How might Agencies keep bad Host Families from cycling from one Agency to the next, without getting removed from the program entirely?

We worry not only about bad Au Pairs getting recycled though the system, but also about rematch Host Families getting one chance after another to strike out with an Au Pair.

4854218970_bab6a3b020_mIt should be relatively easy for LCCs and ARs to identify families who’ve gone into rematch for taking advantage of their au pairs and/ or not following the rules, and then drop them from the Agency’s roster.

The harder challenge, though, is preventing those same Host Families from pretending they’ll follow the rules and joining up with another Au Pair Agency.

“Do we know if au pair agencies maintain a list of banned families?”, asks the Host Mom, below.

Some LCCs and ARs from different agencies but in the same community might informally share information about bad families, but I doubt that Agencies coordinate. I’d love to be wrong about that.

Writes the Host Mom,

Do we know if au pair agencies maintain a list of banned families?

We live in an area where there are a lot of au pairs. Our former au pair had a very good friend who found herself in a horrible situation – the host parents were in the process of divorcing and the host father made a pass at her. I knew this girl very well and she had a breakdown in my kitchen after it happened. I made her call her host mom and tell her about it and the LCC. She was immediately placed into rematch last year.

We have a new au pair and she met a friend who is watching two children of the same age, with the same unique names, in the same town as the au pair who was rematched. I can only believe it’s the same family, but I think they just went with a different agency.

Am I to assume there’s no “inappropriate host family” list shared among agencies? I shared the former story with my au pair and she mentioned the dad was “weird.” What do you do in this situation? I have no idea who the LCC would be since she’s not with the agency we are using.


We all believe that Au Pair Agencies should be as transparent as possible about what sends Au Pairs and Host Families into rematch.

We don’t want to recycle problem Au Pairs and problem Host Families, hoping that they can make some kind of barely adequate rematch that avoids anything illegal or unsafe, just so they can finish out their contracts.

4069384258_686874d560_mCertainly, there are a lot of concerns about what information to share.  With some rematches, both sides get angry or frustrated and want to present their side of the story in the best light.   How would we know — and how would an Agency know– who’s version of the story is actually true?

But, Host Parents need more details. We need to know if the rematch was really triggered by a “personality conflict” or by the third driving accident. We need to know if the previous Host Family was really unreasonable and broke the rules, or if they asked their Au Pair to work two Saturday nights in a row.

SameMistakeTwice Host Mom writes about this situation as both a remathcing Host Mom and a Host Mom looking at transition / rematch Au Pairs.

Is there a way to get the information she needs, where the information is reasonably reliable, without her having to go to some private Facebook group filled with vitriol?

Dear AuPairMom —

We are supposed to be in rematch or transition with our Au Pair Agency and I am extremely concerned.

It seems that we have to take the Agency’s word about the au pairs in rematch. After the initial process and experience with our first au pair. I am not convinced that the Agency does a good job screening and representing their au pairs.

We do not get to see the actual exit form of a transitional au pair but rather a summary. So, we don’t know if the information is accurate.

On the other side, we were told yesterday that our au pair would enter rematch. Based on our experience with this Au Pair, I would not want another host family to end up with her, only to have the problems repeat.

Is there a forum where the names of rematch au pairs can be disclosed, along with the reasons for rematch, so that we do not have to rely on what the agency tells us?

(We are seriously considering getting a lawyer to investigate this company and contract. If we Host Parents assume all of the risk of a potentially bad match, then what’s the purpose of an agency?)

As it stands we essentially take all of the risk in getting the au pair without even having access to the full interview (video, training etc) from her original application, much less complete information about the rematch situation.

Anyway if any of you know of a forum where the truth is disclosed I would like to join before bringing another stranger into our home.

Thanks for any help you can give.






PopularAuPair candidate faces an embarrassment of riches.

Lots and lots of  families are contacting her via the website where she’s posted her application.  She’s got many to choose from as she accepts or declines invitations for interviews.  But she’s not 100% sure of the criteria she should use.

6384342591_b9ef6295c4_mShe explains:

I’m a 20 year old American girl looking to au pair in Europe. I seem to be very popular in the applications (over 80 in 2 weeks!) and I’m getting a little overwhelmed. I’ve started to exclude any families that seem to pressure me too much (always with a very polite denial!) as I am generally a person who finds it difficult to say no.

