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Risk Management for 4-H Youth Development Work: Risk Management Checklist1

Dale Pracht, Paula Davis, Stefanie Prevatt, Janet Psikogios, and Sarah Hensley 2

This is the second publication in the series Risk Management for 4-H Youth Development Work. This series is intended to prepare UF/IFAS Extension county faculty, staff, volunteers, and youth to satisfactorily complete the important task of providing best practices in risk management strategies.

Our goal is to conduct educational events and activities that coincide with the 4-H mission and mandates while protecting the safety of participants, sponsors, property, finances, and the goodwill/reputation of the 4-H name. The inherent risk of events and activities can be mitigated through planning and preparation. This risk management guide has been created to outline ways to prepare for and deal with the specific risks associated with your program.

Early planning is key to conducting successful events and activities. This checklist will help during event/activity planning. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive, but rather to provide a starting point for analyzing the risk management plan. Items are identified as Office of Youth Conference Service Policy (OYCS P), 4-H Policy (P), State Law (SL), or Best Management Practice (BMP).

Child Protection

Ensure program complies with all UF policies and state laws regarding volunteer and staff background screening, youth protection training, and reporting youth participants (see UF/IFAS Youth Protection Policy for more detail).

  • Ensure appropriate staff/participant ratio in place at all times. (OYCS P)

  • Ensure appropriate leadership (two authorized adults/two deep leadership) in place at all times. (OYCS P)

  • Screening―ensure appropriate screening for staff and volunteers per Florida law and UF compliance standards. (SL & OYCS P)

  • Ensure sufficient adult/child ratio to include gender and appropriate accommodations are available for overnight events. (OYCS P)

  • Ensure participants have appropriate attire and safety equipment. (BMP)

  • Ensure safety by limiting contact between youth participants and individuals not associated with the program. (BMP)

  • Ensure appropriate communication between adults and youth participants (including social media, telephone, emails, and meetings outside of scheduled activities). (OYCS P)

  • Ensure Youth Protection training is completed by volunteers and staff annually ( (OYCS P)

  • Risk assessment—refer to Risk Management Pre-event Planning Guide and Matrix ("what if" scenarios; estimate potential risk; establish strategies to reduce risk). (BMP)

  • Policy—refer to UF 4-H policy ( (P)

  • Conduct Requirements—ensure Code of Conduct documents are signed by all adult and youth participants (including but not limited to possession/use or alcohol, tobacco, drugs; weapons; bullying; hazing; inappropriate use of imaging devices; harmful behaviors; dress code; appeals process). (P)

Supervising Adults and/or Teens

  • Ensure volunteers and/or chaperones selected through the Florida 4-H volunteer process meet all requirements. (Includes parents serving in a volunteer role) (P)

  • Ensure volunteers abide by child protection procedures/laws concerning screening, privacy, and reporting procedures. (OYCS P)

  • Orient and train volunteers and/or chaperones for their roles, working with youth, emergency procedures, and event/activity responsibilities. (BMP)

  • Ensure all medications for participants are accounted for and secured with medical personnel if on site. (BMP)

  • Communicate drop-off & pick-up procedures to parents (Restricted & Early Release Forms). (BMP)

  • Establish and implement process for youth to sign "in" and "out" of a program. (BMP)

  • Conduct participant orientation, including rules, policies, guidelines, safety and emergency procedures. (BMP)

Parents of Participants

  • Conduct parent orientation, including program purpose, rules and policies for participation, safety and emergency procedures, etc. (BMP)

  • Complete enrollment/registration. (P)

  • Sign permission to participate or informed consent form for child. (P)

  • Understand financial obligations and pay any required costs by deadlines. (BMP)


  • Volunteers & agents are not permitted to sign contracts. If a contract is required to be signed, please contact your County Extension Director. (P)


Site chosen meets the following safety requirements:

  • Provides a safe environment for participants. (BMP)

  • Accessible for individuals with disabilities and special needs. (SL)

  • Emergency exits clearly marked, unlocked, and easily accessible. (BMP)

