Host Family Online Application Improvements

Host Family Online Application Improvements

Each year, the RMCQA and Hosting Operations departments – integrating feedback from Field Staff and volunteers – endeavor to make improvements to the Host Family Online Application.

This year’s changes have been rolled into the new Host Family Online Application, to be launched May 12. Families who have already currently started an application (Preparing stage and after) will not be impacted. Only applications created as of May 12th will reflect these changes.

Most of this year’s changes are minor and address the phrasing of questions or adjust question logic in order to enhance the user experience. New questions and other more significant changes are listed below.

If you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Hosting Programs Specialist.

  • To account for families that speak more than one language, “What language is spoken at home?” has been changed to What language does your family speak primarily at home?”
  • If the family indicates a primary language other than English, “Would your family be willing to communicate primarily in English with your hosted student?” has been changed toBecause we understand that conversational English language learning is part of the exchange experience, our family agrees to speak with our student(s) primarily in Englishwith a Yes/No response. This updated language will help educate the family, reduce application givebacks and allows for follow-up by the field if answer is No.
  • At the request of Field Staff in order to collect info and track cases of Double Placements with other organizations, a new question has been added: “Will you also be hosting with an organization other than AFS at the same time you host with AFS?”
  • “In the U.S., the legal federal drinking age is 21. Do you agree not to permit your student to consume alcohol or any other illegal substances?” has been changed to “In the U.S., the legal federal drinking age is 21. Do you agree to follow any local, state, and federal laws and AFS policies regarding a student’s consumption of alcohol and other substances (such as tobacco)?” Many found the current wording to be confusing and did not address local/state laws which may allow the families to permit children to have a drink with them in specific situations.
  • In accordance with Department of State regulations, a new question has been added: “Describe the student’s bedroom.”
  • In line with the industry standard and to pro-actively address potential privacy/legal concerns, a new question has been added: Do you have listening/recording devices and/or cameras in your home?”
  • To ensure background checks are conducted on anyone not a part of the household but who may be in the home enough to warrant a screening, a new question has been added: “Other than those already listed on the application, please indicate who else has regular access to your home.”
  • If the family indicates a household member has received professional counseling within the past 5 years, two new follow-up questions have been added, with the intent to reduce application givebacks: “Please indicate which household member(s) and the purpose of the counseling” and “Are the family member(s) currently in stable condition?”
  • If the family indicates that a household member has been investigated by a CPS (Child Protective Services) agency, they will now have the option to upload supporting documentation to minimize follow-up after application submission.
  • Event and Very Short (VS) special program applications will now require photos, though not for the student’s storage area. This is to bring all applications in closer alignment with each other and Department of State regulations.
  • Families will be required to provide at least one reference within their state to comply with Department of State guidance that defines “local” references in a geographic sense.

To learn more about the host family application, visit Help & Learning. Thank you!