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TITLE 25HEALTH SERVICES
PART 1DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES
CHAPTER 265GENERAL SANITATION
SUBCHAPTER BTEXAS YOUTH CAMPS SAFETY AND HEALTH
RULE §265.12Directors, Supervisors, and Staff

(a) On-site director required. Each youth camp shall be under the on-site direction of a qualified adult with at least two years of experience working with children. The director shall be knowledgeable in camp administrative practices and shall have at least one year of leadership experience with an organized youth camp, school or other youth-serving organization, such as the Boy Scouts of America or Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).

(b) Adult supervisors. Each youth camp shall have at least one adult supervisor who is responsible for the supervision of no more than ten children in the camp. For any hazardous activity the supervisor(s) shall be in the immediate vicinity (within sight and/or hearing) of the campers. An "all camp" sedentary activity, not requiring physical activity, may require less supervision, and each camp shall establish its own guidelines, but not less than one adult supervisor to every 25 campers. The camp director shall not be included in the supervisor to camper ratio in camps serving over 50 campers at one time.

(c) Supervision of hazardous activity. Hazardous camp activities shall be conducted by and under the direct supervision of a qualified adult capable of implementing safety standards established by the department or the camp. The specialist shall also have documented training or at least two years documented experience in conducting the activity.

(d) Written personnel policies and practices. A camp shall have written personnel policies and practices for both campers and staff. Supervisors shall be informed of these policies and practices prior to assuming responsibility for campers.

(e) Staff member character and integrity records. The camp management shall ascertain and have on record information, such as a letter of reference, attesting to the character and integrity of each staff member, and information, such as training certificates, attesting to the ability of each staff member to perform the tasks required in his or her position.

(f) Criminal conviction and sex offender background check requirements. The camp management shall have on file a record of any criminal conviction and a sex offender registration check for all adult staff members and all adult volunteers working at the camp before the staff member or volunteer has unsupervised contact with children at the camp. If the records are located off-site, a letter from the national or regional headquarters of the camp organization stating the names of individuals at the camp site for whom background checks have been conducted, shall be available at the camp site. All records of criminal convictions and written evaluations for a camp or camping organization shall be made available to department personnel within two business days upon request. Youth camps are responsible for ensuring that criminal and sex offender background checks have been conducted for international staff obtained through the J-1 visa process, and that documentation of these checks are located with other staff background checks. Records of criminal convictions and sex offender status shall be obtained by:

  (1) performing an annual criminal background check using a criminal history database for each adult staff member's and each adult volunteer's permanent residence. If the staff member or adult volunteer has a temporary or an educational residence, an annual criminal background check shall include searching under the permanent, temporary and educational address, as applicable. The criminal history database used for the criminal background check is to be based on the individual's residences, and may include state, national or international databases. Documentation of the search results, whether or not the results are positive, shall be maintained with the sex offender background documentation; and

  (2) performing an annual background check using a sex offender registration database for each adult staff member's and each adult volunteer's permanent residence and educational residence if applicable, such as the TXDPS - Sex Offender Registry, which may be accessed at Texas Department of Public Safety - Crime Records Service. Documentation of the search results, whether or not the results are positive, shall be maintained with the criminal background documentation.

(g) Persons whose presence at a youth camp shall be precluded. Youth camps shall not employ paid or unpaid staff members or volunteers at a youth camp, or permit any person to have unsupervised contact with campers other than their own children if the person has the following types of criminal convictions or deferred adjudications: a misdemeanor or felony under Texas Penal Code, Title 5 (Offenses Against the Person), Title 6 (Offenses Against the Family), Chapter 29 (Robbery) of Title 7, Chapter 43 (Public Indecency) or §42.072 (Stalking) of Title 9, §15.031 (Criminal Solicitation of a Minor) of Title 4, §38.17 (Failure to Stop or Report Aggravated Sexual Assault of Child) of Title 8, or any like offense under the law of another state or under federal law.

(h) Persons whose presence at a youth camp may be precluded.

  (1) Youth camps may preclude a person from being a paid or unpaid staff member or volunteer at a youth camp; or may preclude a person from having unsupervised contact with campers other than the person's own children, if the person has the following types of criminal convictions or deferred adjudications:

    (A) a misdemeanor or felony committed within the past ten years under §46.13 (Making a Firearm Accessible to a Child) or Chapter 49 (Intoxication and Alcoholic Beverage Offenses) of Title 10 of the Texas Penal Code, or any like offense under the law of another state or under federal law; or

    (B) any other felony under the Texas Penal Code or any like offense under the law of another state or under federal law that the person committed within the past ten years.

