Wondering about au pair childcare? It is a growing industry in the area, with new agencies popping up regularly. Go Au Pair is an established childcare agency, since before the Au Pair Program began, and continues to be a Department of State-approved sponsor of the J-1 Visa your au pair needs to legally work for your family.
What’s different about an au pair? An au pair is not a Nanny. All au pairs will live with their American family for a year, up to two if they decide to fully extend their participation in the program. He or she becomes a contributing member of the family, who can help out, up to 10 hours per day, 45 hours per week, with child-related duties. This can include actual babysitting and engaging the children, in addition to driving them to/from school, play dates or appointments, helping with or supervising homework, light meal prep and clean-up, even kids’ laundry!
In exchange, the host family pays their au pair a stipend and pays the first $500 toward his or her educational requirements, normally 6 credits or 72 classroom hours. Don’t let that scare you off, though. Good news! If your local university will allow your au pair to audit a course and your au pair doesn’t need the college credits, you could pay nothing for your au pair to review the same class you may pay nearly $500 for three official college credits. It’s worth shopping around.
What about agency fees? We have to cover expenses for handling all the logistics for you, as well as the support you receive year round from your agency. Our local area discount, in the RI, Eastern CT, and Central/SE MA can take $750 off program fees, making them the lowest ever. When you break down the total fees, a family can have a full-time, live-in au pair for about $322 per week, or about $7.31 per hour! Part time breaks down to as low as $277 per week, or $9.22 per hour for up to 30 hours per week of the same, great, flexible and reliable childcare as a full time au pair.
Your kids deserve an extra family member, not just a person to “watch” them while you work. Get more for your money! Even professional au pair blogger, Summer Blackhurst agrees. It is about finding that balance of independence for all of you. It’s not really giving up your privacy, but allowing your family and your au pair just the right amount of space so you can both grow! Well said, Summer!