Tag Archives: host family

Privacy, Personal Information & The Internet

Just a reminder about how important it is to respect your host family’s privacy and not share personal details and information.  This applies to all kinds of situations, including: personal conversations, email and social websites.

For your own safety, it is a good idea to be careful what personal information you share about yourself as well. You should not be giving out information like your telephone number and address to people you don’t know.

Once you post something on the internet (even if you later delete it), it can show up elsewhere.  Unless you have specific permission from the host family, you should not post pictures of them, their children or their home on the internet.

If you have a blog or website where you post in your native language, remember there is translation software.  So, even if you say it in your native language, be sure it is not something you will regret.

Holiday & Vacation Reminders

With Memorial Day just passed and Fourth of July coming soon, I wanted to remind everyone about program rules on holidays and vacations.

Holidays

  • Host families are NOT REQUIRED to give au pairs any specific holidays.
  • Each host family will make different arrangements on holidays, some au pairs will be off and others will be required to work.
  • Au pairs should NOT make plans for holidays without checking with your host family FIRST.

luggage maliasVacation

  • Au pair earns 2 weeks of paid vacation during the course of her year.
  • The host family can pick a week and the au pair can pick a week, if an agreement is not reached.
  • All vacation should be preplanned (at least 4 weeks in advance.)
  • All au pair’s friends and/or family visits/vacations should be pre-approved prior to purchasing a ticket.
  • If an au pair travels with their host family, it should be discussed UP FRONT whether this is the au pair’s vacation or if she is working.
  • If an au pair travels with the host family to work, the host family is required to pay for her transportation, lodging and meals.

Important: An au pair MUST have her DS2019 signed PRIOR to her departure from the US. More info. about this can be found on the right side of this page under “Travel Links for Au Pairs.”


Privacy, Personal Information & The Internet

fb twitter youtubeJust a reminder about how important it is to respect your host family’s privacy and not share personal details and information.  This applies to all kinds of situations, including: personal conversations, email and social websites.

For your own safety, it is a good idea to be careful what personal information you share about yourself as well. You should not be giving out information like your telephone number and address to people you don’t know.

Once you post something on the internet (even if you later delete it), it can show up elsewhere.  Unless you have specific permission from the host family, you should not post pictures of them, their children or their home on the internet.

If you have a blog or website where you post in your native language, remember there is translation software.  So, even if you say it in your native language, be sure it is not something you will regret.

Beautiful Day at the Pumpkin Patch

On Sunday, we had beautiful weather and a great turnout for our Annual Host Family & Au Pair Pumpkin Patch Visit.  Queen Anne Farm remains an authentic pumpkin patch where kids get the chance to pick their pumpkin right off the vine. There were also animals, a corn maze and a hayride.

Click on the pictures to view them full size in our Cluster Photobucket Album.

Host Family Deadline Reminders

dont forget

EXTENDING WITH YOUR CURRENT AU PAIR

If you are extending with your au pair, below are the due dates and deadlines for the Extension Program:

Arrival Date November 2009 – Extension Package Mailed: June 29, 2010
Deadline to send in Extension Package: August 18, 2010

Arrival Date December 2009 – Extension Package Mailed: August 3, 2010
Deadline to send in Extension Package: September 22, 2010

OR

BEGINNING THE SEARCH FOR YOUR NEXT AU PAIR

If you are not extending your contract with your current au pair and want to have continuous au pair childcare, the following are the recommended dates to submit your repeat application. Applying early gives you plenty of time to view applications and make a match with an au pair from any country, regardless of visa timeline.

Re-applying online is easier than ever. You just login with your Host Family ID number and password and update the information we have on file for you.  There is no application fee for repeating host families.

Target Arrival Date November 2010 – Recommended that you re-apply in July or August.

Target Arrival Date December 2010 – Recommended that you re-apply in August or September.

Don’t forget to check out our Host Family Loyalty Site with information on several ways to save $500+ off your program fee.

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.

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.