Youth-Adult Housing Policy for 4-H Overnight Events
“Keeping Kids Safe!” – To help ensure the safety and well-being of both youth and adults involved with Michigan 4‑H, the “Youth-Adult Housing Policy for 4‑H Overnight Events” was developed. This mandatory policy went into effect on January 1, 2008, and it applies to any Michigan 4-H sponsored state-. regional, multicounty, county-, or club-level event where adults are housed with youth.
Several resources have been developed to assist 4-H staff in implementing the policy and in educating others about the policy:
- Before any young person attends an overnight 4‑H event, his or her parent or legal guardian must sign and return the 4-H Overnight Housing Parent/Guardian Permission Form. 4-H staff can use this form as a template for a stand-alone form, or they can integrate this information into existing forms. This form will be integrated into forms used for state-level events.
- When 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds are attending an event and there’s a chance they might be housed with or share bathrooms with younger youth, they must go through a background check including one reference check and a criminal history check. Staff can use the MSU Extension Background Check Form for 18-, 19- and 20-Year Olds to obtain a youth’s permission for a background check and for providing reference information. Note that the reverse side of this form can be used to document the findings from the criminal history check and the feedback received from reference check(s).
- Adults enlisted as chaperones for 4-H events must be provided with information outlining the expectations and guidelines for this role before the event. See Guidelines for Supporting 4-H Chaperones and the 4-H Event Chaperone Responsibilities Handout for more information.
- Many 4-H volunteers have questions about how the policy applies to 4-H club overnight activities. The Volunteer Handout for 4-H Club Overnight Activities can be shared with volunteers to explain their responsibilities related to following the policy, communicating overnight plans with others and making specific overnight lodging arrangements.
- The Keeping Kids Safe! The Michigan 4-H Youth Development Youth-Adult Housing Policy Handout is designed to provide volunteers, parents and guardians, community partners and others with an overview of the policy and issues related to child well-being and child sexual abuse. This brief guide also includes ideas adults can use to educate kids about these issues.
- The Keeping Kids Safe! The Michigan 4-H Youth Development Youth-Adult Housing Policy PowerPoint presentation provides a short program for educating volunteers, parents and guardians, community partners and others about the policy and issues related to child well-being and child sexual abuse. The notes pages of the document provide talking points for staff to use. The handout described above provides a useful complement to provide to those viewing the PowerPoint show.
- If you are interested in the process that was used to create this policy, refer to the Overview of the Process Used for Developing the Youth-Adult Housing Policy.
- A “Keeping Kids Safe!” bookmark is also available for staff to use to provide volunteers and others with a brief description of the Youth-Adult Overnight Housing Policy and a link to the policy website. Both a color version and a black-and-white version of the bookmark are available for staff to print.
- 4-H staff members should also closely read the Frequently Asked Questions to gain a clear understanding of how the policy applies to various situations and settings.
For other 4-H housing-related questions, contact:
Jacob DeDecker, Associate State Leader