Service Learning Network

Risk Assessment

Prior to initiating a service learning course, it is important to consider the various factors of the service activities that may entail risk.

•What are the potential risks to service-learners of having contact with agency clients? For example, are clients likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol? What policies and procedures are in place at the agency to protect their staff, volunteers and service-learners from risks due to contact with agency clients? Will students ever work unsupervised with clients?

•What are the potential risks to service-learners of traveling to and from their homes, the campus, and the agency? For example, what is the rate of various crimes in the immediate and general vicinities of the agency? How and during what times of day will students travel to and from the campus, their homes and their service-learning sites? Is parking provided? Is public transportation accessible? Are escorts needed or provided for staff, volunteers, or service-learners to safely travel from the agency to public transportation, parking lot, etc.?

•What are the potential risks to agency staff and clients of having student service-learners on-site, and how might they be minimized? What are the existing requirements for staff and volunteers at the agency? For example, do they need to be fingerprinted, have criminal background checks, and be tested for tuberculosis or other communicable diseases?

•How is risk and liability insurance provided to cover service-learners? Does the community agency cover insurance for liability, worker's compensation, volunteers? Does the university?

•How is confidentiality of students, agency staff, and clients assured? Are there policies in place for confidentiality? Are pictures or video allowed?

Page last modified September 11, 2011