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AHN Critical Incident Response Protocols




Specific responses to any of the incidents below should be documented on the critical incident report form. Review the specific response required for each category. Responses assume notification of incident by 24/7 hotline, student, host or other associated party.

The AHN hotline (866.999.9076) should be contacted when AHN homestay managers determine that a critical incident has occurred. This will allow AHN executive management to be paged appropriately.

Host families are not the legal guardians for participants nor are they legally responsible for the participant they host. The host family-participant relationship is legally termed a “host-guest” relationship. This means that host families are expected to give due care to participants but are not legally responsible for them. Natural families always have the final say on matters that affect their children.

1. Death of a student

  • Collect all necessary data from reporting person on death of student form
  • Contact AHN CEO or senior VP or duty officer if after hours
  • Senior executives should contact family, educational institution and agent
  • personally
  • Continue follow-up and record all conversations
  • Inventory personal effects, send to natural parents, copy to office\ host family

2. Death of a close family member

  • Collect all information and report all details to AHN office or duty officer if after hours
  • AHN corporate office should verify details
  • Contact host family (or agent) and ask them to inform student or await natural family input as to how student should be informed of death
  • If natural family wants to wait to inform (or agent) student until after funeral, corporate executives should contact natural family
  • One way or round trip transportation is arranged by agent or parent if necessary.

3. Attempted suicide

  • Confirm that medical attention has been received for student
  • Collect all information and report all details to AHN office or duty officer
  • Any direct or indirect statements from the participant should be taken at full value. Obtain emergency medical services. Consult with AHN office or duty officer if after hours
  • Monitor the need for counselling and maintain contact with those who may need ongoing support

4. Life threatening illness or accident

  • Confirm that host or other person has arranged for emergency care; ambulance or travel to emergency room
  • Contact AHN management through hotline support
  • AHN management to contact natural parents immediately with information with contact information on hospital, attending physician, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment

5. Rape or physical assault

  • Determine if medical care is required or if student is in a safe place
  • Report cases of assault immediately to AHN corporate or duty officer
  • Arrange medical attention
  • Arrange rape counseling services
  • Inform police if student is a minor; or assist student with police contact
  • Assist with informing police if student requests
  • Monitor the need for counselling and maintain contact with those who may need ongoing support

6. Sexual molestation\harassment in home

These incidents are often more ambiguous than sexual assault and require investigation by AHN staff. When reported, the staff member to whom it is reported should in turn report it to AHN management. It is important to remain calm and non-judgmental, but to acknowledge and accept that the participant’s emotional reaction to the situation is valid, and requires investigation.       

  • Take information from student and ask for them to wait for a call from AHN 
  • Remove the student from the situation immediately.
  • Have the student interviewed (preferably by a person of the same gender) to assess whether there was a misinterpretation of events or whether there was an actual and intended impropriety.
  • Consult with management on appropriate actions pending the outcome of the participant’s interview.
  • Ensure confidentiality of all information regarding the incident for the protection of the AHN participant, host family member.
  • NOTE: AFS may need to report suspected cases of abuse to local authorities depending on state law.
  • Monitor the need for counselling and maintain contact with those who may need ongoing support

7.  Student in legal trouble

If a student is arrested or gets into legal trouble, contact the AHN corporate staff or duty officer immediately, so that they can contact the natural family or agent. It is the natural family’s decision if AHN should assist in procuring legal counsel. AHN will not directly hire or pay for this legal counsel – this is the sole responsibility of the natural family.

It should be kept in mind that an individual whom the police seek to interrogate has the right to have legal counsel present during the interrogation and also has the right to remain silent during such interrogation.

8. Mental health crisis

To be determined by AHN manager on a case by case basis

9. Drug or alcohol overdose

To be determined by AHN manager on a case by case basis

10. Fire/explosion with injuries or significant damage

To be determined by AHN manager on a case by case basis

11. Natural disasters (local and international), international hostage situation, chemical/radiation, bio-hazard spillage, infectious disease

  • Respond to natural parents as soon as possible with factual information
  • Students should remain with host families and not leave home
  • Regional offices should contact hosts and students for status update
  • Identify and report any student or family about whom you do not have information and actions you are taking to secure this information
  • Need student and family communication plan and methodology-IVY talk

12. Student was not picked up from airport on arrival.

  • Contact AHN limo partner for immediate dispatch or homestay manager should pickup student if situation demands.
  • Confirm arrival at host home