  (2) Camp management shall have on file a written evaluation by two or more camp executive staff for any staff member or volunteer whose presence at the youth camp may be precluded under this subsection showing that management has determined the person is suitable for a position at the youth camp despite a criminal conviction or deferred adjudication.

(i) Sexual abuse and child molestation awareness training and examination program.

  (1) Effective June 1, 2006, a youth camp licensee may not employ or accept the volunteer service of an individual for a position involving contact with campers at a youth camp unless:

    (A) the individual submits to the licensee or the youth camp has on file documentation that verifies the individual within the preceding two years has successfully completed the training and examination program required by this subsection; or

    (B) the individual successfully completes the youth camp's training and examination program approved by the department during the individual's first workweek, and prior to any contact with campers unless supervised during the first workweek by an adult who has successfully completed the program.

  (2) For purposes of this subsection, the term "contact with campers" does not include visitors such as a guest speaker, an entertainer, or a parent who visits for a limited purpose or a limited time if the visitor has no direct and unsupervised contact with campers. A visitor may have direct and unsupervised contact with a camper to whom the visitor is related. A camp may require training and an examination for visitors if it chooses.

  (3) A youth camp licensee shall retain in the person's personnel record a copy of the documentation required or issued under paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection for each employee or volunteer until the second anniversary of the examination date.

  (4) Prior to their use, the department may approve training and examination programs offered by trainers under contract with youth camps, by online training organizations, or programs offered in another format, such as a videotape, authorized by the department.

  (5) A training and examination program on sexual abuse and child molestation approved by the department shall at a minimum include training and an examination on:

    (A) the definitions and effects of sexual abuse and child molestation;

    (B) the typical patterns of behavior and methods of operation of child molesters and sex offenders that put children at risk;

    (C) the warning signs and symptoms associated with sexual abuse or child molestation, recognition of the signs and symptoms, and the recommended methods of reporting suspected abuse;

    (D) the recommended rules and procedures for youth camps to implement to address, reduce, prevent, and report suspected sexual abuse or child molestation;

    (E) the need to minimize unsupervised encounters between adults and minors; and

    (F) the potential for consensual and nonconsensual sexual activity between campers, steps to prevent sexual activity between campers, and how to respond if sexual activity between campers occurs.

  (6) The training program shall last for a minimum of one hour and discuss each of the topics described in paragraph (5) of this subsection.

  (7) The examination shall consist of a minimum of 25 questions which shall cover each of the topics described in paragraph (5) of this subsection.

  (8) To successfully complete the training program, each employee or volunteer shall achieve a score of 70% or more correct on an individual examination. If the examination is taken on-line, the employee or volunteer shall retain a certificate of completion indicating they successfully completed the course.

  (9) The department may assess a fee of $125 to each applicant to cover the costs of the department's initial review and each follow-up review of a training and examination program.

  (10) Applications and fees shall be mailed to the Environmental and Sanitation Licensing Group, Department of State Health Services, Mail Code 2003, P.O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas 78714-9347. Applications may be obtained by calling the Environmental and Sanitation Licensing Group at (512) 834-6600 or may be downloaded from http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/youthcamp/default.shtm.

  (11) The department, at least every five years from the date of initial approval, shall review each training and examination program approved by the department to ensure the program continues to meet the criteria and guidelines established under this subsection.

(j) Supervised contact with campers.

  (1) A person supervising another person who is prohibited from having unsupervised contact with campers:

    (A) may include one or more paid or unpaid members of camp staff or management; law enforcement officers; security personnel; lifeguards or other responsible staff at any off-site facility; or parents or other adults;

    (B) must be charged with responsibility to monitor, oversee, or supervise the person on behalf of the licensee or camp management; and

    (C) must have the ability and means to summon competent assistance at all times while remaining within sight and hearing distance of the supervised person.

  (2) A person who is prohibited from having unsupervised contact with campers must be supervised at all times during which that person has or might have any contact with one or more campers, whether intentional or unintentional, and whether part of scheduled camp activities or not. The potential for contact with campers by a person is presumed at all times during which one or more campers are present at the facility at which the person is present unless there is an impassable barrier between them.

(k) Records retention. All applications, background check reports, training documentation, and other required personnel documentation required by this subchapter shall be maintained in hard copy or electronic format for a minimum of two years following a person's last day of service.


Source Note: The provisions of this §265.12 adopted to be effective April 16, 2006, 31 TexReg 3054; amended to be effective May 16, 2010, 35 TexReg 3815; amended to be effective March 13, 2014, 39 TexReg 1713

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