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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Court-Mandated/Agency-Directed Programming – FCS Guidelines

Types of programs: Programs that present social challenges, personal safety concerns, access to client’s personal information, or potential risks to the organization’s reputation. FCS examples include: parenting and financial planning classes; parenting for divorcing parents and/or foster parents; classes including parents charged with child neglect; and court-diversion programs.


  1. Choice of location

  • Public site, safe location.
  • Easy exit from classroom location.
  • Avoid one on one situations, whatever the location.
  • Avoid home visits.
  • Easily accessible, well lighted.
  • Inform your office of your meeting location, your anticipated time at the location and a phone number or other way to contact you at that location.
  1. Arrange for a co-teacher or presence from the court or your office whenever possible

  • Discuss potential problem issues and behaviors with agency/court representative prior to the start of programming. Agree upon strategies to address the potential problem issues and behaviors.
  • Avoid being in the classroom alone with the participants.
  • If a participant causes disruption, request agency/court representative’s presence in class during future sessions or arrange to have person reassigned or suspended from the classes.
  • Do not put your personal safety at risk.
  • Have your cell phone with you in the classroom and emergency numbers programmed into the cell phone.
  1. For these programs, use the cost recovery approach recommended for the FCS program area.

  • This is particularly true if a pattern of individual or couples teaching is evident. 
  • It may not be time/cost efficient in the future to offer a program for one or two individuals; courts and agencies may need to reconsider how they schedule programming offered by OSU Extension.
  1. Professionalism

  • Counsel support staff or other office staff how to respond to questions that may come from participants, agencies or attorneys.
  • Do not share personal information, home address or telephone number.

Reporting Guidelines

  1. Agencies sometimes want feedback about a client’s participation in your program. 
  • Discuss in advance the information that can be provided.
  • Reports should be requested in writing by agency or as a result of a court subpoena.
  1. The information that can be provided is limited to:
  • Record of attendance – sign-in/sign-out sheet
  • Curriculum taught – copy of teaching outline, materials provided 
  • Level of participation in class sessions (examples: Mr. X entered into discussions, Mr. and Ms. Y showed evidence of having read the materials assigned)
  • Remember, you are an educator and do not offer opinions, recommendations, treatment goals, or discuss behavioral patterns.
  1. Keep a copy of the request and your response if an agency requests a report.
  2. Do not discuss the case with unauthorized persons or attorneys representing any parties in a court case.

Court Appearances

  1. Appear in court or write a deposition (letter) for the court or an attorney only if subpoenaed by the court. When this happens, notify your county director and regional director and send the associate director, operations a copy of the subpoena immediately.
  2. OSU Extension policy guidelines (Policy Handbook under conflict of interest) indicate Extension professionals do not serve as expert witnesses in court.  If subpoenaed by the court, you may/must serve as a fact witness.
  3. Testimony in court is limited to the items outlined in reporting guidelines above: attendance, curriculum, level of participation.
  4. Do not discuss the case with attorneys. Contact Extension associate drector, operations and CFAES Human Resources if approached by an attorney.

Joyce McDowell, Barb Ludwig
Administrative Cabinet approved – April 2004
Reviewed – 2008; revised by Karen Bruns –2013