Types of Reporting:
Monthly reporting is based on monthly contacts with the Participant and Host Family as required by the Department of State (DoS). School contacts must also be reported- twice for semester students and three times for full-year students. Reporting is accomplished by completing forms in AFS Global Link. This is usually done by the liaison assigned to the participant and host family. Reporting may also be done by another registered volunteer - for instance, if contact is made with the participant and/or host family at an orientation. Reporting may be done by a Liaison Coordinator if a liaison is unable to make contact before the end of the month.
Monthly Contacts can be completed by documenting problems using the appropriate five-point rating scale and adding written comments as needed. Poor and Very Poor ratings generate an automatic notification to the Team Support Coordinator and Support Staff for follow-up. Automatic notifications are also triggered for yes/no questions that may require Support Coordinator and Support staff involvement. Examples:
- Any upcoming activities that may require AFS approval (travel, activity waiver, visits)?
- Are volunteers currently considering an unexpected/support related move for this participant?
Support Situation Reporting
When a support situation is identified through a Monthly Contact or by a stakeholder (participant, host parents, school official, support volunteers, or sending parents) follow up is required. This follow-up must be reported to ensure that the Support Staff can review and assist as well as inform the partner country and the sending family. The following types of reporting are available:
Follow-Up Reporting on Global Link
The Global Link form has a block titled "Follow Up" which appears when a liaison gives a rating of poor, very poor or answers a Yes/No question that needs attention. This is where a Support Coordinator or another Support Volunteer would report follow up actions taken to resolve a support situation. Note: There is space for only a brief description of actions taken or to report the issue resolved. For detailed reporting use other reporting methods described below.
Support Coordinators, as the Team's point of contact with Support staff in New York, can communicate over the phone with their assigned Support Specialist to discuss the details of the situation and agree on a plan of action. The Support Specialist will record this information in the participant's file. Support Staff may also discuss the situation with the Liaison for additional first-hand information.
Support volunteers attempting to resolve the case usually record their findings, actions and resolutions by e-mail. They may also ask stakeholders to provide their thoughts, concerns, and observations by e-mail forwarding this information to the Support Specialist as needed. The Support Specialist will record all email communication in the participant's case file. When a Plan for Success or a Support Agreement is issued, a copy of these documents and a written report of the counseling procedure is shared over email with the Support Specialist.
Reporting by Form
Consult the Documenting and Reporting Participant Support Cases and Clarifying a Problem pages on Help & Learning to access a PDF version of the form as well as to receive tips on navigating difficult conversations. Note: The Form standardizes initial reporting of a support situation identified by a stakeholder.
Duty Officer Reporting
AFS has Support staff on call 24 hours a day to handle emergencies. This service is available after regular working hours and can be reached weekdays from 6:00 PM until 9:00 AM (Eastern Time) and all day on weekends and holidays. This system was established to provide volunteers, AFS Participants, and host families with a responsive, effective, and professional emergency line.
The Duty Officer number is 1-800-237-4636.
A call to the Duty Officer is only for emergency situations that occur after office hours. Examples of emergency situations include:
- Emergency Moves
- Medical Emergency: Hospitalization and serious medical issues/injuries
- Sexual misconduct: Student victim or perpetrator
- Arrest/Police involvement
- Runaway students
- Suicidal thoughts
- Natural Disasters
- Death in natural family
- Student's physical and psychological safety compromised in any way
- Breaking 3 AFS rules: No driving, No Hitchhiking, No drugs.
If it is not an emergency please contact your Participant Support Specialist so they can follow up with you during normal business hours.
The answering service should take the following information from the caller:
- the caller’s name
- a telephone number where the caller can be reached
- the nature of the message
- the full name of the participant, the host family, and phone numbers
- the participant’s country
- what has happened
- any steps already taken by volunteers or families
The answering service is then responsible for contacting the Duty Officer. The Duty Officer will return the call as soon as possible and assist the caller. If you do not receive a return call from the Duty Officer within 15 minutes, please call again.
Staff Reporting to the DoS (Department of State)
AFS is required by law to promptly notify the DoS of any unusual or exceptional incidents that may bring the DoS or AFS into notoriety or disrepute. Further, AFS must report incidents involving alleged sexual misconduct. For more information on these types of situations, please refer to the following article on Help & Learning, "When to Notify AFS-USA". Click here to be taken to that article.
(When AFS is informed of any incident or allegation involving the actual or alleged sexual exploitation or abuse of a student participant, staff will also be required to report it to local police and Child Protective Services in accordance with State law for further investigation.)
Preparing to Report a Situation:
In writing up or verbally reporting a participant support situation, it is vital to present information that addresses the following: who, what, when, why, and how. Helpful questions to ask before reporting information include:
- Do I have the participant’s complete name and country of origin?
- Have I asked the “Seven Clarifying Questions,” to everyone involved to have a complete and balanced picture of the situation?
- For a participant move, do I have details on the “process” by which the move is to take place, including information on:
- The specific issues
- How the issues emerged
- How they were dealt with
- Who met with the participant and how often
- When, and where the student will move and details on the new host family
Reporting a Situation:
When a local volunteer reports a situation verbally or in writing, they should be prepared to provide the information outlined on the Form. At a minimum, provide the following:
- Participant’s full name (correctly spelled), and country of origin.
- Note which volunteer is working most directly with the participant.
- Succinctly state the core problem and the outcome.
- Provide a summarized background by stating what specifically has been done, when it was done, and how each individual feels about the situation.
- If possible, have a recommendation on how you think you ought to proceed (if applicable).