Do Au Pair Agencies Really Rematch Au Pairs Who’ve Violated Safety Rules?

by cv harquail on December 30, 2013

When it comes to host parents asking for a rematch, there are many grey areas. Whose fault was the problem? Did the parties try hard enough to fix things? Is the issue worth rematching over?

We can debate these questions in almost every case. Except one– when an au pair violates a safety rule.

If an au pair does something that is blatantly unsafe, it’s time to give him or her the ‘heave ho’.  

No question about that.

martinBut what happens to that au pair when s/he leaves your home?

— Does that au pair get ‘kicked out of the program’ and sent back?
— Or, do Agencies actually put them up for rematch with another– unsuspecting– host family?

APM reader AppalledHostMom would love to know. She’s come across a situation that’s scared her:

My Au Pair told me about a situation with another Au Pair (from a different Au Pair Agency) that’s concerning me. This au pair has been here for four months, and recently went home for Christmas for a week. During her vacation, the host family found a blog that their Au Pair put on her YouTube channel, where she recorded herself on video for 45 minutes while *driving in the car *with the 20 month old baby in the car seat.

She starts the blog off by saying “sorry I can’t look at the camera, but I am driving.” At one point in the video she shushes the baby for asking for a snack.

The parents confronted her about this unsafe behavior, but the Au Pair doesn’t think she did anything wrong. Initially, she lied and said that she wasn’t driving (even though the scenery was flying by out the window). Then she recanted and said that she didn’t do anything to put the baby in danger. Except film herself while she was driving. With her host baby in the car. The video is still on youtube and the agency saw it.

Understandably, the Host Family has asked their agency for an immediate ‘rematch’ so that they can get a new au pair with better safety sense.

But here’s the kicker– it seems that the unsafe Au Pair is going back into her Agency’s rematch pool to be offered to another family.

Is this normal?

I am appalled that her agency wouldn’t instantly kick her out of the program altogether. I guess I naively thought that a safety violation such as this would be immediate grounds for kicking her out.

I would love to see what others have experienced, and what people know about how Agencies decide whether or not an au pair should be kicked out of the program.


We’d especially love to hear from Local Community Counselors and Agency reps who can share their Agency’s ‘official’ policies on this.


Image from Flickr, AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by chez marti


Should be working December 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I am a dinosaur and hence don’t fully understand. She recorded herself while driving–how does that work? I guess with some kind of mounted camera that she didn’t hold in her hand? And so where would the camera be, would it block her sightlines?

On its own, a mounted camera in the car, not blocking sightlines, is not to me so terrible. Now that I think about it, I believe some of the AP-video driving clips I’ve seen may have been produced this way, rather than with human assistance.Distraction is the problem, as in, talking to the camera or fiddling with it in any way. And posting a video of the child for all to see is for me a problem.

I’ll be curious about the answers to whether dangerous APs go back into the pool. I once interviewed a transition AP where the LCC told me she had left the 3 kids unsupervised at the neighborhood pool while she went and sunbathed. I was surprised she was eligible for rematch.

Seattle Mom December 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm

I agree that I don’t see that this would necessarily be a definite safety issue.. though I can see it being a judgment issue and leading to rematch. It just depends on how the recording was done, and whether she had to fiddle with the camera while driving. And I would hope that she got permission from the HF to have the child appear in her youtube channel, and wonder what the privacy settings were.

Still, I also wonder if APs who violate safety rules are usually kicked out of the program, or if they are just recycled by the agency with another family. When we went into transition with our old AP our LCC made it clear that it was up to her whether our ex-AP was eligible for rematch. She said if there was a safety issue she would have her sent home. I believe her. But if it is up to LCC discretion, maybe some would stay and some would go.

Host Mom in the City December 30, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Well maybe I’m really old-school, but when you’re driving, you should be exclusively focused on driving. Even if you’re not directly fiddling with the camera, you’re still talking and posing and making sure the camera doesn’t fall, etc. – all things that are taking your mind off DRIVING A VEHICLE. This would be a major judgment error and I would rematch immediately and make absolutely certain the AP got sent home.

