Volunteers should consult the COVID-19 FAQ section for the most up-to-date information about programming and procedure changes for 2020.
- Our primary responsibility in all support situations is to ensure the safety and well-being of our participants.
- Except to respond to a critical safety concern requiring immediate intervention, do not attempt to resolve the situation alone. As soon as time permits, consult with the responsible support volunteers and support staff. If it is after hours, the Duty Officer is available to provide advice and guidance regarding student safety concerns. The Duty Officer can be reached at 1-800-AFS-INFO x9
- Approach the resolution of the issues as a “Support Team” effort.
- The “Support Team” generally consists of the Host Parents, Liaison, Support Coordinator, and Participant Support Specialist in the USA and extends to the partner country staff and natural parents.
- Two volunteers should be present, usually the Participant Support and Liaison, when a student is moved or there are any extreme emotional, safety or legal concerns.
- If the “Support Team” as described above does not exist due to a vacant position, illness, vacation, etc. consult with your supervisor, the Team/Chapter Chair or Participant Support Specialist to determine who has responsibility.
- Follow established AFS procedures as applicable to the situation, for the protection of the participant, volunteers and the AFS organization, while recognizing that each participant is unique.
- An Early Return is only decided by the Support Staff, in consultation with the Partner Country, based on information provided by local Support volunteers.
- A host family change may become emergent due to State Department placement requirements and/or the impact on the participant. In the event of concerns or allegations that could affect the student’s safety and well-being in a home, AFS will require an immediate host family change while we reevaluate the home in next steps.