  • Emergency equipment exists and is accessible if needed. (BMP)

  • Aware of other groups using the facilities and any potential conflicts. (BMP)

  • Lifeguard with appropriate certification present when near water. (BMP)

  • Provide separate accommodations for adults and participants. Youth are not permitted to sleep in the room of an adult (over age 18) other than his/her own parent or guardian. (OYCS P)

  • If possible, programs should have separate shower and bathroom facilities for males and females and youth and adults. (OYCS P)

Site chosen meets the following liability requirements:

  • If liability insurance is required by chosen facility, seek assistance from the county Extension agent in obtaining appropriate liability insurance. (BMP)

  • Obtain facility use forms, agreements and/or contracts from managements of the chosen facility. See contracts above. (BMP)


Required for All Drivers

  • Meet all requirements set forth in UF Environmental Health and Safety Office for employees and volunteers. (P)

  • If transporting youth in a 15-passenger van, please consult the UF 15-passenger van policy

  • Copy of driver's license and insurance on file. (BMP)

  • All drivers oriented of planned route, provided with maps and directions, and have set meeting times & destinations. (BMP)

  • All drivers must have the ability to communicate by cell phone or two-way radio. (P)

Required for All Participants

  • Wear seat belts at all times. (SL)

  • Refrain from behavior that is distracting to the driver. (BMP)

Food Preparation

Liability Coverage, Insurance, and Laws

  • Assess that liability coverage is adequate. (BMP)

  • Accident insurance has been secured for all participants. (BMP)

  • Secure proper liability insurance before transporting youth. (BMP)


Participant Health-Related Requirements:

  • Signed Florida 4-H Participation Form with emergency contact information for each participant (minor and adult) is accessible by person(s) in charge. (BMP)

  • Access to healthcare in emergency is known and understood even when traveling out of town. (BMP)

  • Phone numbers of nearest hospital, ambulance, and law enforcement. (BMP)

  • Health and/or accidental insurance secured. (i.e., American Income Life).

  • Incident or accident report forms available for use by person(s) in charge. (BMP)

  • If accident occurs, call for help, contact parent or guardian, contact CED, or contact UF Extension. (BMP)

  • Check with Extension agent/staff about 4-H Activity Insurance & Emergency Management Procedures. (BMP)

  • Two way radios and/or cell phones carried and used for emergencies and on-going communication. (BMP)

  • Current and up-to-date first-aid kit available. (BMP)

Unexpected Situations/Acts of Nature Planned for:

  • Storm warning system. (BMP)

  • Plan for unexpected weather (access to shelter, means to contact parents with change of location, etc.). (BMP)

  • Alternative plans (BMP)

  • Identify nearest shelter in case of (BMP):

Fire ______________________________________________

Flood _____________________________________________

Tornado ___________________________________________


Office of Youth Conference Services:

Youth Protection Training:

Pre-event Planning Guide:

Pre-event Planning Matrix:

Club Leader Notebook:

Florida 4-H Policy:

Florida 4-H Best Management Practices (4-H professional log-in required):

Transportation 15 Passenger Van Policy:

USDA Food Safety Guidelines:

EDIS series of Food Safety:


Extension Disaster Education Network:

Herman, Melanie. (2011). Ready or Not...A Risk Management Guide for Nonprofit Executives. 2nd edition. Leesburg, VA: Nonprofit Risk Management Center.

Nonprofit Risk Management Center:


1. This document is 4HFSV373, one of a series of the 4-H Youth Development Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date March 2018. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Dale Pracht, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences; Paula Davis, 4-H youth development agent; Stefanie Prevatt, 4-H youth development agent; Janet Psikogios, 4-H youth development program assistant; and Sarah Hensley, state-specialized Extension agent, 4-H youth development; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #4HFSV373

Release Date:March 21st, 2018

Related Experts

Davis, Paula M

County agent

University of Florida

Hensley, Sarah T.


University of Florida

Pracht, Dale


University of Florida

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