Now I wi say that I personally know that there are rematch APs who have judgment errors as the reason for their rematch and they’re still in the pool. Our LCC shares the reason though, but I worry that others don’t or that host parents don’t know enough to ask.

Seattle Mom December 31, 2013 at 6:15 pm

All good points. It does sound like a really stupid and dangerous thing to do.

HRHM December 31, 2013 at 9:08 am

My past AP did this without the kids in the car and yes she was HOLDING the camera while she drove with one hand. So that may be the case here as well. She lost all “advanced” driving priveleges including keeping the car out at night, road trips, driving with friends in the car (this was done with another AP in the car on the way to a party) etc. It was very close to the end of her year and she already had an extension family lined up or we may have rematched.

jblv January 20, 2014 at 6:10 am

Okay, so this is a thing?!? Au Pairs are filming themselves driving in the US? The agencies need to stop this ASAP, and we host families need to come down hard on this. Driving while filming is against the law and very dangerous. I just did a quick search on Youtube. I’m guessing AP’s are filming themselves so people (other women thinking about au pairing?!?!?!) see what it’s like to drive here:
Caption reads “I talk too much, I know … hahahha =)” in Portuguese. It is an 11 minute video!!! and she appears to be all over the road.

Another Brazilian au pair:

hOstCDmom December 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Our first AP could not drag herself from her computer/Internet while on duty. She was on duty with my 2 youngest children (only adult at home), and left my then 1 and 2 year olds alone, went upstairs to her room, and was online/on computer. Obviously not watching the kids, who were pretty objectively of an age where direct supervision is the only kind of supervision.

Fast forward 30 min — my neighbor calls me ( I was out), to ask where I am…because he has my 1 and 2 year olds….who were out playing in the gutter at the edge of the road..!!!!!! They let themselves out of the house, walked down off the porch, and went to play in our front yard and driveway. They were playing with the storm drain, throwing sticks in it, standing in the sidewalk gutter at the edge of a BUSY ROAD in the heart of a college town — one of those where the speed limit is 25mph, but folks drive 45mph!

Neighbor came out to water his garden, saw them, watched for a minute, realized that no adult was present, collected the kids, brought them into his house, and then called me. But here’s the kicker — it took him 30 min to reach me (I was at a doctor appointment and had my phone off) and thus HE HAD MY KIDS IN HIS HOUSE FOR 30 MINUTES AND THE AP NEVER NOTICED!

When I arrived home, about 5 minutes after the neighbor called me, she was still up on her computer!

We requested immediate rematch, and stated the reason, offering the option for the agency to also speak with our neighbor.

Somewhat shockingly, the AP was matched with another family! this was with an agency where the prospective HP can call the previous ones, and to those who did I gave the story – just the facts, no drama or commentary. I stated it as I have here in this post. Well, none of those HP wanted to match with her — so the agency stopped giving my contact details to prospective HP and had them contact the LCC instead!

Seattle Mom December 30, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Wow- what a terrible story! Could I ask what agency you were with?
My understanding is that with my agency (CCAP) it is up to the LCC to recommend whether the AP should be eligible for rematch or not.. and I’m pretty sure that if there was a safety violation she would say NO. But I can guess that in some cases the LCC might not agree that there was a safety issue- although this one seems pretty clear-cut. I would be pretty livid. Did you discuss your concern with the LCC/agency?

hOstCDmom December 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm

We were with CCAP at the time.

We had a terrible LCC –a kind of whacked out, ditzy, unprofessional type.

I guess she must have recommended that the AP be eligible for rematch, or else I don’t know how it would have happened.

I know lots of rematch situations are grey, and what doesn’t work for one AP-HF combo could work for another…but in our case I felt that this situation was clear cut GROSS NEGLIGENCE. Seriously – if *I* as the parent had done the same thing, the neighbor could have called DCF and I’m pretty sure DCF would have investigated! All it would take was a few steps by a 1 or 2 year old to be right in the path of oncoming traffic, and even a car driving the speed limit would likely not see and thus run down and kill a toddler who walked in front of the car.

