So, you’re thinking of hosting an au pair — great! But how do you choose the right au pair agency for your family? What should you look for? What questions should you ask? These are important things to consider when making a crucial child care assistance decision!
Let’s break down the top 3 things (plus a bonus tip!) that you should consider when choosing the best au pair agency for your family’s needs:
Let’s start with experience. You’ll want to choose an au pair agency that is tested over time and has a proven track record. When researching, ask yourself: How long has the agency been in business? How many families/au pair matches have they supported in that time?
For instance, Au Pair in America is the nation’s first au pair agency designated by the Department of State, with over 35 years of experience supporting host families (and counting!). Since 1986, Au Pair in America has helped over 110,000 host families in the United States welcome au pairs.
2. Screening and Training
Another thing to consider is the type of training your au pair will receive before they arrive to meet you. A quality au pair program will provide orientation training on topics like health and safety, child development, and preparing to live in a new culture.
Au Pair in America understands the importance of screening when it comes to child care. To ensure a selection of high quality au pair candidates, Au Pair in America has an extensive three-tiered screening process through our overseas and domestic offices. Our screening process includes a personal interview, reference checks, medical reports, English-language assessment, personality assessment, and a criminal background check. Au Pair in America’s Orientation Program provides a mandatory training course to all au pairs, focused on preparing them to take on the important role of providing intercultural child care assistance in the United States. Our learning method combines readings, videos, quizzes, and live training sessions, as well as a Red Cross course — all focused on keeping children safe.
This is the big one. To choose the best au pair agency for your family, you’ll want well-rounded support from start to finish. When comparing au pair agencies, be sure to ask questions like:
- “What type of help do you provide during the au pair search process?” - Finding the perfect au pair match for your family is very personal, and you’ll want to choose an agency who has the experience to understand your needs and help find you the right candidate.
- “How do you support host families and au pairs throughout their time together?” - Ensuring the organization will be there for you and your family, as well as your au pair, throughout your cultural exchange experience is crucial.
- “Do you have a representative or means of support in my local community?” - You’ll want an experienced agency staff member in your area to provide assistance, including community resources, regular activities for au pairs, and support in the case of any issues in the match.
When it comes to support, Au Pair in America has you covered. Our organization prioritizes supporting host families and au pairs to have successful matches. For host families, this support system starts with a dedicated Placement Coordinator — an expert in matching who’s there to assist you with the au pair search and interview process. In addition, our team of Community Counselors across the United States provide local support. Your Community Counselor will help you prepare to welcome your au pair and will support your match throughout your time together. And for that extra peace of mind, Au Pair in America has a 24/7 emergency line — answered by a manager, 365 days per year — in case you or your au pair have an after-hours issue that needs immediate attention.
One extra tip! While doing your research, ask yourself, “What’s the word on the street?” Talk with other families who currently host au pairs, check out the agency’s rating through the Better Business Bureau, and look for other third-party recommendations.