Who to contact when help is needed.
It is especially important to alert your liaison when problems are ongoing. This ensures that AFS- USA can keep the AFS office in your participant’s home country informed of these problems. The AFS office in your participant’s home country can discuss such problems with their parent(s)/guardian(s)s.
The Chain of Communication starts with contact between you and your liaison and ensures that all AFS parties fully understand any issues that arise. In order for parent(s)/guardian(s) to understand and accept decisions made by AFS-USA, the staff must report ahead of time how problems have developed and what efforts are being made to address them. The participant’s parent(s)/guardian(s) may also be able to provide helpful insight or guidance to AFS regarding the student. It is important to note, however, that AFS does not advise host parents to communicate directly with the participant’s parents, regarding adjustment concerns, as this could quickly escalate a situation due to language barriers and differences in communication.
Your AFS Liaison
Your AFS Liaison is a local volunteer, living no more than 120 miles from your home, who is dedicated to supporting you and your hosted participant. By serving as a sounding board and a personal resource, your liaison can help guide you through the cultural learning and adjustment that you and your hosted participant may experience. Your AFS Liaison may NOT be a member of your family or close friend. Additionally, your liaison may NOT be a teacher, coach, or school administrator in a position of authority over your hosted participant, to offer support from an objective perspective without conflict of interest.
Liaisons perform a very important support role for your hosted participant and as such will contact them and meet with them separately on regular occasions throughout the year. We ask that host families encourage and support these interactions as they serve the purpose of supporting the placement and promoting a positive hosting experience for everyone concerned.
Once a liaison has been assigned to you and your hosted participant, you will receive their contact information from your local volunteers. You may have the opportunity to meet your liaison before your hosted participant arrives, as some Area Teams arrange get-togethers for liaisons and host families prior to the arrival of the hosted participants.