I did discuss my concerns very, very explicitly with the LCC and higher up at the agency. I told them they were inviting a lawsuit if this AP ever did anything similar in the future and injury or death to a child resulted, because I would be first on the list that future HF’s lawyer to call and depose!!

jblv January 20, 2014 at 5:32 am

So, I went to do the dinner dishes, but I couldn’t get your story out of my head. This is truly, truly nightmarish. Please, please, please hostmoms if anything likes this happens again, even remotely, this is what we do:

1. CALL THE POLICE. What this au pair did was “CHILD ENDANGERMENT.” It is criminal.
2. Press charges against the au pair and sue the agency you went through. This is the fastest, most effective way to affect change.

The goal for every agency is to try to prevent this as much as possible. The innovative, thoughtful agencies will do so. The agencies that cannot innovate will go by the wayside.

Here is more general information on child endangerment:

*Your child does not need to suffer any actual harm – it is enough that the child was put in a dangerous situation! While there is a long list of actions that may constitute child endangerment, it is sufficient that your child was put in a position where the child might have suffered “unjustifiable” physical or mental pain.

*In most states, child endangerment can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the crime. In this case, it’s highly likely that it would have been labeled a felony. (Toddlers were playing in the street for F*#*@*’s sake.) The RISK of great bodily harm = felony charges.

NoVA Twin Mom December 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm

We sent an au pair into rematch this summer who shook every time she described how my two year old would try to hug her. I moved my kids to my parents’ house 600 miles away because I was afraid to leave them with her based on some of the things she said to me, and they stayed there six weeks while we waited for our new au pair to be available (she’s an extension au pair).

She was allowed to rematch – at least they seem to have listened to me when I said she should only be with kids old enough to tell their parents what was going on. She seems to have landed in one of the “cushy” “just chauffeur some young teens around the NYC suburbs after school” jobs all au pairs dream of. Which, while admittedly a better fit than our “45 hours a week with toddlers but we try to offset that with a great ‘part of the family’ experience” household, still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That new family never contacted me, and I wonder if my agency also had people contact the LCC instead of me, knowing there was no way I would give her a remotely positive recommendation

I still wonder if the outcome would have the same if our REAL LCC had been in town instead of on vacation – we were pretty clearly one more thing on her plate when everything fell apart 3 days into her time with us.

One recommendation when interviewing au pairs “in transition” – ask if they’re currently caring for the kids. Ours sure wasn’t – and I bet HOstCDmom’s gem wasn’t either :) if they say they aren’t – find out why. I think ours told prospective families we had her stop taking care of our kids so she’d better be able to look for a new host family. Not exactly what we said, but since she was living with us (while the kids weren’t – talk about awkward…) we didn’t clarify, figuring prospective host families would question this arrangement. None asked me, in any case

NoVA Twin Mom December 30, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Let me clarify – I think our real LCC would have handled the situation better than her “sub”, who was handling two large clusters that holiday week (4th of July timeframe) – her own and ours. But we wound up with a FANTASTIC aupair that we would have been “out of cycle” for otherwise. I just can’t help but wish that her behavior in our house would have had consequences other than landing such a plum assignment.

Maybe the question needs to be rephrased – what DOES get an au pair sent home?

hOstCDmom December 30, 2013 at 6:10 pm

You’re correct — we “relieved” her of her childcare duties immediately!!

Seattle Mom December 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Great point about asking the current HF if the AP is still working while in transition. And now I feel even more strongly that I would never take a rematch AP without talking directly to the HF.

Especially after HostmomDC’s story- OMG!

It does seem unfair that your ex-AP landed a cushy job, but I guess as long as she can drive and deal with teenagers it’s ok.

Seattle Mom December 30, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Whoops HostCDmom’s story… getting names mixed up here.

