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DEi homestay provider management procedure

Version number 3.3 | Version effective 23 December 2021
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DEi homestay provider management procedure

Audience

Department of Education International (DEi) staff, school staff, students, homestay providers, international partners, chaperones, parents/legal custodians of students and their agents.

Purpose

To ensure suitable homestay providers are available for DEi programs and to ensure homestay providers are well informed and supported.

Overview

This procedure outlines the roles and responsibilities of DEi staff, school staff, students, homestay providers and agents and the steps they follow to manage homestay provider arrangements.

DEi engage homestay providers for the International Student Programs (ISP), Study Tours and Global Programs. For ISP, students may nominate DEi to provide accommodation and welfare for the duration of their program. The Department of Home Affairs is notified of this arrangement as part of the student’s visa application process. Homestay providers only host two long-term students at any time.

DEi and schools are required to keep homestay providers well informed of the homestay requirements of the various DEi programs. Homestay providers are supported to provide students with a safe, caring and supportive home environment. DEi and schools regularly monitor the homestay arrangement and ensure any issues are dealt with quickly and effectively.

This procedure should be read in conjunction with the DEi recruit and on-board homestay procedure, DEi student homestay placement procedure, Conducting home visits procedure, Working with children authority procedure and DEi incident management procedure. For ISP, this procedure should also be read in conjunction with the Change of welfare – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure.

Responsibilities

DEi staff

  • provide advice and support to the school principal and school staff implementing this procedure
  • for Global Programs, provide updates to international partners regarding homestay provider management; monitor homestay arrangements and escalate issues; and exit homestay providers.

School staff

  • actively monitor blue card/exemption card status of adult residents in homestay
  • manage homestay arrangements, including to develop and maintain regular contact with homestay providers, DEi staff, students and agents/chaperones
  • initiate and facilitate temporary, permanent or emergency placement changes
  • maintain accurate and up-to-date blue card, study and homestay records, for example, homestay database and OneSchool.

Chaperone

  • maintain regular contact with school staff and/or DEi staff
  • escalate issues relating to homestay providers
  • comply with Study Tour or Global Program agreement.

Homestay provider

  • provide student with safe, caring and supportive home environment
  • comply with the ISP terms and conditions for homestay providers, applicable to the DEi program
  • notify DEi and school staff of any changes to contact details or changes to information supplied in the application and assessment process 
  • maintain regular contact with school and/or departmental staff
  • attend homestay provider information sessions
  • cooperate with school and/or departmental staff to arrange home visits
  • if concerned for the welfare of a student and unable to contact the student, make reasonable efforts to locate the student, including (but not limited to) notifying the school, Department, police and any other relevant Commonwealth or Queensland agency as soon as practicable.

School principal (or delegate)

  • oversee the implementation of this procedure in the school
  • approve emergency student placement changes
  • decide to suspend or cancel homestay providers’ registration
  • take action under the DEi incident management procedure or the Department of Education (DoE) Student protection procedure, where required.

Process

Process 1. Inform 2. Monitor 3. Escalate 4. Exit

Image 1 Homestay provider management process

1. Inform

DEi staff

  • organise homestay provider information sessions for all current and approved homestay providers to include:
    • updates to the program
    • expectations of students and providers
    • opportunity to meet other homestay families involved in the school’s homestay program
    • a reminder of the requirement of the DEi incident management procedure and the importance of immediately reporting if they suspect or become aware that any student in the homestay program has been harmed, is at risk of harm, or is likely to be harmed 
  • host timely information sessions for each DEi program
    • for ISP, information sessions to be held at least annually
    • for Study Tours and Global Programs, information sessions to be held prior to tour group arrival
  • assist homestay providers to understand their role and responsibilities and answer any queries.

