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New 4-H Youth Protection Policy in Place

Volunteer helping 4-H'er learn how to make jelly

4-H Volunteers strive to provide safe and secure learning environments.

 

From time to time new laws regarding youth protection are considered by federal and/or state lawmakers.  As these new laws and regulations are passed their effects are wide-felt, and often they reach into the 4-H program.  One such federal regulation on youth protection was recently passed, and while the new protection that it affords our youth is much welcomed, it does mean that 4-H volunteers will be seeing some changes in their county’s volunteer screening procedures.

 

 

 

What are the major changes?

  • All club leaders must be “435 Level 2” screened.  This means you will be fingerprinted.
  • All volunteers who work with youth 10 hours or more in a month, even if they are not club leaders, will be “435 Level 2 screened.  This means you will be fingerprinted.
  • All camp counselors will be “435 Level 2” screened.
  • All volunteers working directly with youth will be “Level 1” screened regardless of the number of hours spent with youth.  This means you will be background checked, but may not fingerprinted.

What can new and existing volunteers expect?

  • Existing volunteers may have completed some of these steps under our former system for volunteer screening.  They will be asked to complete the steps that are new.  New potential volunteers will need to complete each of the following steps in order before they should work directly with youth.
    • 435 Level 2 screening:
      • Register in 4HOnline (http://florida.4honline.com)
      • Interview with your 4-H agent (Your 4-H agent will also obtain at least two letters of reference.)
      • Complete the online youth protection training (YCS800)
      • Return a notarized Affidavit of Good Moral Character to your 4-H agent
      • Schedule livescan finger printing (Your 4-H agent will help you with this.)
      • Be finger printed for 435 Level 2 screening
      • Receive a letter of appointment from your 4-H agent
    • Level 1 screening
      • Register in 4HOnline (http://florida.4honline.com)
      • Interview with your 4-H agent (Your 4-H agent will also obtain at least two letters of reference.)
      • Complete the online youth protection training (YCS800)
      • Be background screened (Your 4-H agent will complete the screening.)
      • Receive a letter of appointment from your 4-H agent
  • The new policy also places an emphasis on accurate and timely record keeping, so your agent may require additional training on this subject.

This policy is new for agents and volunteers alike, so please be patient with your local extension office as they try to work as quickly and efficiently as possible to get all of their volunteer screenings up-to-date.

A copy of the new UF/IFAS Youth Protection Policy can be found at:  http://florida4h.org/volunteers/risk_management/files/Youth_Protection.pdf*

*The official policy takes precedence over any discrepancies which may be found in this article.