My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for EF High School Exchange Year, Cambridge, MA, USA
September 16, 2017
I am a local IEC in the _______, Ok area. Recently, I raised a concern to the local, regional coordinator by the name of Rose _______ about a student by the name of ___who was placed in _________, OK. Although my statement about the alleged inappropriate touch that the student shared with my husband James and I was forwarded in a separate email, I am writing today regarding my concern of how this crisis was mishandled. Repeatedly, my husband James and I informed Allison _______of our concerns regarding our safety of going to the _____ family home to pick up the student's belongings. Our concerns were, and I’m sure one would agree that with James and I initially reporting the alleged inappropriate abuse we did not feel comfortable going into an environment in which we reported the allegations.
When reports are made to Child Protective Services (CPS) the person who reports the abuse typically remain anonymous, and their identity is often concealed. Although a protocol is in place to contact CPS for allegations such as the ones in which _____ reported, what is in place to ensure that families are trained on how to de-escalate and manage such crises? Despite our best efforts of expressing our concerns with Allison, we felt as though our concerns were not valued. Moreover, we felt an enormous amount of pressure to go to the host families home despite our concerns and reported concerns from the student to pick up the student's belongings that were left. As host parents turned IEC's, we do not receive compensation for opening our homes to these students. However, to feel as though our concerns regarding safety is not of concern to EF High School Exchange is deeply troublesome.
I recently mentioned safety in the previous paragraph, allow me to further elaborate on this point. Allison informed my husband from New Jersey (according to the caller identification) that when he gets to the _____ home to call her ten minutes prior so that she can be on the phone with Mr. ____ in the event, he had questions about the student leaving. However, the day prior Allison was made aware that this location typically has limited cell phone coverage. I am requesting that someone explain how is calling and being on the phone beneficial in such instances? Does EF High School Exchange not collaborate with local organizations or include as part of their training a crisis intervention hotline that is staffed with personnel who are trained to assist and help coordinate the appropriate personnel to go into the residence in which the abuse took place?
Overall, my family felt abandoned during this process. We further felt as though our duty of reporting put us in a potentially hostile situation and further made us lose confidence in this program. To ensure my husband’s safety of obtaining _____ items I contacted the local law enforcement authorities (Deputy Michael _____) to assist in the retrieval of her belongings. Due to the nature of the concern, the deputy felt as though additional backup may be needed.
As I conclude, Allison asked James, and I if we felt as though Mr. ______ would become violent as if we were fully capable of answering this question. Let me say that despite the program’s best efforts of screening people, there are still character traits that are not screened and that no test can account for. Now that this issue has been brought to your awareness, what plans will you put in place to ensure that no family will undergo the feeling of being isolated and alone to handle such issues? Host Parents need to be reassured that everyone involved with EF High School Exchange program is of concern. Not just the student.
I look forward to working with you in the future about the issues outlined in this correspondence.
Note all names and locations have been forwarded to higher authorities and are listed in the original email