2. Monitor

Communication

DEi and school staff

  • communicate with homestay providers regularly regarding student behaviour, wellbeing and homestay placement issues or concerns
    • for ISP, communicate with homestay providers regarding student attendance and course progress information
  • communicate with students regularly regarding their wellbeing and any issues or concerns regarding homestay placement, including providing information on how to seek assistance for and report an incident that significantly impacts on their wellbeing, including a critical incident: 
    • for Study Tours, communication is in conjunction with agent/chaperones
    • for Global Programs, communication is in conjunction with chaperones and/or DEi staff and/or international partners
  • follow-up on issues raised by the homestay provider or student (or agent/chaperone/parent/international partner), ensuring appropriate intervention is provided, for example:
    • discuss with the student and the homestay provider to obtain further information
    • discuss with parent/agent
    • discuss with the chaperone/international partner and DEi staff for students participating in a Study Tour or Global Program
    • refer the student to a school Guidance Officer/School Based Youth Health Nurse
    • assist the student to access other welfare-related support services
    • if the student or the homestay provider requests a change of placement and an emergency placement is not required, investigate and arrange mediation or counselling, or find an alternative placement
    • maintain accurate blue card, student and homestay records, for example, the homestay database and OneSchool
  • if a homestay provider has a homestay student placement, it should be confirmed in writing that the current residential address and contact information of the homestay provider is still accurate at least every six months
  • escalate where an issue is not resolved, such as blue card/exemption issues or for critical incidents or student protection issues
    • for ISP, report to the school principal
    • for Study Tours and Global Programs, report to the school principal and DEi staff.

Home visit

DEi and school staff

  • visit homestay providers at least once a year, at a mutually convenient/scheduled time
  • for reciprocal Global Programs, home visits are not required and only occur if concerns are raised
  • for ISP, complete the ISP homestay checklist – ongoing monitoring (DoE employees only) during home visit
    • request further information from the homestay provider where information was not available at the time of the home visit
  • for ISP, report to school principal for further advice/instruction if:
    • the accommodation provided by the homestay provider is not appropriate for the age and needs of a student in their care
    • a homestay provider does not comply with a request for further information
    • serious concerns are raised during home visit (including critical incident or student protection issues)
    • student has breached the ISP standard terms and conditions
    • a homestay provider has breached the ISP terms and conditions for homestay providers
  • for Study Tours, complete the checklist on the Study Tours homestay provider profile (document A) (DoE employees only)
  • for Study Tours and Global Programs, report to DEi staff for further advice/instruction if serious concerns are raised during home visit (including critical incident or student protection issues).

Bi-annual check (for ISP only)

School staff

  • conduct a bi-annual check of homestay providers six months after the annual home visit. This includes instances where a homestay provider has been approved, but a student has not been placed with them after six months:
    • arrange a telephone appointment or a face-to-face meeting preferably during school hours and at a mutually convenient/scheduled time
    • option to either email the ISP homestay checklist – ongoing monitoring (DoE employees only) to the homestay provider for completion prior to the meeting and for discussion during the meeting, or to complete the ISP homestay checklist – ongoing monitoring (DoE employees only) together during the meeting
    • request further information from homestay provider, if required
  • report to school principal for further advice/instruction if:
    • homestay provider does not comply with a request for further information
    • the accommodation provided by the homestay provider is not appropriate for the age and needs of a student in their care
    • serious concerns are raised during review (including critical incident or student protection issues)
    • the student has breached the ISP standard terms and conditions 
    • a homestay provider has breached the ISP terms and conditions for homestay providers
  • document homestay provider check on OneSchool as a record of contact (where a student is placed with the homestay provider) and update homestay database.

Blue cards

School staff

  • review the homestay database regularly (at least once a month) to see if blue card renewals or applications (for example, resident turning 18) need to be actioned by the homestay provider in the next two months (renewals can be made by the applicant up to 16 weeks prior to expiry date of current card)
  • follow the Working with children authority procedure to monitor blue card requirements
  • where a blue card or exemption card renewal or application is required, direct them to apply through Blue Card Services online
  • ensure the homestay provider is linked to the hosting school by submitting the Link a person to your organisation for Queensland State School employees or volunteers form (DoE employees only) to Blue Card Services
  • update homestay database with new or renewed card details, including the full name as it appears on the card and new expiry dates
  • direct the homestay provider to lodge a Change in police information notification form with Blue Card Services immediately, if advised by an adult resident that their police information has changed
  • notify school principal (and DEi staff for Global Programs):
    • where an adult resident’s blue card or exemption card renewal hasn’t been submitted to Blue Card Services prior to expiry

School principal

DEi staff

3. Escalate

School principal (or delegate)

