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The More You Know: Exchange Programs & Host Families

By Net Assets posted 08-29-2018 12:51 PM

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Risk Management |

Exchange programs and stays with host families are increasingly the norm. What risks do they bring?

From the July/August 2018 Net Assets magazine

The following is an excerpt of the article "The More You Know," which covers nine additional topics (see box below). 

This information is provided for general educational purposes only. It should not be relied upon as, or in place of, legal advice. The authors and reader do not have an attorney/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to work with their legal counsel when addressing specific issues.

    By Julie Strom and Michael Blacher, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

    The world is getting smaller and students are exploring it in greater numbers. Exchange programs and stays with host families, once an oddity, are increasingly the norm. As schools integrate these programs into their curriculum, families expect their children to participate in them.

    Yet with travel and home stays comes inherent risk. We have found that many schools participate in these programs without adequately preparing for them. Students are sent abroad with little if any preparation, parents are not adequately informed of what the trip entails, and host families are not apprised of the expectations and requirements that accompany the host student. Schools often fail to consider relevant federal and state law.

    Before sending students abroad or hosting a student, schools should at a minimum consider the following:

    • Is written information about the trip disseminated to parents?
    • Are parents able to ask questions about the trip?
    • How are students screened and approved for participation?
    • Does the school require waivers that have been reviewed by legal counsel?
    • Are chaperones trained for possible contingencies?
    • What are the standards for a host family and living accommodations, both here and abroad?
    • When all else fails, do the school and host family have adequate insurance?

    Exchange programs and stays with host families can be rewarding. They can also result in accidents, misconduct and liability. Travel wisely.

    Julie Strom and Michael Blacher are both based in California with Liebert Cassidy Whitmore.

    Download a PDF of this article.



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