Concerned about your child’s safety?

So are we! CISV takes the safety of its participants very seriously. It is ultimately up to the delegate and/or parents to decide whether they feel comfortable attending or sending their child to a program. Here is some information that should help you feel comfortable to send your child on a CISV program. See Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada's Travel Reports and Warnings. Please contact us for more information.

CISV manages risk by being pro-active. Rather than waiting for something to occur, CISV take steps in advance to reduce the risk of incidents occurring. Despite these precautions, we acknowledge situations arise and unexpected events may occur. We prepare by establishing procedures to follow if necessary. As an international association, CISV exists in over 60 countries. It must therefore observe the laws of Great Britain, where we are headquartered, as well as the laws of jurisdictions where the program is being hosted.

Read more to find out about our chapter's past experiences in "risky" locations and how CISV ensures your child's safety through planning, screening and training.

CISV Ottawa has sent delegations to Columbia, Guatemala, Brazil and Israel (countries that some people might consider as risky) with no incidents and lots of good experiences. The local CISVers understand the issues in their countries and are very diligent about ensuring their guests' safety and comfort. The feedback from our delegates and their parents has been that safety was always considered and they were not concerned for their well-being. The local CISVers understand the security threats and realities in their countries and are very diligent about ensuring their guests’ safety and comfort. The increase in security precautions can often be eye-opening for our youth and can be a source of much cross-cultural learning. For instance, when our interchange delegates toured city hall in Bogota, Columbia they were accompanied by an armed guard. The hosts' homes all had security gates and armed guards. They were in Columbia for the national day of kidnap victims and saw their messages to family members televised all day. This provoked much discussion.

CISV program hosts are generally parents themselves and take the responsibility of hosting children/youth very seriously. They will be the first to cancel a CISV activity if it is not safe.

All adults with whom your child will interact have been screened and trained. All adults interacting with youth in a supervisory role (i.e. staff, leaders, host and interchange family members or chapter members at sleepover events) must pass a criminal record check (or the equivalent in that country). Families hosting interchanges or home must also pass a home inspection by the local CISV organization. All program leaders and staff receive intensive local and national CISV training as well as first aid training. Interchange delegates and families will correspond with their partners before the program to clarify expectations about the experience (health concerns, supervision, eating habits, typical daily life in the family, cultural considerations, dealing with homesickness, etc.).

All CISV facilities are expected to meet CISV and local public health standards.

CISV International officials visit the site for countries hosting their first CISV program. For experienced hosting countries, local CISV officials make inspection visits if requested.

If there are security concerns in a country where a program is planned, CISV relies on its people on the spot to give a realistic assessment of the situation and to provide information on precautions to be taken. CISV trusts its local organisers to take all reasonable steps to create as safe a program environment as possible. Local organizers in each country are very sensitive to people’s concerns and understand that people need to feel confident of the organisers’ grasp of the situation and their ability to respond to it. CISV Ottawa delegations can register with the Canadian embassy if a program is taking place in a country with higher risk. Should there be an emergency, be it military or a natural disaster, embassies will assist their citizens in the host country. In the event of such a terrible situation, parents and the sending Chapter can also be in contact with the embassy for any news of the region. See the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada's list of Canadian Offices Abroad.

Read here for information about Ecuador.

CISV will cancel a program if it feels that the risk is too high. Ultimately, however, whether or not a program goes ahead, it is the decision of the parents/participants whether to participate or not.