NoVA Twin Mom December 31, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Not just ask the current HF, because as we’ve seen, it may be that yoh sonehow won’t talk to them. Ask whoever you do get a hold of. Relieving an au pair of childcare duties during the two week rematch period is a PAIN. You end up paying for or arranging two sets of child care – one you aren’t using (the depar ting au pair) and one you are. It’s not a decision made lightly, so if an au pair tells you they’re not taking care od the kids you need to find out why.

I realize I’m xoming across very anti rematch aupairs. We’ve sent two into different families. The first was very cordial, she wasn’t going to be happy with us and all of us realized it – but I thought my kids were safe with her. We didn’t love the next au pair as a roommate, but loved the way she cared for the kids. She finished her year and extended with another family. With the situation I’m describing, I did not dare leave my children with her because I thought she had some undiagnosed depression issues based on what she was telling me and based on some of the questions her mother was asking (I speak her native language). I told APIA all of this and they allowed her to rematch.

Like others have said, I’ve also met au pairs caught between a rock and a hard place, with bad host families, who get up the courage to ask for rematch and can’t find a new family and end up going home.

I just want To emphasize not to think all safety risks are sent home. As someone points out downpage, do your own investigation.

Skny December 30, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Apia will send them home for safety concerns. Or at least used to. 2 girls who were on my training (in 2004) were kicked out of the program. One because she let the 8yo ride home alone from park while she drove the toddler (and 8yo got lost). The other forgot the gait separating stairs from main level to basement open, and a young child fell and got hurt.

NoVA Twin Mom December 31, 2013 at 10:04 am

They might at times- but if so, its definitely at the LCC’s discretion.

As I pointed out, I feared for my kids’ safety enough to take the kids out of the house ( while keeping the au pair for two weeks in accordance with agency rules…). Yet APIA rematched her. One would think the fact that I removed my own kids from what I found to be a dangerous situation would be enough to trigger a higher level review – and believe me, I made sure corporate knew about it – but apparently not. The LCC covering our LCC’s vacation allowed the au pair to rematch.

HRHM January 2, 2014 at 9:51 am

If you house them for 2 weeks but they don’t work, my understanding is that you are not required to pay – was that your experience?

hOstCDmom January 2, 2014 at 10:11 am

This was our experience. When the foregoing happened (AP who let toddlers walk out of the house/didn’t notice) we housed for 12 long days… (2 days short of the 2 weeks), but we did not pay a stipend because we did not have the AP on duty and she did not perform any childcare related duties.

NoVA Twin Mom January 2, 2014 at 11:41 am

We had to pay her. I raised the issue to corporate, who gave us a “statement credit” to offset what we had to pay her, but we did have to pay her.

Again, all the “regulars” were off that week, but their logic was that since the pay is a stipend and not salary, and not directly tied to her work hours, we had to pay her.

I also raised the fact that her behavior meant she had a two week all-expenses paid vacation in our home while she looked for a new host family (and how would that look to the many au pairs who we all know were watching the situation), but APIA didn’t seem concerned.

I was SO fed up with the situation at that point that I just paid and took the statement credit.

anon this time December 31, 2013 at 1:10 am

A friend of mine told me how CCAP offered her au pair to other families after the girl physically hurt her child (twisted his arm out, requiring medical treatment)…. and that girl did go on to her THIRD family (my friend was the second that year)
I think CCAP errs on the side of making money. It costs money to send au pairs home before the profit is squeezed out of them. On the other hand, they fabricated a reason to kick us out of the program after two quick rematches one year, because obviously we became a money loser for them.
I have personally had experience with another agency trying to offer my rematch au pair to other families after she repeatedly endangered my kids (leaving them unsupervised while skyping in her room, leaving the baby in the car…..), and I had to write a very detailed letter documenting every incident to the agency and warning them about consequences in order for them to change the decision and send her home. Oh, and the rematch was for chronic lying – we discovered the endangerment after that one came to surface. So chronic lying alone was insufficient to send her home. That same agency on another occasion also once overruled my LCC recommendation to send home another au pair we rematched with for lying (and hatred of the children in general, but that we tried to work with), and send her to another (her third that year) family. I heard she didn’t last there long either. This agency was Interexchange. I find they really err on the side of the au pair in rematch situations. Or used to, I haven’t been with them for several years. They also don’t let you speak to the previous host family.

