Section 10: Youth Safety

The protection and safety of children in Pennsylvania 4-H is one of the highest priorities of the University. The purpose of this Fact Sheet is to provide requirements for appropriate program management and adequate supervision of children in the Pennsylvania 4-H Program.

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
For more information about the volunteer screening process, please refer to V.I.P. Fact Sheet #5.
The number of chaperones shall be determined by the age of the participants, the nature of the facility and type of activity to ensure that adequate supervision is provided. Some of the factors to consider in determining "adequate supervision" are the number and age of participants, the activity(ies) involved, type of housing if applicable, and age and experience of the counselors. Below are the chaperoning standards outlined in Penn State’s Policy AD39.
Standards for club meetings, day (not overnight) and all other programs are:
     One adult for every six participants ages 4 and 5
     One adult for every eight participants ages 6 to 8
     One adult for every ten participants 9 to 14
     One adult for every twelve participants 15 to 18
4-H Clubs should be following the recommended ratio listed above for all club meetings and activities. The primary goal is provide adequate supervision for the youth who are participating in 4-H programs without one on one contact.
Standards for overnight programs are:
     One adult for every five participants ages 4-5
     One adult for every six participants ages 6 to 8
     One adult for every eight participants ages 9 to 14
     One adult for every ten participants ages 15 to 18
All authorized adults participating in programs and activities covered by this Policy shall observe the following principles or rules:
    • Do not have one-on-one contact with children: there must be two or more adults present during activities where children are present. Program Staffs also shall not have any direct electronic
contact with children without another adult being included in the communication.
    • In the case of adults supervising children overnight, Program Staff shall not enter a child’s room, bathroom facility, or similar area without another adult in attendance, consistent with the policy of not having one-on-one contact with children.
    • Will have separate accommodations for adults and children are required other than the child’s parents or guardians.
    • Be mindful of the appropriate use of cameras, imaging, and digital devices and respect privacy of 4-H members by prohibiting use of such devices where privacy is expected.
EPI Pens:
Personal Epinephrine Auto-Injectors, insulin and inhalers may be carried by the 4-H member during activities. If the 4-H member’s parent is not present, one authorized adult must be trained in the administration of epinephrine using an auto-injector device. Online training, for EPI Pens, is available through the Red Cross.

All Penn State policies must also be followed regarding youth programs. Please see the downloadable PDF to familiarize yourself with these.

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Section 10: Youth Safety

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