Learn about the Family
Logic suggests that better hosting situations will take place if the hosted student matches interests and expectations of the hosting family. Since the student really has no voice in the placement, the matching that can be done is that of finding a student that will fit the family.
Some families want only a female or only a male; if so that becomes the first sort. Since typically it is easier to place girls than boys, if the family does not express a gender preference better balance may be achieved by working for a male placement. Allergies are an important consideration too. Some of our students have pet allergies and nearly 80% of AFS host families have pets. If you are working with a family without pets, please focus on showing them students with allergies.
While it is nice to accommodate a host family's interests whenever possible, we also need to make sure that every student gets a family. For example, consider showing a Thai student to a family who has asked for a European if you think the Thai student might fit better with the family dynamics.
In addition, students' interests can change over time, so it is often best to try to match students and families not on interests alone but on other lifestyle traits as well. For example, does the host family like quiet evenings at home together? If so, a more family-oriented student would be a better fit than an independent one. Does the family like things clean and orderly? If so, a student also used to the same type of home environment might do better than the student who self-reveals that his bedroom is a mess most of the time.
For a practice exercise in matching students and families, visit In-Person Hosting Training: Matching Families to Students.
And please note that a student can never be placed with a relative, no matter how distant the relationship.
Use the guides in the Finding Students section to identify students to show the family. Start by looking at any students Community Placed to your team and then move onto students Nationally or Regionally Available. And use the tips under Learn About Students to use the student's application to help determine which students might be a good fit for a family.
Send Student Profiles
To send potential families information about students that might be a good match for them, you can start by sending them student bios to pique their interest or even student Get to Knows to learn more about specific students. You can learn more about these features in the Share Student Information with Host Families section. As a best practice, do not send more then two students at one time. Too many options can overwhelm families or encourage them to focus on minutia that probably won't matter in the long run. If a family is seriously considering a student or two you can request to Place a Student on Hold. If the students are Community Placed, communicate the family's interest with your Hosting Coordinator.
Please also review what information can and cannot be shared with unscreened families by visiting the Share Student Information with Host Families section.
Make the Match
Once a student is picked out and is determined eligible to place, a Placed without Papers request is entered. Visit Placing a Student with a Family to learn more.