ToniSoontobeanAmericanAupairintheNetherlands December 31, 2013 at 4:37 am

Hmm, I’m not a host parent, but I’ll be an Au Pair in 1 day and a half I leave New years. But anyway, when she was driving, it does make me wonder if the camera was mounted. Because you press started before you turn on the car and you leave it. I don’t feel she was in the wrong, if she didn’t fiddle with the camera. I have seen a video on youtubue(a few) about a day in the life of au pairs and they all show them driving the kids to school, one of them even had her host mom video as she had no mount. I can still see the safety concerns but I didn’t think she should be immediatly if she was texting and driving..enough said..that’s child endangerment.

TexasHM December 31, 2013 at 7:13 am

I don’t know of any safety issue rematch APs that I’ve heard of in the last 3 yrs with APIA but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. The ones in our area were for lying about smoking, falling asleep while sunbathing and top untied fell down so kids, dad, neighbor got an eyeful, lying about skills (driving/swimming).
I don’t mean to hijack this thread but I have a rematch question of my own and I’m desperate for you alls objective advice. We have an awesome AP that extended and is in the very beginning of her second year. She took a trip to NYC at the beginning of Nov, apparently fell in love with it there and we are now in rematch not because of anything we did (she has told everyone we did nothing wrong and we are the best HF ever and I mean everyone). Here’s my problem. I could tell the last month her heart wasn’t in it but I thought she was homesick. We made extra efforts to help her but normally she tells me everything, but this she his from us so we got the surprise on Christmas Day that we were not going to have her another year, she is going to rematch (or go home if she can’t get what she’s looking for).
Also, she gave no hint of the NY desire so I found out from
a call from another HM in the area from another agency who is a great friend of mine. She was shocked I didn’t know because her AP and my AP are not that close and because normally, our AP tells us EVERYTHING.
So here’s the rub – we LOVE our AP and she’s been fantastic up until recently but I struggle with a few things. A – should an agency place an AP in her “new dream” area on a whim like this? What kind of message does that send to the rest of the cluster/area? (The word is totally out on the street and all are watching closely). There is not a malicious bone in our APs body and part of her reason for this is her heart is not in it right now 100% and she says our family is too amazing to have an AP that’s checked out and we deserve better.
Do we recommend her? She was awesome, but now she surprised us on Christmas with a rematch essentially without cause. She wasn’t entirely honest with us about the reason (I just need a change of scenery because I’m homesick and I need a change of pace). Right now she’s still caring for the kids and doing a great job and she committed to us up to the end of March (our request before we knew about the geo request) so that we have time to transition and have options.
Right now we are looking at in country extensions, rematch APs and out of country APs but once we find a fit then she starts looking and then what? I know if she looks for 2 weeks and doesn’t find a family she will ask for more time (we have a guest room) and I’m sure will ask for a recommendation. She is very aware that she might not find a match and would go home and she’s ready to accept that but says she couldn’t live with herself if she didn’t at least “try for her dream”.
At the end of the day I’m agonized because while I don’t want an AP whose heart is somewhere else, she did make a commitment to us (she stalked me to get that extension paperwork in and then I had to fight hard because her college credits wouldn’t be fulfilled until 4 weeks after her second year term started so Feb 1). If she just had just posted as an extension AP for a second year we would have been totally fine with it and supported her, but she swears she didn’t know at the time that a weekend trip for a friends bachelorette party would end everything and we believe her.
What do we do? House her longer as long as she continues to be great and trains the new AP? What do I tell the incoming AP about all this? Do we recommend her? Do agencies place girls who rematch only for geo change of heart? Please help me see the forest through the trees on this!

