About Au Pair in America

Au Pair in America is the nation's first legal au pair program. Since 1986, we have provided the best child care opportunities to host families across the US and au pairs from around the world.

Au Pair in America featured in Wall Street Journal Article

In today’s Wall Street Journal there is a great article about Au Pair in America.  It discusses the increase in Western European au pairs in the past year.

Origins of Au Pairs Becomes Barometer in Labor Market

“As job opportunities shrink in Europe, the minimum $132.64 per week, plus room, board and tuition reimbursement that the au pair program guarantees looks increasingly appealing. A desire for adventure and what some call the “Obama factor” also is a lure for young Europeans, says Ms. Ferry. In March, nearly half of all of Au Pair in America’s applications came from Western Europe, compared with about a third in the same period last year.”

The British au pair and her host family featured in the article are in a nearby cluster in Northern VA.

Chicago Au Pairs Make Blankets for Project Linus

Last Saturday, 90 Au Pair in America au pairs made 100 fleece blankets for children in need.  The patterns were fabulous with everything from polka dots, soccer themes, dinosaurs, animal prints, dog-theme prints and more.  Each fleece blanket is fringed by hand.  The au pairs and counselors worked together to purchase the fleece and follow the blanket pattern instructions according to the Chicago chapter of Project Linus. Host families supported the project by donating fleece and blankets made ahead of time.

One host mom told her counselor that this project had a special meaning for her because her own son was seriously ill when he was born and was given a Project Linus blanket which they have kept.  When she found out her au pair was taking part, she said it brought tears to her eyes.

All who participated felt it was a worthy cause and a great way to give back to their community.

WAY TO GO!

Au Pair in America Au Pairs from Chicago Area

Au Pair in America Au Pairs from Chicago Area

Time to Apply for Summer EduCare Arrivals

If you are interested in a EduCare Companion for a summer arrival, now is a good time to apply.

EduCare in America – 30 hours of child care for approximately $264 per family, per week. This cost-effective program is the choice for families with full-time school-age children who require care primarily during the early morning and after school hours, with some weekend and evening hours.

To consider EduCare:

  • You must live in one of the designated EduCare Communities
  • You must have children in full-time school
  • You must be able to work with 30 hours a week (year round)
  • You must understand that their education allowance is $1000/yr
  • You must be able to work with the EduCare arrival schedule

2009 EduCare Arrival Dates

  • Tuesday, July 7
  • Monday, July 27
  • Monday, August 3
  • Monday, August 17
  • Monday, December 7

Here are some profiles of EduCare Companions looking for summer arrivals.

If you have questions about EduCare, post them here in the comments section.

What We Will and Will Not Do

Recently, Terry and I have discussed a trend we have seen in recent months.   We have been surprised and saddened by the lengths that some of our competitors will go to in order to get more business.   In an industry built on the concept of providing cultural exchange and childcare, we still hold those as high priorities.   Some of our competitors seem to have a different focus.   We personally prefer to deal with ethical people who have moral standards, especially on something as important as the safety and care of our children.   We may be naïve in believing that those things matter to people, but we think they should.   So, we decided to post a list of the things we will and will not do.

Here’s our list:

  • We will continue to keep taking care of our host families and au pairs as our main priority and marketing to new families as a secondary focus.
  • We will promote Au Pair in America using honest, ethical methods.
  • We will encourage our host families and au pairs to refer people to Au Pair in America, based on their own positive experiences.
  • We will continue to allow our au pairs to bring their friends from other agencies to our meetings and will welcome them and treat them just as our own au pairs.
  • We will not lie to people.
  • We will not misrepresent ourselves or our intentions in order to obtain competitor’s host family information.
  • We will not pose as reporters in order to obtain access to a competitor’s host families and market to them.
  • We will not ask our au pairs’ friends to give us their host family’s contact information or their agency’s cluster list.
  • We will not make misleading statements about our competitors.
  • We will not violate the terms of online forums and pose as satisfied customers, rather than agency representatives.
  • We will not violate the terms of websites such as Craig’s List by posting ridiculous numbers of listings and cross-posting.
  • We will not take another agency’s original ideas, copy them and promote them as our own.

We spend the majority of our work time providing great service and support to our host families and au pairs and genuinely care about them having a positive outcome in the au pair program.  We are saddened that people would try to lure them away, with the promise of discounts and services, which may or may not be accurate.

When one of these competitors was confronted by a third party whom she had lied to and used to get the private information of host families and au pairs,  her reply was, “that’s just business.”  Well, that’s not how we do business.  At the end of the day, we want to feel good about the work we do and know that we haven’t done anything that we should feel ashamed of.

Summer Au Pairs

From time to time, I receive inquiries about a Summer Au Pair Program. So, why don’t we offer a summer au pair program? Here are the main reasons.

