The Department of State has proposed to amend and improve the Exchange Visitor Program regulations by providing greater specificity and clarity to sponsors of the Secondary School Student category with respect to the execution of sponsor oversight responsibilities under the exchange visitor programs. The Department is proposing to amend existing regulations regarding the screening, selection, school enrollment, orientation, and monitoring of overall quality assurance on behalf of student participants; and the screening, selection, orientation, and quality assurance monitoring of host families.
This program is recognized as one of the Department's most valued exchange initiatives. The Department believes, however, that the lack of sufficient specificity in the regulations or lack of suitable, minimum industry standards may have contributed to the placement of students with unacceptable, or poorly screened, host families thereby putting at risk the health, safety and well-being of this most vulnerable group of exchange visitors. The Department also recognizes that local coordinators, who serve as representatives (employees or volunteers) of the Secondary School Student sponsors and who have responsibility for obtaining school enrollment and locating and recruiting host families, are the critical link to a successful exchange program.
Local coordinators exercise a degree of independent judgment when determining whether a potential host family is capable of providing a comfortable and nurturing home environment for a Secondary School Student, whether that family is an appropriate match for the student, and whether they have adequate financial resources to undertake hosting obligations. Accordingly, the Department proposes the adoption of an annual testing and certification program for all local and regional coordinators that will entail, inter alia, specifying more clearly the Department's regulatory requirements as well as all sponsoring organization specific training required by the organization for whom the local and regional coordinators work.
DATES: The Department will accept comments
from the public up to February 22, 2010.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by any of
the following methods:
Persons with access to the Internet may view this notice
and provide comments by going to the regulations.gov Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/index.cfm.
Mail (paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions): U.S. Department of State, Office of Designation, SA-5, Floor 5, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20522-0505.
E-mail: JExchanges@state.gov. You must include the title and RIN in the subject line of your message.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, YOU MAY CONTACT: Stanley S. Colvin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchanges, U.S. Department of State, SA-5, Floor 5, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20522-0505; or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.