Minor Protection and Adult Leadership Policy

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Minor Protection and Adult Leadership Policy for University Camps, Conferences, and Clinics


The University System has adopted the following policy for the safety and well-being of minors that attend our various programs. These policies are primarily for the protection of minors; however, they also serve to protect adult employees and volunteers. As such, all members of the campus community, including faculty, staff, volunteers and third parties with a business relationship to the University must comply with this policy as well as other applicable university policies including the requirement of criminal background checks.  

The following policies establish the appropriate minimal level of supervision for minors not enrolled or accepted for enrollment at a UW institution who are involved in University-sponsored programs, programs held at the University via written agreement or sponsorship and/or programs housed in University facilities (e.g. Camps and Clinics) at all geographic locations.

This policy does not apply to general public events or campus locations open to the public, such as sporting events, arboretums and unions. This policy does not apply to events or locations where parents/guardians are invited and expected to provide supervision of minors. Supervision of minors who are subjects in University research is addressed by the Institutional Review Board process and is not addressed by this policy.


Authorized Adult - Any person eighteen (18) years of age or older in a paid or unpaid supervisory or leadership position.

Minor - A person under the age of eighteen (18) who is not enrolled or accepted for enrollment at the University.

One-on-One Contact – Unsupervised interaction between an Authorized Adult and a participant in a program without at least one other Authorized Adult, parent, guardian, family member or other minor being present.

Programs - Programs and activities offered by various academic or administrative units of the University.  Non-University groups that use University facilities for programs must have an agreement.

This includes but is not limited to workshops, sport camps, academic camps, conferences, and similar activities. Outside groups or organizations that contract with the University to use University facilities for programs must warrant that they follow the Minor Protection and Adult Leadership Policy.

University Facilities - Facilities owned by, or under the control of, the University. University daycare and preschool services or services provided by a licensed health care provider (or employee or volunteer acting under the direction of a licensed healthcare provider) are not included in the definition of university facilities and will follow applicable laws, regulations, and separate policies that reflect the unique activities that occur in those locations.


One-on-one contact between an adult and a minor is prohibited. A group setting must be maintained at all times which means that one-on-one contact between adults and minors is not permitted during the duration of the program.


  • The case of a child and parent, guardian, or family member relationship.
  • Instructional settings where one-on-one instruction, tutoring or educationally-related experiences ensue. In such settings, free access to the instructional setting by authorized persons to and from any space must be maintained at all times. Examples to achieve this include: no window or door coverings that would restrict or eliminate visibility into the room and ensuring doors that are used to enter and exit the space are unlocked and accessible. In such settings it is strongly encouraged to leave doors open when feasible.
  • Incidental or accidental one on one contact does not violate this policy, however the adult should immediately terminate that contact.
  • Authority of Risk Manager or Chief Human Resources Officer.  An institution’s risk manager or chief human resources officer (or their designee) may grant limited exceptions to this policy.  Factors to be considered in evaluating an exception are:
    • One-on-one contact should not be permitted unless prohibiting it would fundamentally alter the nature of the service being provided.  If one-on-one contact is permitted, free access to and from any space must be maintained.
    • The number of adults present must be sufficient to ensure adequate supervision of minors at all times.

Supervision. An appropriate ratio of staff members (adults) to campers (minors) must be maintained. See Appendix for recommended ratios for campers.                     

Overnight events.  In the case of adults supervising minors overnight, other than the minor’s own parent, guardian or family member, an Authorized Adult should not enter a minor’s room, bathroom facility, or similar area without another Authorized Adult in attendance, consistent with the policy of not having one-on-one contact with minors.

Privacy of youth respected. Adults must respect the privacy of minors in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers, whenever possible.  Intrusions are permitted only to the extent that health and safety require. Adults must protect their own privacy in similar situations.

Inappropriate use of cameras, imaging, or digital devices prohibited. Use of such device capable of recording or transmitting visual images in shower houses, restrooms, or other areas where privacy is expected by adult and minor participants is prohibited.

Emergency Exception.  The two-deep leadership requirement may be temporarily suspended if an emergency situation warrants it (e.g., one adult accompanies a minor to the emergency room, is summoning law enforcement, or is searching for a missing minor). An alternative adult must join the group to reestablish leadership as soon as feasible.

Violations. Any employee who violates this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.  A volunteer who violates this policy may have their duties immediately suspended and may be subject to limited access to campus up to a ban from campus.  In the event that a violation occurs by a third party employee or volunteer, the group in its entirety may be asked to remove from campus and future access to campus by the group may be limited or prohibited.


For additional information on programs involving minors:
Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection ch. 78, Published under s.13.92, WI Stat. (2016), Recreational and Educational Camps. https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/register/2016/726B/insert/atcp78
Department of Children and Families ch. 252, (2009), Licensing Rules for Day Camps for Children. https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/files/publications/pdf/2532.pdf


Adult to Student Ratios

Grade Group Situation Recommended Ratios

PreK-1 (age 3-4)

Day Camp 1:4
PreK-1 (age 4-5) Day Camp 1:6
PreK-1 (age 5-6) Day Camp 1:10
PreK-1 (age 6 & under) Residential (Overnight) Camp 1:4
 Grade Group  Situation Recommended Ratios 
2nd to 4th (over age 6) Classroom Setting 1:10
2nd to 4th (over age 6) Field Trip Minimum 2 adults, with a ratio of 1:10 
2nd to 4th (over age 6) Day Camp 1:10
2nd to 4th (over age 6) Commuter 1:10
 Grade Group  Situation Recommended Ratios 
5th-8th Classroom Setting 1:18
5th-8th Field Trip Minimum 2 adults, with a ratio of 1:10 
5th-8th Water Activities/Rec Sports 1:10
5th-8th Residential (Overnight) and Day Camp 1:10
 Grade Group Situation  Recommended Ratios 
9th-12th Classroom Setting 1:18
9th-12th Field Trip Minimum 2 adults, with a ratio of 1:10 
9th-12th Water Activities/Rec Sports 1:10
9th-12th Residential (Overnight) and Day Camp 1:10