Several of these families I’m emailing with seem really lovely.

I have about 10 families that I’m currently in the active phase of talking to. I think I can narrow it down to 5 that I wish to seriously continue getting to know. But I worry that I’m being misleading! It’s like dating many people at once!

How do you recommend that an au pair decide among several good options?
Should I feel okay just “going with my gut”?

But at the end of the day, I think I might have found the family that feels ‘right’.

They weren’t the first family I was messaging with — I’d already interacted with several families before connecting with them. They actually contacted me — I remember passing over their profile initially because it was structured in such a way that made it sound like they needed a housekeeper to help while they had a new baby. But I went ahead and skyped them, got a better feel for the situation, and it just feels perfect.

I spoke in English with the mother (who I adored!), held a brief German conversation with a very sweet and devoted father, and even got to see and answer some questions for the children ( 4 and 2). (I also got a more detailed schedule from the mom, and it sounds more like the au pair experience I’m seeking, I believe the initial outline was a language problem).

Do I take the plunge? Is my gut correct?


I want to encourage this au pair to go with the family that feels comfortable to her — with one caveat.

Discuss the contract clearly, and dig into the details to make sure you both agree on the same terms.

In too many of the emails we receive from au pairs outside the USA, the problem is that the international host family has ‘gone back on’ details of the contract– particularly related to housekeeping and hours.    I think this PopularAuPair should be very careful to discuss the contract– maybe even tell the family that the AuPairMom blog advised her to do so.

And with regard to your ‘gut’ reaction, I don’t really know another way to choose among several options that all look equally good on paper.

Other thoughts?


Image: Shuffle, by Lauren Rushing on Flickr


Your Au Pair’s Bedroom: What to provide to make your Au Pair comfortable and welcome

by cv harquail October 11, 2016

Picture yourself in this room.  Imagine that you’ve just spent 8 hours with energetic kids, talking in your second language, driving on unfamiliar streets on the wrong side of the road. Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could walk upstairs, open the door, and step into a room like this?   It doesn’t have to […]

36 comments Read the full article →

Au Pair Getting High In Our Home

by cv harquail October 9, 2016

When we know an Au Pair is doing something that contradicts our house rules, but we aren’t able to present positive proof of this, what can we do? We don’t want to be accusatory. But then again, we’re sure we’re right. We don’t need to see him or her rinsing out the bong in the […]

40 comments Read the full article →

Au Pair’s Room Is Also the Playroom. The Laundry Room. And the …

by cv harquail October 7, 2016

Here’s another email that indirectly points out how important it is that US Au Pairs and Host Families have State Department Regulations that make certain conditions mandatory. This Au Pair, writing from Europe, has discovered that her Host Family family expects the Au Pair bedroom to also be the “playroom”. US Au Pair regulations require that an […]

19 comments Read the full article →

Don’t Evaluate Your Au Pair’s Performance

by cv harquail October 5, 2016

Occasionally I get emails from Host Parents wondering about “performance reviews” for au pairs.   These emails ask whether anyone has a form they might share that helps parents evaluate Au Pairs on their performance of specific tasks.  Or, they ask if we have a feedback tracking system, where parents can set goals for au pairs’ performance […]

12 comments Read the full article →

When Interviewing Au Pairs, What’s In Your First Email?

by cv harquail October 2, 2016

How do you present your Host Family when you’re introducing yourselves to Au Pair Candidates? It’s tough to strike the right balance between selling the appealing parts of your Host Family Situation so that you draw applicants towards your family, and being realistic enough to deter candidates who’d be a really poor fit with you […]

29 comments Read the full article →

Interviewing Au Pairs, Have You Parents Ever Offered a Host Family Reference?

by cv harquail September 25, 2016

Does anyone offer a reference to the Au Pair candidates they are interviewing? While every Au Pair candidate lists at least two references that Host Families can email or call, I’ve never heard of Host Parents offering references to Au Pair candidates. This seems to be a vestige from the days when it was assumed that Host […]

33 comments Read the full article →

How Do You & Your Partner Coordinate When You’re Interviewing An Au Pair?

by cv harquail September 21, 2016

Host Parents who have partners have lots of choices about when — and even whether — to involve both parents in the Au Pair Interviewing process.     I’d love to know, among our readers, what the most common patterns are of getting each other involved. Obviously, if you have a spouse or a parenting […]

10 comments Read the full article →