Many Host Families ask me about the hidden costs associated with au pair childcare. I am clear about the specific costs to the Host Family, as required by the DOS, but you should read what real-life Host Mom and blogger Cyndi Frick says about her experience. Here is my take on a few more of those “gray areas.”
Beyond the program fees, Host Families pay the au pair stipend directly to their au pair. Additionally, Host Families are required to pay up to $500 toward the educational requirement and also to provide transportation to and from the coursework. This may be as simple as providing the au pair a vehicle, possibly the same vehicle he or she uses to drive the children as part of the au pair duties, to get themselves there. Host Families who share a vehicle may be able to drop off and pick up their au pair from class, or even provide the au pair a bus pass so they can use public transportation.
The same applies to attending the cultural events hosted by the LAR (that’s me, Joan Lowell). Read all about our recent attendance at WaterFire in Providence. Au pairs need to attend at least 4 cultural and social events in their area, and although Host Families need to attend one, they also need to provide transportation to and from the event. For au pairs who don’t drive at all, the options are more limited. Families often drop off au pairs or encourage carpooling.
In the end, the average cost to Host Families with a full time au pair is as low as $7.53 per hour. This does not include the gray areas we’ve mentioned. I have already written about use of the car and food in the pantry and how many families handle it, and now you have a few more topics to consider. Remember, however you handle it, be sure to try to make it fair for both the au pair and Host Family. Discuss it openly and honestly, and be willing to hear the au pair’s perspective. Contact me at email@example.com or 401.309.1925 with your questions or just apply online at Go Au Pair Providence!