Dear 4-H Colleagues,
We want to thank the 4-H Educators and Executive Directors who have expressed concern about the updates and changes to FORM Code 1501 and 4-H policy related to the inclusion of dogs in the 4-H program. We have heard the concerns that there is real potential to exclude youth from the 4-H Dog program if they cannot provide proof of insurance and agree that this is a real barrier, particularly in light of our commitment to equity and anti-racism. Economic inequality, access to credit, and homeownership rates are legacies of institutionalized racism, and we are committed to removing consequent barriers to participation in CCE programming.
As an organization, we are committed to becoming anti-racist in our policies, practices, and procedures, helping individuals and institutions to connect the dots between structural barriers, often sanctioned by the ways in which racism is inscribed in law (redlining, access to mortgages, predatory lending, etc.), and the lack of access to quality housing, healthcare, education, and insurance that facilitate access to opportunities and resources.
We have updated FORM Code 1501, and have removed the word REQUIRED from the Dog Registration Form in relation to insurance while still asking for a yes or no to the question of insurance coverage. Though not required, it is recommended that dog owners/participants have insurance (Homeowners, Renters or Farm Owners insurance) when participating in CCE/4H sponsored Dog activities, to protect them in the event of a claim against their dog and to bolster the protection of CCE/4-H by providing financial support to the hold harmless and indemnification agreement they sign to participate.
We thank you for sharing your concerns and we are hopeful that this update will provide protection for CCE while also holding to our values to create a program truly open to all young people.