  • investigate homestay issues and decide on action, for example:
    • direct school staff to continue to work with the homestay provider until satisfied that concerns have been appropriately addressed, breaches have been remedied and will not reoccur or mandatory information has been supplied
    • for Study Tours, direct school staff to address concerns and resolve issues in conjunction with agent/chaperone and DEi staff
    • direct school staff to work with student and other relevant school staff until satisfied concerns have been appropriately addressed
    • for ISP, take action under the Ongoing enrolment – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure for unsatisfactory behaviour, if student has breached the ISP standard terms and conditions
    • approve a change of the student’s placement
    • for ISP, approve student’s request to change their homestay placement where less than two weeks written notice is being given to a homestay provider, only where the student provides payment in lieu of notice to their current homestay provider and also pays homestay fees to the new homestay provider (except where an emergency change of placement is required)
    • approve an emergency change of placement
    • notify DEi that the school can no longer provide homestay for student (for ISP see the Change of welfare – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure)
    • suspend or cancel homestay provider’s registration, for example, where the homestay provider:
      • no longer has a valid blue card or exemption card
      • has breached the ISP terms and conditions for homestay providers
      • no longer meets the criteria for a suitable home residence
      • where issues raised have been confirmed as a cause for concern  
    • take action under the DEi incident management procedure or the DoE Student protection procedure, where required
  • notify school staff that a homestay provider’s registration is suspended or cancelled and direct school staff (or DEi staff for Global Programs) to move student to another homestay, refer to the DEi student homestay placement procedure
  • for homestay provider suspensions:
    • direct school staff to investigate further and report their findings with a recommendation for further action (cancellation, reinstatement, working with the homestay provider to remedy a breach)
    • decide what further action will be taken, based on recommendation/s from school staff (or DEi staff for Global Programs)
    • decide whether a student should be returned to a homestay where a homestay provider’s registration is reinstated.

DEi staff

  • for reciprocal Global Programs, investigate homestay issues and decide on action, for example:
    • direct staff to continue to work with the matching homestay provider until satisfied concerns have been appropriately addressed, any breach has been remedied and will not reoccur, or further information has been supplied
    • work with the student, school, matching homestay provider and international partners until satisfied concerns have been appropriately addressed
    • change student placements
    • approve emergency change of placement
    • suspend or cancel homestay arrangement, for example, where the homestay provider:
      • no longer has a valid blue card or exemption card
      • has breached the ISP terms and conditions for homestay providers
      • no longer meets the criteria for a suitable home residence
      • where issues raised have been confirmed as a cause for concern  
    • take action under the DEi incident management procedure or the DoE Student protection procedure, where required
    • notify all stakeholders that a homestay arrangement is suspended or cancelled and direct staff to move student to another homestay, refer to the DEi student homestay placement procedure
  • for ISP, notify the Department of Home Affairs within 24 hours if DEi is no longer able to approve the student's welfare arrangements
  • for homestay provider suspensions:
    • direct staff to investigate further and report their findings with a recommendation for further action (cancellation, reinstatement, working with the homestay provider to remedy a breach)
    • decide what further action will be taken, based on recommendation/s from all stakeholders
    • decide whether an student should be returned to a homestay.

School staff

  • notify homestay provider that their registration is suspended or cancelled
  • follow school principal directions (or DEi staff for Global Programs) to change the student’s homestay placement, refer to the DEi student homestay placement procedure
  • notify international partner and change the student’s homestay placement, if required
  • investigate the situation, recognising that there will be sensitive situations that must be treated carefully and confidentially to avoid further risk to student privacy, safety and wellbeing
  • report findings to school principal (or DEi staff for Global Programs), regarding a suspended registration, with a recommendation for further action (cancellation, reinstatement, working with the homestay provider to remedy a breach)
  • action school principal’s (or DEi staff for Global Programs) decision regarding a homestay provider’s suspended registration:
    • for cancellation, refer to Exit process, amend homestay register and notify the homestay provider
    • work with homestay provider to remedy the breach and report to school principal (or DEi staff for Global Programs) with a recommendation for further action
  • notify the homestay provider, the student and their parent/agent or international partner of decision regarding whether student can return to the homestay
  • facilitate return of the student to the homestay, if required.