Taking a Computer Lunch December 31, 2013 at 8:08 am

I think you need mediation. Ask your LCC to come and mediate the meeting with your AP and settle on departure terms together – whether she goes into rematch now, or she waits and trains an incoming AP (if you match with an out-of-country AP then she should know that it could be 6-8 weeks). Your LCC should also be able to tell her the likelihood of rematching in her favorite destination and penalties for not being able to rematch (e.g. paying for her flight home).

When you have a calmer moment, think of things she’ll need to do – like surrender her cell phone, submit a change-of-address form with the post office, close her bank account, (your LCC should be able to help you with this – especially if she’s been working for a while).

If your outgoing AP still feels as kind-hearted toward your family as she says, then elicit her assistance in selecting her successor.

Finally, it sounds like this AP is accustomed to getting her own way – having an extension without completing her credits. Believe me when I say you don’t want her in your house for any longer than it takes to train an incoming AP (personally, having done an overlap once, I recommend not having her train the incoming AP and giving yourself a break between APs). Do not give her an extended vacation in your home at your expense!! If she can’t find the match of her dreams in the two weeks allotted, then let her go home.

Should be working December 31, 2013 at 9:14 am

I believe she was coached by other APs with that language of “homesick and need a change” because those are ‘reasons’ that CCAP would definitely allow for rematch. The main one I have heard is “they didn’t treat me like a member of the family” even where the HF says the AP didn’t want to spend a moment with them. It’s an acceptable reason for rematch. Just like “communication problems with host family” instead of “AP didn’t accept HF’s rules”. Your AP actually is telling “sort of the truth”, which is more than a lot of rematch candidates can say.

We too had a good AP beg for extension and then 3 months into extension (recently) decide to leave us — all for reasons I foresaw when I gave in on the extension despite my better judgment. It is maddening. And apart from the stress and resentment, there is the COST. The agency gives a reduction for extension, and now we have to cough up the difference because we are getting an AP out of rematch (who is also an extension AP).

As maddening as it is, I do not oppose rematching APs with “geo change of heart”. I recommend doing whatever is in your own best interest–house her as long as you need her and she’s good enough, and not a moment longer. I would not go for overlap.

Multitasking Host Mom December 31, 2013 at 11:40 am

I know this situation real stinks for you, but my recommendation would be to take the high road…You will feel better in the long run. She has not technically left you in the lurch, by giving you sometime to find a new au pair, and it sounds like she will continue to provide good child care during that time. Those acts should at least be acknowledged. So I think you should recommend her, and give an honest appraisal of her skills. Looking back on my younger self I know I made a lot of snap decisions that I would not have made now. I think it is the nature of that late teens/early twenties age. Here’s hoping that your AP ends up with a host family in NYC that is no where near as nice as you all are, and that she regrets her choice…sorry that is my non-high road self showing through;)

Seattle Mom December 31, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I agree with all of the advice you have been given. I have only one additional idea for you: if you speak to potential rematch HFs, be 100% honest in your appraisal of your AP. That means, tell them how great she is with the kids and how you were really looking forward to a second year with her. But also tell them that she sprung this rematch on you and that she wasn’t honest about her reasons. To me that seems fair- in fact you might want to warn potential HFs that she may not be 100% rock solid reliable, even if they have a great relationship.

TexasHM December 31, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Thank you so much all! We are going high road all the way and as much as I wonder about what family she will get in rematch I wish her the best. Wish it had been handled better but as you all said, could be much worse and our LCC has been fantastic. Here’s to 2014!!

Skny December 31, 2013 at 8:08 am

Their contract does not say she needs a reason to rematch. Just that she may not find a family and return home. Yes, they will rematch her. And even though it seems it sends the wrong message, in reality there is a very likely chance she may match with a bad family, and au pairs in the area will also know.
I feel if she has agreed to stay until march, and is doing a great job, you should recommend her. If you worked on a job and wanted to relocate, you would expect your employer to give you a recommendation even though you are only leaving due to geo area.
As long as she is working well, you should be honest about reasons and her work. Just be honest to other families.
Finally, I would not house for more than 2 weeks, because it is real world and choices have consequences. It is a learning experience

