FAQ 1: BU Protection of Minors Policy and Requirements

1a) What is the BU Protection of Minors (POM) policy?

The POM is a University-wide mandate to ensure the safety and well-being of all minors in BU-sponsored programs and activities.

1b) Who does the POM policy apply to?

POM applies to all BU students who may have unsupervised contact with minors in BU sponsored programs and activities.

1c) How does BU define “minor”?

BU defines “minor” as any person under the age of 18, not a BU or BU Academy student, and unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

  • Note: A person under the age of 18 who is participating in BU Institutional Review Board-approved research is not a minor under this policy.
1d) Does the POM policy have any requirements?

Yes. POM has two requirements:

  • POM Online Training: a one-time, 30-minute training on signs of child neglect and abuse; you will receive a training certificate upon completion. Click Here for instructions on how to download your certificate of completion.
  • POM Verification Form: proof that you are in compliance with the site’s background check policy and are eligible for fieldwork. Once every three years, Boston University requires a signed (by the field site) POM Verification Form on file in the Sonia Field Database (see 1i -1j below).
    • Brookline Public Schools Placements: Not needed because Brookline Human Resources sends us verification of results each semester.
    • ED200 & SO211 Students: Not needed because your field site sends us verification of results each semester.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • 1d.i) Only the Certificate of Completion, not the Learner Transcript, will be accepted for the POM Online Training requirement. Click Here for instructions on how to download your Certificate of Completion.
  • 1d.ii) The POM Verification Form needs to be signed by the site AFTER you have cleared all required site checks and are ready to begin fieldwork (see Sequence of Events in this Summary Chart)
    • Only this form signed by the site will be accepted. See 1h below for who to ask to sign the form.
    • Incorrect forms will be marked Incomplete.
    • Blank forms will be marked Incomplete.
    • If you do not have your field placement yet, see Overarching Question #5.
    • If no minors or background check at your site, you still need to have site administration or your site supervisor check the box “no check required/no work with minors” and sign the form (see 1n-1p below for more detail).
      • If you submitted a signed form last year and this box was checked, you must submit an updated form this academic year from your current site.
    • If you have more than one placement this semester, you only need one signed POM Verification Form. If a site requires the background check, use that site to sign the form.
    • If your fieldwork is at your place of employment, then you are most likely already in compliance with your site’s checks policy and can simply ask your site administrator to sign the POM Verification Form (see 1k below for more detail).
  • 1d.iii) Upload your POM Online Training Certificate of Completion and signed Verification Form to the Sonia Field Database when completed (see 1i-1j bel
  • 1d.iv) Higher Ed. Placements or Working with Adults Only: see 1n-1p below.
1e) What is the deadline to complete the POM requirements?

You must be in compliance before field placement begins. No exceptions. As soon as you receive your field placement, you should begin to address these requirements.

1f) I am mostly observing at my site. Does the POM policy still apply to me?

Yes. It applies to all BU students who may have unsupervised contact with minors.

1g) How often do I need to complete the POM requirements?

POM Online Training: once only during your time at BU

POM Verification Form: once before your first field placement and every three years after that

NOTE: if you are unsure if you already completed the BU POM for a previous field placement, (a) log-in to the Sonia Field Data System with your Kerberos user name/password and (b) click the Checks tab. If you see “cleared” marked in green highlight, then that requirement is all set (no further action needed).

1h) Who should I have sign the POM Verification Form?

Ask the field site’s administration (e.g., front office staff) or human resources who should sign this form. Normally it is the staff member who processes your background check paperwork. However, if you are unsure of who to ask, then see if your site supervisor can point you in the right direction or sign it for you (i.e., if they are able to verify).

The BU POM Verification Form is a fillable form that can be signed electronically if not in person.

NOTE:

  • Brookline Public Schools Placements: the POM Verification Form is not needed because Brookline Human Resources sends us verification of results each semester.
  • Higher Ed. Placements or Working with Adults Only: see 1n-1p below.
1i) What should I do after the online training and verification form are completed?

First, be sure that you read Important Notes under FAQ 1d. Then, upload the training certificate and signed verification form to the Sonia Field Data System for review by the Professional Preparation Office.

1j) Why do I need to upload the training certificate and signed verification form to Sonia?

The uploaded documents provide BU Wheelock an official record of your compliance, required under Boston University POM policy.

1k) Does the POM apply to job related placements?

Yes. BU requires a record of compliance from all students, even those in job related placements. If you are in a job-related placement, then you are most likely already in compliance with your site’s checks policy and can simply ask your site administrator to sign the POM Verification Form for you to upload to the Sonia Field Database.

1l) Does the POM apply to out-of-state placements?

Yes. As a welcome guest in the field, you are always obligated to abide by all out-of-state site requirements in a timely manner before your placement begins.

Have site administration (e.g., front office staff) sign the POM Verification Form. The signed form is proof of your compliance with the site’s state-specific background check.

1m) Does the POM apply to students who study abroad?

Yes. You must complete the process through Boston University Global Programs before you study abroad.  Have your Global Programs Manager sign the POM Verification Form as proof of your compliance.

Note: You also need to adhere to the background check requirements at your study abroad location (if applicable).

1n) Does the POM apply to students placed in a higher education setting?

In most instances no, but ask your site supervisor if you will be working with college students under 18 years old.

Even if no minors, you still need to have site administration or your site supervisor check the box “no minors” on the  POM Verification Form and sign it for you to upload.

1o) Does the POM apply if I am only working with adults?

No, but you still need to have site administration or your site supervisor check the box “no minors” on the  POM Verification Form and sign it for you to upload.

1p) I cannot complete the POM Verification Form because my site has no background check. What should I do?

Have site administration or your site supervisor check the box “no check was required” on the POM Verification Form and sign it for you to upload.

1q) What is the consequence for students who do not comply?

Official out-of-compliance notifications will be sent to the student, program director, BU program supervisor, and field site supervisor. Students will not be permitted to attend their site until they are in compliance and have written clearance from the Professional Preparation Office.

1r) What is the consequence if I am in a job-related placement and not in compliance?

University supervision will not start and you cannot count hours toward your BU practicum until you are in full compliance.

1s) The site has not yet signed my POM Verification Form. Will my placement be delayed because of this?

Rule of Thumb: Address the BU POM policy and field site background checks when you receive your field placement (or as soon as the site will allow) and regularly keep the Professional Preparation Office informed and updated about any delay that is beyond your control.

1t) Who do I contact if I have questions about the POM?

Paul Akoury, Associate Director of Field Education and BU Wheelock Protection of Minors Coordinator – Field Placements, at pakoury@bu.edu, 617-353-1578.