When conducting a webinar or virtual meeting involving youth, we must follow Penn State Policy AD 39 for the protection of youth, volunteers, and employees.

Webinars, virtual meetings, and conference call are a great way to conduct educational experiences. When conducting a webinar or virtual meeting involving youth, we must follow Penn State Policy AD 39 for the protection of youth, volunteers, and employees. The policy was developed by Sandy Weaver and the Penn State Youth Program Council. 

Penn State Policy AD 39

Policy covering those working with minors involved in University-sponsored programs or programs held at the University and/or housed in University facilities.

Child/Minor/Youth: A person under the age of eighteen (18).

Authorized Adult: Individuals, age 18 and older, paid or unpaid, who interact with, supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee minors in program activities, recreational, and/or residential facilities. Authorized Adults are considered to be mandated reporters as defined by Pennsylvania law.

One-On-One Contact: Personal, unsupervised interaction between any Authorized Adult and a participant without at least one other Authorized Adult, parent or legal guardian being present.

The complete policy can be found online.

All authorized adults who have direct contact with minors are required to be screened by the extension educator and have a current background check on file before working with minors. The three background clearances required include:

  1. Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Background Check (SP4-164)
  2. Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance Form (CY-113)
  3. Pennsylvania Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers, or the Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Criminal History Report if the individual has NOT been a PA resident continuously for the past ten years.

Also authorized adults will need to complete the Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse training annually according to Penn State policy AD 72. 

Penn State Policy AD 72

It is the policy of Penn State University to require ALL University employees, volunteers, and independent contractors who in the course of their University business or volunteer activity, have reasonable suspicion of child abuse, as defined by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law, to make a report as outlined in this policy. This does not include any confidential communications made to an attorney subject to the attorney-client privilege or a member of the clergy subject to the clergy-penitent privilege.

Penn State University will make educational communications and programs available to employees, volunteers, and independent contractors aimed at the prevention of child abuse and neglect, the recognition of the signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, and reporting requirements and procedures.

  1. Initial Training Requirements A. All University employees, volunteers, and/or independent contractors who are interacting with minors in a youth program, activity or service must complete the Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse training prior to working within the program, activity or service.

The complete policy can be found online.

Keep in mind the following when holding a webinars, virtual meeting, and conference calls involving youth:

  • Ensure a minimum of two approved volunteers/authorized adults or staff are in place for webinars, virtual meetings, or conference call and are on the virtual meeting prior to the start of the meeting.
  • Youth should identify themselves with their first name only.
  • Use only “group chat" and turn off “private chat" in any virtual meeting.
  • Do not record the meeting. Media releases signed by their parent are required to record the meeting.
  • Turn off “screen sharing" for participants.
  • Only authorized adults including staff and approved adult volunteers can host webinars, virtual meetings, or conference calls.
  • If a youth directly contacts an adult, a second adult should be included in all responses.
  • Please keep track of webinars, virtual meetings, or conference calls for your county records.
  • Approved volunteers/authorized adults and program staff shall not have any direct electronic contact with children without another adult being included in the communication.

If you need an ADA accommodation, please contact Phil Hoy to work with the Penn State ADA office.