TexasHM December 31, 2013 at 10:24 am

Great feedback as always, another host mom just called me with the idea to put her in rematch two weeks before our new AP arrives and then if she needs an extra week she helps train (she doesn’t have any bad habits I’m worried about) but if she matches and needs to go she goes, but at least that way we would all have a set last possible departure date well in advance.

jblv January 20, 2014 at 5:01 am

My guess is that she went into rematch when she found a host family in that city. This happened with us when we were with CCAP. Our “great” au pair left us just as I was returning from maternity leave to work. Our “great” au pair had just returned home from her second week of vacation (we helped her get to Hawaii), and she decided she “needed to be by the beach.” She had already found another host family in San Diego when she came to us with the rematch request. She took two avenues:, and she also contacted a CC in San Diego.

Ihopeulikemykids December 31, 2013 at 10:16 am

I’m with Apia, and had a similar thing happen this past fall. Our AP was taking care of my twin 4 year olds, put them on their bikes, and one took off into a five way intersection, where my friend had to slam on her brakes and swerve to not hit her. Se got out of the car, hugged my kids, made sure she was ok, and then the AP walked up and said “well, I told her to stop.” The Ap never told me about it, I heard from my friend. I told my counselor, expressly discussed this was a safety concern (also not the first time she let my kids out in the street without running after them).

Long discussions with the LCC, and an agreement thatnshenmig be salvageable with much older kids. One week later, she matches with a family with a three year old. In our tiny cluster. Long heated “discussion” with the counselor and agency follows.

I think all agencies do it, if they can get away with it. Another host mom said something that made me feel better. We should all get over thinking the agencies really do anything for us other than the legal paperwork. The rest is on us. It stinks, but it’s the way it is, and sort of freeing.

another NoVa Hostmom December 31, 2013 at 10:18 am

I believe in any situation, every time, the agency will give the AP the latitude/benefit to rematch – no matter the reason. They hold the HFs to a much higher standard and burden of proof than I have seen for any AP. Why? the money trail. they get someone else to pay for the AP again and you then have to pay the difference for your new AP. plain and simple. If as a HF we didn’t follow the rules and/or just on a fancy said we want a rematch – we would get you have to try, give it 30days… but, if like above, the AP just wants a change because they changed their mind – oh well that is OK. the AP commitment doesn’t really matter and they have absolutely nothing to lose. they get what they want or they go home – wow. As a HF we get chaos, turmoil, job/childcare shuffle, money lost or more money spent …. We have been with several agencies (as i see them as all the same) and they all treat the issues the same from what i can tell. So safety issue or randomness i don’t trust any agency to necessarily do the right thing – I think it is on the HF to do the due diligence. And for rematch a discussion with the old HF is an absolute – I can filter what may be the truth or emotion, don’t need the LCC or agency to do that for me.

omdg January 2, 2014 at 3:06 pm

I really wonder what would happen if a HF just said to the LCC, “Look, we just don’t like this au pair. She is a horrible fit with the family. We refuse to work with her any longer. Rematch us now.” what would happen. Any experience with this? I am just curious. (We LOVE our current au pair. She is extending with us for a year, and this message board scares the pants off of me!)

Julie December 31, 2013 at 11:24 am

I’m a host mom and LCC. From the inside, I can tell you it depends on the agency. CCAP is required to report all safety issues as reported by family, LCC, program director and au pair. We also supply the contact information for host family and LCC in the transition notes. It is a matter of legality to tell all issues about the au pair in the notes, which any family would get. I can tell you that we don’t want to place an au pair again if there is any safety concern and many au pairs get sent home. Some are more vague and that’s when being able to speak with the previous hot family and LCC are important. I ALWAYS recommend a call to the LCC. They usually have a prett good read on the situation.

I do have to say that I occasionally see some weird notes about safety and that’s when the call to LCC will also tell me that the family might be difficult of have some issues. I knew a great au pair who witnessed abuse of the children by the host dad. She told her LCC and since agencies are mandatory reporters, they had to call Child protective services. The family got angry and said the au pair hurt the children too, which is an immediate trip back home. There is
Absolutely no way to keep an au pair after that allegation, even if they aren’t true. Some families can be vindictive.

