Temporary Modification to Host Family Interview Process

Temporary Modification to Host Family Interview Process

*This update is a follow-up to the email sent to hosting volunteers on 4/14.*

Given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and our commitment to the health, safety, and welfare of the entire AFS community, AFS is making temporary modifications to our host family screening process. These steps will enable us to continue to thoroughly screen our host families, in the spirit in which is intended by the Department of State regulations governing J-1 sponsors such as AFS, while respecting state and local guidelines around social distancing and other measures.

Volunteers should conduct in-home interviews via video conference, being sure to view all areas of the home as required by the regulations (exterior of the house, kitchen/dining area, living room, student bedroom/storage area and student bathroom). A resource for conducting virtual meetings can be found here on MyAFS Help & Learning. When completing the Interview Form, please indicate that the interview was not conducted in the home and provide a comment. Example:

If the interview was completed via video and all areas of the home were viewed and rated satisfactorily, staff will transfer the completed host family application once they are fully screened in order to move the family forward and allow for communication with their student.

A follow-up interview done in the home must take place for 2020-2021 participants prior to the student’s departure for the U.S.

In the event of a move for an NH19 participant still on program, the interviewer must record the interview if the family has not hosted previously with AFS. In these cases an in-person follow-up visit will not be required. Volunteers must alert the Host Family prior to the interview that it will be recorded, in accordance with Department of State guidance, and obtain their consent to do so before recording the interview. The video file should be sent to hostingpaperwork@afsusa.org. For NH19 moves in which the family has hosted previously with AFS, volunteers do not need to record the interview, but should perform a follow-up visit in person once circumstances permit.

Once the host family application has been reviewed, AFS staff will return the Interview Form to volunteers so they can answer a new question at the bottom of the form, to be completed only once the follow-up has taken place.  Thus, volunteers will not need to submit a new Interview Form for the follow-up visit:

The returned Interview Form will remain in the volunteer’s Interview widget until the follow-up section has been completed. However this will not prevent the host family’s application from being accepted and transferred:

Please do not hesitate to contact your Hosting Program Specialist or AskAFS@afsusa.org with any questions. Thank you for your commitment to our host families and participants!