Introduction and Purpose
The Office of Justice Programs requires awardees and subawardees of grants (both referred to as “grant” within this policy) from the Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime and Office on Violence Against Women to make determinations of suitability before covered individuals may interact with participating minors. This requirement applies regardless of an individual’s employment status.
"Covered individual" means any individual (other than a participating minor, as defined in this policy or a client of the recipient (or subrecipient)) who is expected, or reasonably likely, to interact with any participating minor (other than the individual's own minor children). A covered individual need not have any particular employment status or legal relationship with the recipient (or subrecipient). Such an individual might be an employee of a recipient (or subrecipient), but also might be (for example) a consultant, contractor, employee of a contractor, trainee, volunteer, or teacher.
"Participating minor." A participating minor is a person under 18 who is being served with STOP VAWA, SASP, or VOCA funds, or funds used as a match.
"Interaction" includes physical presence, oral and written communication, and the transmission of images and sound, and may be in person or by electronic (or similar) means. But "interaction" does not include—
- brief contact that is both unexpected by the recipient (or subrecipient) and unintentional on the part of the covered individual -- such as might occur when a postal carrier delivers mail to an administrative office.
- personally-accompanied contact -- that is, infrequent or occasional contact (for example, by someone who comes to make a presentation) in the presence of an accompanying adult, pursuant to written policies and procedures of the recipient (or subrecipient) that are designed to ensure that -- throughout the contact -- an appropriate adult who has been determined to be suitable pursuant to this condition will closely and personally accompany, and remain continuously within view and earshot of, the covered individual.
“Infrequent or Occasional Contact” is contact not scheduled on a regular basis, not expected or anticipated on a regular basis. This contact occurs less than 12 times in a year. Delivery persons, repair/maintenance person or regular visitors to the office who conduct regular and necessary University of Iowa business, and other clients will not be screened.
“Activities Under the Award” includes both (1) activities carried out under the award by the recipient (or subrecipient); and (2) actions taken by an entity or individual pursuant to a procurement contract under the award or to a procurement contract under a subaward at any tier. This applies whether paid for with federal funds from the award, matching funds approved for the award, or program income for the award as defined by (DOJ) Part 200 Uniform Requirements.
Determination of Applicability of Suitability to Interact with Minors Requirement
The University of Iowa Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) will work directly with grant recipients to review grant award conditions and make a written determination as to whether the Suitability to Interact with Minors Requirement applies to the grant. DSP will confirm the applicability of the grant requirement with the PI via email.
The suitability requirement will apply when a covered individual doing work on the grant is likely to have more than infrequent or occasional contact with participating minors. If an individual doing activities in connection with the grant is expected to interact with participating minors at least 12 times during a calendar year, the suitability requirement will apply.
If DSP and the PI determine that this requirement does not apply to individuals conducting activities in connection the grant, this determination will be made in writing and be contained as part of the grant award’s records.
If DSP and the PI determine that the grant requirement does apply to individuals conducting activities in connection with the grant, this determination will be made in writing and be contained as part of the grant award’s records. The Senior HR Director or designee in the Department associated with the grant will then conduct the appropriate checks and make a written determination of suitability. It is the responsibility of the PI to inform the Senior HR Director of the names of the employees and volunteers who frequently interact with minors.
Written Determination of Suitability
The Senior HR Director in the Department associated with the grant will make a written determination of suitability before covered individuals may interact with participating minors. This must be based on current and appropriate information (background checks) and take into account certain factors and considerations as outlined below.
The Senior HR Director in the Department associated with the grant will not make a written determination of suitability of an individual who has infrequent or occasional contact with participating minors.
Written determinations of suitability must be conducted at a minimum of every five years, or sooner upon learning of information that may reasonably suggest unsuitability.
The Senior HR Director may consult with University HR, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Office of General Counsel in making determinations of suitability and shall consult with the appropriate aforementioned offices when the suitability screening reflects a criminal conviction or one of the prohibited criteria listed in Section VI.
Current and Appropriate Information
The Senior HR Director will review current and appropriate information in making determinations of suitability. This suitability screening must include:
- A name search of the state public sex offender and the state public child abuse websites/registries
- A name search of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (www.nsopw.gov)
- A fingerprint search with an FBI national criminal history search.
All searches, where applicable, will include each state where covered individuals have lived/worked/attended school anytime in the past five years, as well as any state where the covered individual is reasonably likely to interact with persons under 18 years of age.
All searches must be completed no earlier than six months before the suitability determination.
All search results will be documented and maintained by the Senior HR Director. Employee search results will be maintained as part of the individual’s human resources personnel file. Volunteer search results will be maintained in a separate file maintained by the Senior HR Director.
The Senior HR Director in the Department associated with the grant must consider the results of the screening in making suitability determinations.
Unless prohibited by law, an individual will be deemed unsuitable if the individual:
- Withholds consent to a criminal history search as required;
- Knowingly makes a false statement that affects, or is intended to affect, any search as required;
- Is listed as a registered sex offender on the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender website or any state public sex offender registry;
- Has been convicted of any misdemeanor or felony, under federal, state, tribal or local law, for any of the following crimes, including:
- Sexual or physical abuse, neglect or endangerment of an individual under the age of 18 at the time of the offense;
- Rape or sexual assault, including conspiracy or attempt to commit rape or sexual assault;
- Sexual exploitation, including child pornography or sex trafficking;
- Kidnapping at any level;
- Voyeurism; or
- Is determined by another federal, state, tribal or local government agency to be unsuitable pursuant to this certified assurance.
Principal Investigator Responsibilities
The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for providing DSP and the Senior HR Director with timely and accurate information regarding covered individuals and activities under the award.
DSP will confirm the applicability of the grant requirement with the PI via email. The PI must provide DSP with requested information to allow DSP and the PI to determine the applicability of the suitability to interact with minors requirement. The internal UI authorization to spend funds on the grant cannot be released until this determination is made.
The PI must inform the Senior HR Director of the names of the covered individuals (employees and volunteers) who frequently interact with minors to allow the Senior HR Director to make individual determinations of suitability. This is a continuing obligation; the PI must inform the Senior HR Director anytime a new employee or volunteer who will interact with minors begins to work or volunteer under the grant.
The PI cannot allow covered individuals to have frequent interactions with minors without first receiving a suitability determination by the Senior HR Director.
The PI will not be able to use STOP VAWA, SASP, or VOCA funds to serve minors if the grant is not in compliance with the suitability to interact with minors policy.