Quick-Start Training #1: Host Family Recruitment & Student Placement

Part 4: Making a Placement: Connecting Host Family, Student & School

So... you have a family who is interested in hosting!  How do you turn this into a full placement... a happy host family, happy student, (not to mention, the placement fee of $200 in your bank account!)?  Here's a step-by-step overview.  You'll go into more detail on some of these steps in the next section, which covers our online application system.  

  1. Initial Host Family Contact     A family indicates interest in hosting.  EPC gathers all contact info and as much info as possible on their preferences;
  2. Initial School Contact    EPC contacts school official to let them know a family in their district is interested in hosting, and to make sure the school will give permission to enroll a student;
  3. Start ZAPP Procedure   EPC contacts Team Leader for assistance in sending host family links to the applications of compatible students, and a link where they can begin their Host Family application;
  4. Host Family Follow-Up   EPC contacts family to ensure they received the links, and schedules a home visit with the family at a time when all family members will be home;
  5. Host Family Visit   For the home visit, EPC brings a copy of the Confidential Interview questions, and a copy of the Signature Form to be completed at the home visit, and a camera to take photos of the student’s bedroom & bathroom, the kitchen, main living area, and the outside of the home;
  6. EPC ZAPP Tasks   EPC completes Telephone Reference checks, Confidential Interview and Placement Confirmation Form, and uploads the photos into the Host Family application;
  7. Finalize School   Once family has selected a student, EPC re-contacts school to complete & sign the High School Authorization Form;
  8. Complete the Placement   Once family has completed the host family application, EPC submits the online application, High School Authorization Form & Signature Form to the Team Leader.  

The placement is now complete!  You will receive your $200 placement fee in the mail, and the host family and student can start communicating.

A few notes:

Students who play a sport may not live with a high school coach of that sport, nor may students be placed based on athletic ability.  In the past, there have been problems with high schools recruiting student athletes from overseas for the primary purpose of bettering a school sports team, so now the U.S. Department of State and most state high school athletic associations have strict rules against this.  

Student applications are often being viewed by multiple families!  SHARE! operates a system of "holds" for each student - a waiting list where an EPC has about 3 days in which they have first dibs on a student.  A spreadsheet of students' names and their holds is emailed to you at the close of business each day.  It's important to 1) Let your Team Leader know when you have a family looking at a student; 2) Consider how many families are looking at a student before you send them to a prospective host family 3) Urge the family to make a decision on a student as quickly as possible.  If you have a confirmed placement with a family & high school, you will jump to the top of the list as soon as the current hold has expired, even if there is a long list of holds.

There are some situations in which students & their natural parents are asked to approve a placement before it is confirmed.  We LOVE placements of all shapes and sizes, but want to be sure the student and their natural parents have appropriate, enthusiastic expectations for their stay in the U.S. These situations include:

  • Placement with a single host parent with no children;
  • Placement of two students from different countries in one host family (called a double placement);
  • Placement with a gay or lesbian couple;
  • Placement in a private school that charges tuition