If you read my blog on any kind of a regular basis, you know that I am a LAR (local area representative) for Go Au Pair, the Highest Ranked Au Pair agency for outstanding customer service in the United States, and at your service since 1989. You should also know the Au Pair Program is regulated by the US DOS and I am obligated to abide by those rules, as are the au pairs and Host Families involved in the program. That being said, I’d like to do a quick review of the over-arching guidelines for both au pairs and HFs, as well as so,me best practices and even a few gray areas.
Au Pair Guidelines
Au Pairs are a minimum of 18 and maximum of 26 years old when they enter the US. They have passed a number of background checks, including criminal, educational and job history. All au pairs speak English (rated 1 to 5 by our International representative in their home country). Au pairs have completed high school and many are in college or have completed their degree. All au pairs have prior childcare experience of some kind, and we do tell you what kind. During their year in the program, au pairs need to complete at least 6 credits at an approved college or university. They also need to participate in at least 4 cultural events planned and hosted by their LAR (that’s me). Join us tomorrow at WaterFire in Providence.
Host Family Guidelines
Host Families are also screened by our main office staff in Salt Lake City, Utah. Your LAR (me again) will contact you for your Host Family Interview and Site Visit and will keep in touch with both au pair and Host Family each month via phone, text or email. Host Families need to attend at least one Host Family Conference Day (hosted by, guess who?). Host Families pay the agency fees to Go Au Pair and the au pair stipend directly to the au pair. The Host Family provides transportation for the au pair to attend class as well as the cultural events. The Host Family can schedule their au pair to work up to 45 hours, performing childcare and childcare-related tasks, including driving, cooking, tidying kids’ play, sleep and eating areas, supervising homework and chores and even doing kids’ laundry! The Host Family can also set specific rules for curfews, house guests, overnight guests, internet and phone usage, and even access to food in the refrigerator or pantry.
There are several gray areas, referred to by real-life Host Mom Cyndi Frick, in her recent article. Many Host Families ask about things like filing taxes, health coverage, auto insurance, food and food extras and car availability. I would like to address each of these in more depth, and plan to in future articles. For some short answers, keep reading.
Au pairs enter the country with health coverage through a provider (they may upgrade coverage for a fee) through Go Au Pair and are provided basic emergency coverage.
Auto insurance is the responsibility of the Host Family, but I have heard of HFs charging their au pair per mile for off-duty usage. This can become an issue for au pairs who live far from urban areas or au pairs that tend to stray on their time off. Car availability can be an issue if the family needs to share a vehicle but also lives in a rural area (meaning the au pair needs a vehicle to explore the community).
Many Host Families decide to provide basic meals and drinks that they are also having at home, but ask their au pair to pay for extras like specialty food and drink. Eating out at restaurants should be handled with care. Some families ask their au pair to pay for meals out, while others pay all or half of the au pair meal, but not for alcohol.
In any event, the Au Pair Program brings cultural childcare experiences to American families all over our country. You could be one of them! Why not register for free today? Visit me at http://www.goaupair.com/Providence or contact me directly at 401.309.1925 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to answering any questions you might have or guiding you through the application and selection process.