Risk Management for 4-H Youth Development Work: Records1

Paula Davis, Dale Pracht, Stefanie Prevatt, Janet Psikogios, Marilyn Norman, Kate Fogarty, and Jean Hink 2

This is one 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. A helpful tool in this process is the Risk Management for 4-H Youth Development Work: Pre-Event Planning Guide and Matrix, which is found within the Risk Management for 4-H Youth Development Work Series: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_series_risk_management_for_4-h_youth_development_work. As you work through this matrix, questions may arise that are unique to a specific situation and may not be completely answered by the series. Extension faculty and staff should refer these questions to appropriate personnel. Questions that require time for research punctuate the need for early planning.

Another tool is the Risk Management Checklist, which can be used as a guide when planning an activity or event.

Public Records

It is important to know in advance what legal rights the public has to the records that are located in the Florida Extension offices. According to Florida Statutes § 119.011(12) (2016), "Public records means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency."

Copies of public records can be requested at any time. The exemptions that apply to 4-H are related to youth records. Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of individual 4-H members are not furnished under a public records request. Instead, a family mailing list may be provided, which does not detail the number, age, or name of specific 4-H members. 4-H newsletters, fact sheets, web pages, videotapes, and bulletins are open to the public. In general, our mailing lists and most correspondence are open to the public. For additional information, visit the Florida 4-H Policy site: http://florida4h.org/policies/#pr.

For records, requests can be made verbally or written. The request should be forwarded to the county and district extension directors, who will be responsible for accessing the requested information. The records must be given to the requestor in a reasonable amount of time. There may be a charge per page for any copies that are made. Emails may also be considered public record if they are applicable to the information being requested.

Records Retention

As youth programs are implemented, participants complete a variety of forms, including but not limited to enrollment forms, participation forms, registration forms, etc. Any information that includes personal information must be treated with confidentiality. Records are subject to Florida public record laws. Retention of most 4-H records is required for a minimum of three years, with financial records being retained for ten years. For more information visit University of Florida Records Retention Schedules: (http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/records/Schedules).


Florida Statutes § 119.011(12). (2016). Public Records. February 16, 2017. Retrieved from http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0100-0199/0119/Sections/0119.011.html.

University of Florida. (n.d.). Florida 4-H Policy. February 16, 2017. Retrieved from http://florida4h.org/policies/#pr

University of Florida. (n.d.). University of Florida Records Retention Schedules. February 16, 2017. Retrieved from http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/records/Schedules


1. This document is 4HFSV376, one of a series of the 4-H Youth Development Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date February 2018. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Paula Davis, 4-H youth development agent, UF/IFAS Extension Bay County; Dale Pracht, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; Stefanie Prevatt, 4-H youth development agent, UF/IFAS Extension Leon County; Janet Psikogios, 4-H youth development program assistant, UF/IFAS Extension Bay County; Marilyn Norman, retired associate professor and retired 4-H program leader; Kate Fogarty, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; and Jean Hink, 4-H youth development agent, UF/IFAS Extension Pasco County; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.