37.99.219 PRIVATE OUTDOOR PROGRAMS: OUTDOOR PROGRAM SOLO EXPERIENCE
(1) If an outdoor program uses a solo experience as part of the therapeutic or educational process during expeditions, the program must have written policy and procedures for the utilization of the solo experience. Policy and procedures must include:
(a) purpose of solo experience;
(b) a solo experience must never be used as a punishment or negative consequence;
(c) supervision of program participant;
(d) assessment of program participant readiness for the experience; assessment must be documented in the daily expedition log book;
(e) documented instructions on the solo experience, including expectations, restrictions, communication, environment, and emergency procedures;
(f) notification and check-in systems including a procedure for checking the program participant's emotional and physical condition daily;
(g) risk management procedures; and
(h) a staff member be designated to coordinate and implement the plan.
(2) Staff must be familiar with the site chosen to conduct solo experiences and must conduct a pre-site investigation and preparation. These activities must be documented in the daily expedition log including:
(a) a description of the terrain selected and the appropriateness for the level of participation skill of the program participants;
(b) a review of hazardous conditions; and
(c) a description of arrangements made prior to the solo experience for medication, food and water drop-offs, if needed.
(3) Program participants must be supervised during a solo experience. Written plans for supervision must be drafted prior to the solo experience, and a copy of these written plans must be placed in the daily expedition log. A plan of supervision must include at a minimum:
(a) the assignment of a specific staff member responsible for the supervision of the solo participant;
(b) predetermined procedures for placing program participants at a distance from the assigned staff to allow for appropriate supervision and emergency communication;
(c) a method of clearing defining physical boundaries;
(d) instruction of program participants to not participate in potentially dangerous activities;
(e) notification and check-in systems including a procedure for checking the program participant's emotional and physical condition daily; and
(f) emergency planning, including:
(i) instructing the program participants on safety and emergency procedures,
including evacuation routes;
(ii) providing each program participant with signaling capabilities, including a whistle, for emergency notification;
(iii) instructing of other program participants on how to respond if the emergency notification system is put into use; and
(iv) providing a check-in system should an emergency occur.
(4) The program participants must be debriefed immediately after a solo expedition. The debriefing must at a minimum:
(a) include a written summary of the program participant's participation and progress achieved; and
(b) be provided in written form to the placing agency and, upon request, to the program participant's parent/legal guardian.
History: 52-2-803, 52-2-805, MCA; IMP, 52-2-803, 52-2-805, 52-2-809, MCA; NEW, 2019 MAR p. 2029, Eff. 11/9/19.