Risk Managementfor 4-H Youth Development Programs Presented by: Judy Butterfield, Central District Regional Specialized 4-H Agent III
What is Risk Management? • The process used to identify potential risks of injury or loss and to take appropriate steps to reduce or eliminate the risks. • Is Pro-active instead of Re-active. • To take as much control of the situation as possible for reducing and eliminating risks – have a plan in place. • Everything involves a certain amount of risk.
What is Risk Management? • Risk may take a variety of forms * Physical – risk of bodily harm to participants. * Reputation – Risk of others losing confidence and/or trust in organization. * Emotional –Risk of participants feeling upset, uncomfortable, embarrassed, etc. * Financial – any risk associated with money.
Risk Management and Youth Programming • Important to plan for the unexpected as much as possible. * consider the risks * develop a risk management plan that includes a strategy to address each risk
Risk Management Strategies • Reduce the risk – removing risks or hazards – becomes a major focus. • Avoid the risk – avoiding the risk entirely. • Transfer the risk – pass the responsibility to someone else. • Assume the risk – knowing risks are involved and accepting them.
Risk Management Review • Communicate the information. • Monitor the risk management plan. • Evaluate the plan & make changes to reduce further risks.
Special Risk Management Areas • Transportation • Size of van matters – 7-12 passenger acceptable. • Driver must be at least 18 years of age with valid license and liability insurance. • Personal insurance is primary when in personal vehicles. • Must have seat belts for all passengers. • Be aware of specific county policies.
Special Risk Management Areas • Transportation (cont’d) • Drivers must be screened. • Participation forms on all youth with driver.
Special Risk Management Areas • Overnight Educational Coordinators • One adult to 8 youth if ages 8-10. • Youth and adults do not share the same room. • Lifeguards must be certified by American Red Cross and at least 15 years of age. • One lifeguard for every 25 people. • Two female adult chaperones to check the rooms of male youth participants.
Special Risk Management Areas • Overnight Experiences (cont-d) • Volunteers have been screened and appointed • Have been trained in ages and stages of youth • Have been trained in policies and procedures and expectation – clear definition of role • Camp Counselors are to be 14 years of age • Down time supervision is important for safety
Liability “No officer, employee, or agent of the state or any of its subdivisions shall be held personally liable in tort…for any injury or damage suffered as a result of any act, event, or omission of action in the scope of his employment or function, unless such officer, employee, or agent acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property.” Section 768.28(8)(a), Florida Statutes
Criminal or Civil Liability Criminal – Abuse, exploitation, financial Civil – Contracts and Torts Contracts – Volunteers are not authorized to sign contracts on behalf of the county or university. Such liability is not protected through official immunity. Tort – A civil wrong consisting of an act of omission.
Liability Activity Situation: 4-H club outing to the beach Members: four are 5-7, eleven are ages 8-10, nine are ages 11-13, and two are ages 14-18. Adults: club leader, one other parent so far Travel: by school bus Other: only one adult can swim
What Do I Do…….? • Never admit liability at time of occurrence. • Notify 4-H Agent or CED. • Only talk about the facts – there is no “off the record”. • Identify witnesses, preserve physical evidence. • Make a written record of what happened. • Take steps to prevent re-occurrence.
Who is a Volunteer? • A volunteer is any person who, of his or her own free will, provides services to the University (and its programs) with no monetary compensation, on a continuous, occasional, or one-time basis. Rules of the University of Florida, 6CI-3.0031 (1b)
Who is a Volunteer? • An adult volunteer – anyone age 18 or over – must be 21 years of age to serve as an Overnight Educational Coordinator. • Any teen volunteer between the ages of 14-19. • “All volunteers shall be at least 14 years of age”. UF Rules 6CI-3.0031 (3a)
Who is a Volunteer? • Adults who work with youth should be a responsible role model. • Understands that protecting 4-H youth is the number one priority – thus the reason behind the background checks & interviews. • It is a privilege to serve as a Florida 4-H Youth Development volunteer. • Have important role in maintaining a safe environment and a sense of belonging within 4-H groups and the organization. • The Adult Agreement form is to be signed annually.
Behavior Guidelines for 4-H Volunteers working with Youth • Treat others in a courteous, respectful manner demonstrating behaviors appropriate to a positive role model for youth. • Obey the laws of the locality, state & nation. • Recognize the verbal and/or physical abuse and/or neglect is unacceptable in 4-H & report suspected abuse to authorities.
Behavior Guidelines (cont’d) • Make all reasonable efforts to ensure that 4-H youth programs are accessible to youth without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, religion, or disability. • Do not participate in or condone neglect or abuse which happens to 4-H youth outside the program – report abuse to proper authorities. • Treat animals humanely and teach 4-H youth to provide appropriate animal care.
Behavior Guidelines (cont’d) • Operate motor vehicles in a safe and reliable manner when working with 4-H youth, and only with a valid license and the legally required insurance coverage. • Do not consume alcohol or illegal substances while responsible for youth involved in 4-H events and activities; nor allow youth under your supervision to do so.
Confidentially • Sensitive Information • Medical • Insurance • Financial • Other?
How Do I Put Safety First? • Plan: have a plan of action, an agenda of activities. • Anticipate: think ahead, visualize what might happen, review the schedule for potential problems. • Prepare: have what you need, have enough adult help, etc. • Review: are there policies or procedures established to follow?
How Do I Put Safety First? • Review: participation forms, parental permission, codes of conduct, out of county travel form, insurance? • Understand: the readiness and willingness of your youth.
Working with 5-7 Year Olds • Florida 4-H rules prohibit youth ages 5-7 from enrolling or participating in large animal projects and shooting sports projects. Large animals include beef, dairy, goat, horse, llama, sheep, & swine. • This includes participating in or riding in 4-H horse shows. • Not allowed to participate in competitive events.
Establishing Safe Environments • Work in open spaces • No locked doors • Do not lodge 1 adult with unrelated youth • Respect privacy • Minimum 1 adult for every 8 youth ages 8-10 • Be alert to physical, emotional health • Intervene, if there is possible danger • Never use physical punishment, or withhold basic needs
Conflict of Interest • Volunteers shall not promote private or personal interests in conjunction with the performance of duties. • Volunteers will not conduct market research or solicit, persuade, or coerce any individual to make a purchase that will result in the personal gain of the volunteer. • Volunteers will not disclose or use confidential information obtained as a result of the volunteer’s association with the Florida
Conflict of Interest Cooperative Extension for the personal gain or advantage of the volunteer’s employer or anyone else. • Volunteers will do nothing that can be reasonably construed as a conflict of interest with the Florida Cooperative Extension Programs.
Expectations • Faculty(state employees) or volunteers in the 4-H program are expected to act in good faith to reduce all possible risks that affect the well being of program participants. • “Each person wishing to become a volunteer shall furnish to the appropriate department/operational unit such personal and professional information as may be necessary for determination of his/her suitability as a volunteer. The dept./operational unit seeking volunteer services shall be responsible for the screening and selection of volunteers.” Rules of University of Florida, 6CI-3.00031 (3a)
Extension Staff Must • Submit background check on volunteers • Check 3 references • Conduct interview • Treat all equal • Send letter to potential volunteer regarding status of application • Provide orientation & educational resources to volunteers • Keep all information confidential, in locked files
Questions? Resources: “Risk Management for 4-H Youth Development Work” – draft – Dale Pracht, 2007, “Selecting Volunteers and Establishing Safe Environment, Marilyn Lesmeister, 2005, William Heltemes, Volunteer Training, 1999.