Types of Reporting
Monthly reporting is based on monthly contacts with the Participant and Host Family as required by the Department of State (DoS) . Reporting of School contacts is also required, 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 might also be done by another registered volunteer who has made a contact with the participant and/or host family at an orientation or possibly a Liaison Coordinator is reporting for the liaison who was not able to make a contact before the end of the month.
Problems as they develop are hopefully documented with written comments in addition to checking the appropriate five point rating scale. Poor and very poor ratings generate an automatic notification to the Team Support Coordinator and Support Staff for followup. Also, automatic notification is provided for yes or no questions that may require Support Coordinator and Support staff involvement. Examples:
- Any upcoming activities that may require AFS approval (travel;, activity waiver, visits)? >> Yes
- Does the host family home remain a suitable placement for an exchange student? >> No
Support Situation Reporting
When a support case is identified by a monthly contact report or by a stakeholder, (participant, host parents, school, support volunteers, or natural parents) follow up is required. This follow up needs to be reported to insure that Support Staff can review and assist and that the partner country and the natural family are kept informed as to the progress and resolution of the situation. The following types of reporting are available:
Follow-Up Reporting on Global Link
The Global-link forms have a block titled, "Follow up Outcomes" that appears when a liaison gives a rating of poor, very poor or answers a yes or no question that needs attention. This is where a Support Coordinator or possibly 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 a detailed reporting use other reporting methods described below.
Support Coordinators, as the Team's point of contact with Support staff in New York, should be on the phone with their assigned Support Staff Specialist to discuss the details of the situation and agree on a plan of action. The Staff Specialist will record this information in the case file. Support Staff may also discuss the situation with the Liaison for additional first hand information. Note: Verbal reporting is generally for notification and discussion of the situation, not a detailed report on what was done.
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, then forwarded this information to the Support Staff Specialist. The Staff Specialist will make this e-mail traffic part of the participant's case file. When a Support Counseling Plan for Success is developed or a Support Agreement is prepared, these documents and a written report of the counseling procedure is usually transferred as attachment in an e-mail sent to the Staff Specialist. Note: This is usually the desired method for reporting serious situation details, actions taken and resolutions reached.
Reporting by Form
There is a Form in the Liaison Handbook and on the AFS Wiki for Documenting and Reporting Participant Support Cases. There is an article in Help and Learning, Clarifying a Problem that goes into more detail on the seven clarifying questions on the Form. You can download this Form from the Help and Learning Center Documenting & Reporting Participant Support Cases (PDF Format), fill it out and submit it to your Team Support Coordinator or Support Staff Specialist. Note: The Form expands the Liaison reporting of a support situation in Global-link or standardizes initial reporting of a support situation identified by a stakeholder.
Duty Officer Reporting
AFS has a person on duty 24 hours a day to handle emergencies. This service is available after regular working hours and can be reached weekdays from 5:30 PM until 8:30 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 800 number (for after hours emergencies) is 1-800-237-4636.
A call to the Duty Officer is only for Emergency situations (ie. hospitalization, trouble with the law, student in danger) that occur after office hours. If it is not an emergency please call the Participant Support Staff and leave a message 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
- 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 Department 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 which 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 participant and how often
- When, and where the student will move and details on the new host family
Reporting a Situation
When the local volunteer reports a situation verbally or in writing, s/he should be prepared to provide the information outlined on the Form Documenting and Reporting Participant Support Cases. 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 what each individual feels about the situation.
- If possible, have a recommendation on how you think you ought to proceed (if applicable).