#1 Cost Compared to Standard Au Pairs

Agencies that offer summer only au pairs have an average weekly cost of $365-$390 per week. That is $30-$55 more than our standard au pairs. Over the course of the summer, that is $480-$770 more.

#2 Building a Relationship

When an au pair arrives, you spend time getting to know her, showing her how you do things in your family, getting her settled in and helping her registering for classes. It makes more sense to invest that time and energy into someone who will be with you for 12 months or even 24 months (with the extension program option.)

#3 Year Round Value

Most families who use an au pair for summer childcare, use another form of childcare during the rest of the school year, such as before and after school care. Before and after school care costs an average of $100-175 per week, per child.

A family with two kids in school might be spending:

Before and after care $200-350

Occasional babysitting $50-100

Total $250-450 per week, per family

If the same family applied to the Au Pair in America program, they would be spending:

45 hours of flexible childcare $335 per week, per family

30 hours of flexible childcare $264 per week, per family*

*EduCare is available for school aged children and limited to certain geographic areas.

#4 Year Round Convenience

Benefits of Au Pair versus Before/After Care:

  • Flexible scheduling
  • Care for your children on sick days and school holidays
  • Children being cared for in your own home – no more rush to drop off and pick up
  • Au Pair can drive your children to extracurricular activities
  • Au Pair can help with childcare related housekeeping and childrens laundry
  • Enrichment of language and culture

That’s why I think that families who are considering summer only au pairs may want to look into the full year program.

Is an Au Pair Right For You?

If you are coming to this blog, chances are you are interested in the au pair program.  It is a win-win situation for many families and au pairs, but you have to make sure it is a good fit for you.

Are you…

  • looking for flexible, affordable child care?
  • comfortable with someone new living in your home?
  • able to work within the State Dept. regulations (maximum of 10 hours per day and 45 hours per week)?
  • able to clearly communicate your expectations with your child care provider?
  • planning to treat your au pair as you would want your daughter treated?
  • offering a private bedroom for the au pair?
  • interested in the cultural exchange benefits?

If you answered yes to these questions, you might make a great host parent.

If you have questions, please post them here or in the Ask Away section and we will be happy to answer.

Handling Expenses

Miscellaneous Expenses

At a recent new host family orientation, we discussed different ways to handle the little expenses that may come up.  Things like when an au pair takes the kids out for ice cream or picks up a gallon of milk.  Some families keep a cookie jar fund, a little cash that they set aside weekly or monthly for this kind of expenses.  Here are some suggestions for avoiding problems with that.

Host Families

  • It’s important to be clear about how long this money should last and what types of expenses are approved.
  • Let the au pair know whether or not you expect receipts.

Au Pairs

  • Only spend the money on approved expenses.
  • If it is something you are not sure about, ask first.
  • Put your receipts in the cookie jar in place of the money to avoid any confusion.

Gas and Fare Cards

Host families are responsible for the au pair’s transportation costs:

  • to and from classes and cluster meetings
  • driving the kids

It is a good idea to figure out how much gas an au pair will use for these trips and either put gas in the car or give a gas allowance.   If your au pair is riding to classes or cluster meetings with another au pair, you should offer to share the cost of gas.

Au pairs are responsible for their own transportation at all other times.  You should replace the amount of gas used for personal use.

Why Choose Au Pair in America?

I have found that these are some of the most common reasons host families select Au Pair in America.

EXPERIENCE

  • APIA is the first and most experienced au pair program.
  • Our Community Counselors average 9 years with APIA.
  • Our Stamford Office staff average 7 years with APIA.

SERVICE

  • Our Community Counselors get paid to provide service and support to host families and au pairs. Some other companies pay their local coordinators based on recruiting new families.

WORLDWIDE RECRUITING

  • We have the largest applicant pool in the industry, recruiting in 55 countries on 5 continents.

PROGRAM OPTIONS

  • Three different options to meet your needs: Standard Au Pairs, EduCare and Extraordinaire.

PEACE OF MIND

  • APIA introduced the child care industry’s first Childcare Protection Plan which allows host families to receive a substantial refund and the option to keep their au pair, if one host parent loses their job.

Common Mistakes Host Families & Au Pairs Make

As counselors, we come across certain mistakes that people make time and time again.  So, we are going to blog on some of those mistakes and simple solutions to save you the possible headaches and keep your au pair experience positive.

Look for those under the Host Families and Au Pairs tabs.

Au Pair in America Child Care Protection Plan

Au Pair in America is proud to introduce a child care industry first: the Au Pair in America Child Care Protection Plan.

Check out the details here: http://www.aupairamerica.com/fees/protection_plan.asp

Child Care Protection Plan