MADISON — University of Wisconsin System this week announced a policy requiring all system universities to enhance their safety standards and protocols for protection of minors participating in university-sponsored events. He also announced the launch of a new youth activity database to document registration and compliance of youth activities.

“Thousands of minors, especially during the summer, visit our universities through our many programs and activities,” said System President Tommy Thompson. “We have an obligation to provide the utmost of protection and care when they are here. These additional requirements will add another layer of safety protocols and resources for youth protection.”

The new UW System policy establishes minimum protection standards for minors engaged in covered youth programs that each university must follow, such as conducting criminal background checks on those adults authorized to interact with youths, as well as additional training requirements. All universities will update their policies and practices to adhere to these minimum standards by Dec. 31.

The recently launched Youth Activity Registration System (YARS) is an online database that UW System campus directors of compliance, precollege liaisons, and program directors will use for program registration as well as documenting compliance requirements and safety interactions of youth activities. It will increase the level of oversight of youth activities at the campus level by tracking the names and contact information of all participants and adults involved in the activities and verifying compliance with background checks and training requirements.

UW System institutions offer hundreds of academic and recreational programs and activities for youths ages 5-18 years old.