4. Exit

Homestay provider initiated exit

Homestay provider

DEi staff and school staff

  • acknowledge homestay provider’s request to exit program by confirming, in writing, the request has been received
  • identify reason homestay provider wishes to exit the program
  • relocate student to a new homestay family, if required – refer to DEi student homestay placement procedure to enact a placement change
  • attempt to mediate and resolve issues homestay provider may have (if appropriate/applicable, depending on the situation), prior to finalising exit from the homestay program
  • conduct exit interview with homestay provider to discuss their experience as a homestay provider
  • reconcile and finalise homestay payments, where homestay payments are part of the arrangement
  • update homestay database to reflect that homestay provider has exited the homestay program
    • for ISP, update OneSchool and international student management system
  • determine if the homestay provider will be volunteering at the school once they have exited the homestay program:

School or DEi initiated exit

Where it has been decided to cancel the homestay provider registration:

DEi staff and school staff

Definitions

Term

Definition

Agent

Education agent registered with EQI to recruit students for EQI programs.

Chaperone

Bilingual English-speaking tour escort who is an accompanying adult or teacher that supervises and travels with the study tour group.

Department of Education International (DEi)

The international branch of the Department of Education and employees of DEi.

DEi’s trading name is Education Queensland International (EQI).

DEi Program

A program offered by a DEi business unit including: International Student Programs, Study Tours and Professional Visits, and Global Programs, including but not limited to: Primary School program; High School program; International Baccalaureate; High School. Preparation; Study tours; Short term immersion programs and exchanges; and reciprocal exchanges.

Delegate

Is a classified officer (Heads of Department, Deputy Principals and Principals) nominated by the principal who is authorised to make some International Student Program decisions on behalf of the school principal.

Global Programs

Inbound and outbound programs delivered by the Global Engagement Unit, DEi, which offer participants the opportunity to develop their global competence by exploring new cultures and experience new learnings. Students participating in Global Programs are in Australia on visa subclass 600 (visitor).

Homestay

Homestay is accommodation services offered by a family, a couple or a single person where food and shelter and a safe, caring and supportive home environment is provided to a Student. Homestay is arranged by schools and/or DEi staff.

For International Student Programs: student accommodation arranged by schools; where DEi is responsible for the welfare of the student at all times, including outside school hours.

Homestay database

The database used by schools to record all information regarding the homestay arrangement.

Homestay provider

Homestay provider is a family, a couple or a single person who is approved by DEi or schools to host students in their home.

For Study Tours a homestay provider is also known as a Host Family.

For Global Programs this includes families involved in reciprocal exchanges.

Home visit

When employees visit the home of a member of the school/local community, to assess the home and applicants (and other household members) as appropriate candidates as a Homestay Provider.

International Partners

Education department of organisation through which short-term immersion programs and exchanges are delivered, under international Memorandums of Understanding with DEi.

International Student Programs (ISP)

A study pathway offered to Students to fulfil their academic potential, develop new skills and achieve personal goals in a way that suits their individual needs. International Student Programs includes: Primary School, High School, International Baccalaureate, and High School Preparation.

OneSchool

A comprehensive program to help Queensland State Schools manage key teaching and school administrative activities. Its features cover a wide range of school operations (DoE employees only).

Overseas student

Student in Australia on visa subclass 500 (schools sector) enrolled in an EQI course.

Parent

Natural parent or legal custodian.

School

For International Student Programs: Queensland state schools accredited by DEi to deliver international student programs.

For Study Tours: Queensland state schools accredited to deliver study tours.

For Global Programs: Queensland state schools and non-state schools.

School staff

Employees of schools with responsibilities to support international students. For example – International student coordinator, Homestay coordinator, Head of department, Deputy principal. Accredited Officer (Study tours).

Staff

Employees of the Department of Education and includes: School staff and DEi staff (for example, Project Officer, Global Engagement Unit).

Employees of non-state schools partnered with DEi to deliver Global Programs.

Student

For International Student Programs: Overseas student enrolled in an EQI course.

For Study Tours: Student in Australia on a visa subclass 600 (visitor) participating in a group Study Tour program.

For Global Programs: Student in Australia on a visa subclass 600 (visitor) participating in Global Programs.

Study Tours

Short term commercial programs for groups of students to visit Queensland state primary and secondary schools, to enrich their learning and cultural experiences. Student groups are accompanied by adult tour chaperones. Students participating in Study tours are in Australia on visa subclass 600 (visitor).

Legislation

Delegations/Authorisations

  • Nil

Other resources

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.

2.1 Ongoing monitoring of homestay providers and placements procedure

2.1 Exiting homestay provider procedure

3.0 DEi homestay provider management procedure

Review date

24 January 2023
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