Welcome! We’re delighted that your son or daughter is considering a CFHI Global Health Education Program! As parents we want our children to gain transformative life experiences, but we also want to ensure their safety and support. We understand that you may have questions or concerns.. CFHI is a leader in safety standards, managing the risk of international activities and providing international experiences that provide for personal growth with robust support. While no one can guarantee that everything will go as planned during international experiences, CFHI is known for prioritizing participant wellness and quickly addressing any issues that arise.

On this page CFHI provides information geared towards parents and guardians, so you can learn more about the CFHI experience, the role of our in-country Global Team, and logistical and safety details.

Does CFHI provide pre-departure support?

CFHI’s office is in contact with participants from the moment they are accepted to a CFHI program. Once enrolled in a program, They will have access to a suite of interactive Pre-Departure Training materials which includes a detailed section on health and safety. These resources equip participants with essential knowledge and guidelines to promote a safe and secure experience while abroad. The packet also includes detailed information on making flight arrangements, required documents needed for international travel, recommended immunizations, and what to pack. As the program nears, we provide a virtual pre-departure orientation specifically focused on health and safety as well as contact information for our in-country team members and other participants who will be joining the program. CFHI staff are available by phone and email to answer any questions you or your son/daughter may have prior to departure.

How will CFHI support my son/daughter during the program?

CFHI offers various forms of support during the program, including airport pickup, a detailed welcome orientation, emergency medical & evacuation insurance, and a local cell phone (some students waive this if they have an unlocked phone and a local SIM card that works for calls/texts without WiFi). In addition to local laws, customs, and cultural norms, the on-site orientation includes instructions on how to get to and from the program sites safely as well as guidance on staying safe as participant navigate their new communities.

Our on-site team, which includes the CFHI Local Coordinator and Medical Director, will meet with your son/daughter once a week for check-in, informational lectures, and reflection. Our on-site team members have decades of experience hosting international students and are available 24/7 to provide support and guidance. Furthermore, the CFHI central leadership team constantly monitors the political and health standing of each country by membership in networks such as OSAC and PULSE, working collaboratively with partners to ensure the well-being of students at all times. We have robust emergency protocols in place to address any incidents that may occur, and we work closely as a team to prioritize the health, safety, and wellbeing of your son or daughter in the case of any health or safety need.

Prior to departure, we ask student to respond honestly to an in-depth health history form. We work with participants one-on-one if there appear to be areas of their health that could use additional planning and support. Our goal is always to ensure that a robust health and safety network is in place for your child.

CFHI has identified well-equipped healthcare facilities at each program site to address participants’ medical and mental health concerns, with the local team facilitating access to healthcare as needed. Mental health counseling is available both in-person and via telehealth. In case of emergencies, CFHI staff can be reached via a 24/7 emergency hotline: (415) 957-9000 ext. 1.

What is CFHI’s approach to crisis management:

CFHI has established protocols for different types of crises, including natural disasters, political unrest, and many others. The program’s team leaders, and the CFHI Central Leadership team maintain regular communication to monitor the political and health status of program locations. The approach may vary depending on the nature of the crisis, but the primary focus is on the safety and well-being of the participants.

How do I communicate with my son/daughter during the program?

During the on-site welcome orientation, usually the day after arrival, all participants receive a local pay-as you go cell phone and are instructed on how to purchase minutes locally. You will be able to reach your son/daughter on this phone that accepts free incoming calls, but it is his/her responsibility to provide you with the number. Internet is accessible at almost all sites, either at nearby internet cafes, the language school, homestay or housing, or by purchasing a USB modem. WhatsApp is an affordable way of keeping in touch. Many students choose to use their own smart phones by unlocking it pre-departure and obtaining a local SIM card.

Remember, CFHI is in regular contact with our in-country leadership who notify us of any issues, so “no news is good news.” Please be patient as your son/daughter will be very busy throughout the program.

How do I know my son/daughter will be safe?

All CFHI partners are proactive about ensuring student safety, which is of the utmost priority for CFHI. CFHI has been running programs since 1992, sending over 15,000 students abroad on our programs. CFHI has a gold-standard reputation for participant safety and is recognized by both the United Nations and GreatNonprofits. While no organization can guarantee participant safety 100%, CFHI’s longevity, track record, and close relationships with our Global Team provide a network for safe and secure student experiences abroad.

What happens when my son/daughter arrives in country?

A CFHI representative will be at the airport to pick-up your son/daughter. This person is a trusted driver chosen carefully by the Local Coordinator at each program site. He or she will be holding a sign labeled “CFHI”. Your son/daughter will then be taken to meet the Local Coordinator or to their respective home stays or lodging.

Contact information for the local team and housing arrangements are sent via email 1-2 weeks before the program start date. Your son/daughter should keep this information handy in case they need to get in touch.

Where will my son/daughter be staying during the program?

Depending on the country and program, CFHI participants will be housed in CFHI vetted housing (apartments, dorms, hotels) or with carefully screened home stay families. At many program sites, CFHI participants stay with a local family. Host families are carefully screened by the CFHI Local Coordinator, who also gives consideration towards proximity to clinical rotations or public health sites and language schools, safety, and comfort when selecting host families.

How can I make payments to CFHI?

There are several ways to make payment towards your son/daughter’s program.

  1. Online via credit card (Visa or Mastercard) using your son/daughter’s CFHI online account.
  2. Submit check made out to “Child Family Health International” or “CFHI” and send to: Child Family Health International, 11135 San Pablo Ave. #929 El Cerrito CA 94530 
  1. Over the phone by calling 415.957.9000 ext 803 to speak with CFHI head office staff.

Are payments made towards my son/daughter’s program tax-deductible?

Donations to CFHI are tax deductible as we are a registered 501(C)3 nonprofit organization. Payments to program fees are not tax deductible, as they are fees for educational services (similar to university tuition).

Other resources for parents:

Hear from Greg Martin MD, a leader in Global Health, on how to experience global and public health: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yU_xtacYMTo