to you. If you are providing mentorships to minors notify your supervisor, Chair or Dean and e-mail the MFYC at

I have a minor shadowing me on a one time basis; do I have to obtain all minimum requirements for Tier II individuals?

If you do not have minors shadowing you regularly and are always within sight and sound of other adults, you are not required to satisfy Tier II minimum requirements.

My program with minors is only for a once a year, one day program – does this policy apply to me?

Yes. Your program involves minors, and does not fit into one of the exceptions noted in the policy’s exceptions section.

What does it mean if I “sponsor” a program?

Sponsoring a program is when the university administers or conducts a program. This differs from “hosting a program” which is when an organization separate from VCU holds their program on university property.

What if I am unsure whether my program involves minors?

If the program may involve minors, then you must prepare for the presence of minors in compliance with this policy. Please e-mail the MFYC at for further information regarding how to best proceed.

Minors will be visiting my classroom or lab, do I need to be screened and trained?  

If you will be interacting with minors outside of the presence of their parents or guardians, then you must either be under the Direct Supervision of a Tier I or Tier II Individual or be appropriately screened and trained as a Tier I or Tier II Individual.  If this is part of a structured program for classroom or lab visitation, the individual responsible for the program must register with the MFYC.

Who do I contact if I have questions about registering my program or logistics?
E-mail the MFYC at
What if a non-VCU entity wants to use VCU space but does not have a sponsoring unit on campus – who do they contact?

Contact VCU Conference Services via e-mail at or call (804) 828-4228.

Where can I get information about background checks and screening requirements?

Information on conducting and funding background checks is available through the MFYC. E-mail for more information.

What is a best practice for supervising minors?

A best practice is that minors are supervised by at least two authorized adults or by parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the participants. Some of the factors to be considered in determining requirements for supervision of minors are the number and age of participants, the activity(ies) involved, type of housing if applicable, and age and experience of the staff members. The American Camp Association Guidelines also provide best practices.

Who should I contact if I have questions about additional safety and protection measures for a program involving minors?

The Youth on Campus section of the MFYC website provides sample forms concerning medical treatment, administration of medicines, emergency services, media photos & video releases. Additional consultation on safety and protection measures is for consultation from the MFYC, upon request (e-mail Also, see the DCE Youth Programs Manual and the Program-Specific Safety & Protection Checklist.

How can parents submit complaints or concerns regarding programs involving minors?

Complaints or concerns may be reported to the Program Supervisors first.  If additional assistance is requested, you can e-mail the MFYC at If assistance reporting outside of a program is needed, the VCU Helpline is also available at or by calling 1-888-242-6022.

My student organization would like to host an event with minors. Does this policy apply?

If the program is not being conducted by a VCU department or unit, student organizations must contact the Division of Student Affairs to provide a Point Person, and this activity should comply with this policy as a hosted Program.

Who is considered a chaperone under the policy?

A chaperone is an individual who accompanies and supervises minors during youth activities or programs on VCU’s campus. A chaperone should not be connected with or responsible for the activity or program directly.

Does the policy apply to youth programs that are run through VCU Health Systems (VCUHS)?

Youth activities or programs run exclusively by VCUHS employees with no connection to the university do not fall under this policy. If the VCUHS employee has a joint appointment at VCU [example: faculty member] or the program is connected with the university, this policy would apply.

Does the policy apply to youth programs located at a facility or property leased by VCU?

Yes. Any facility or property leased by VCU is considered part of the campus and compliance with the policy is required for youth programs at these locations.

Who is responsible for conducting the biennial screening process for Tier I individuals?

Tier I individuals who are VCU employees and have worked for the university for more than two years will need to undergo a biennial screening process. The Tier I individual’s immediate supervisor is responsible for conducting these screenings.

Tier I individuals not affiliated with VCU should consult with their organization’s human resources professionals or legal counsel for advice on conducting biennial screenings related to this policy. VCU does not have a role or responsibility in reviewing or interpreting background check results for outside entities.
For further guidance, visit our information on background checks or contact the Mary and Frances Youth Center at or (804)827-3402.