I think it’s very important that agencies tell families
why the au pair is in transition and provide contact information for the current family and LCC. If they don’t, you really have to question why you don’t get that information.

I can say that of our 6 au pairs, 4 were with other families first and they were all awesome. I love transition au pairs. They are so grateful to find a good family. Anyone is welcome to contact me and I’ll help you through any CCAP transition.

Seattle Mom December 31, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Thanks Julie. Just out of curiosity, is there any way for an AP to protect herself from a potentially vindictive family? That is such a sad scenario.

Julie January 2, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Other than bad karma, there is nothing the au pair can do when they have been wrongly accused. It’s a he-said/she-said kind of scenario and it’s too much of a liability to keep the au pair on the program. I’ve seen bad things happen to good au pairs. Because the alleged abuse is reported, though (or theft or whatever), the police do get informed. When people act vindictively, it does tend to come back to them, but other than that, there’s nothing we can say but sorry. The au pairs might feel unsupported by the agency because they get sent home, but often families are taken off the program. Usually when something like this comes out, it happens again and it becomes expensive and time-consuming to deal with those families. The problem is, even if we discontinue a family from our organization, they can just get an au pair through another agency.

Andrea April 22, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Julie- I am currently with CCAP and would love to get in contact with you as I have had quite the experience. All of my au pairs evaluations were actually for someone else and we have been trying to deal with it since January. Our AP is very nice but doesn’t speak english, have the experience we thought (based on the wrong evaluations), and it doesn’t seem to be working. I can tell you our LCC is NOT AT ALL INVOLVED, everyone in the community is aware of her lack of involvement and even the other AP’s in the community say she is just simply awful. I am just looking for sage advice.

Multitasking Host Mom December 31, 2013 at 11:43 am

I would really like to think that the agencies, realizing their liability in all of this, would not rematch someone who is a danger to children. But I guess everyone sees situations differently, and decisions are often made on not much hard evidence, so I could see how APs could make it back in the pool. Our one situation with an au pair who was extending with another family made me realize this. Our AP was so-so and just not a good fit for our family. It was never bad enough for re-match, but we had put up with a lot of “grey area” and I knew she would need a certain kind of host family situation for her to succeed in her second year. When I filled out the host family recommendation form for her extension, I just wrote down some accurate adjectives and left it at that, since I fully expected the prospective host families to call me. I figured in the course of the conversation, once I knew their situation, I would be able to accurately access if I could recommend our AP to them. I think this was new naïve host family thinking. I also randomly stumbled upon what our LCC had written as a recommendation. None of it was a lie, but she definitely only highlighted the good parts and didn’t mention anything about the issues that she knew we were struggling with. The host family she matched with did not call us…I know the AP only picked them because of their location in the US…and I saw red flags immediately when I learned more about the family from our outgoing AP (Namely that the new family had a child with anxiety issues similar to my child. I am sure the other family thought they were getting someone with experience in this, but the thing was the AP never had the patience to deal with my child’s issues and resorted to blatantly ignoring him in favor of my other children.) Unfortunately though, it was only a few days before she was leaving us to go to this new family and too late then to do anything about it. (The AP ended up only lasting several months with this family, and after going into rematch, opted to go home.) This whole situation taught me to gather all the information I can and not to take anything at face value when choosing an AP. And if I am ever in the situation of interviewing a rematch or extension AP, I will definitely contact the current host family.

Seattle Mom December 31, 2013 at 6:46 pm

I just can’t understand *not* contacting the current HF for a rematch or extension AP. We have an extension AP (from another family) who has worked out great for our family, and it really helped to talk to the last HM. The HM told me what she perceived as the APs weaknesses, and in talking to her I could tell that we had different priorities and family styles. I think the AP was a better fit for our more laid back family (and going from 5 kids to 2- that is probably easier for anyone).

HRHM January 2, 2014 at 10:01 am

I can say from experience that most HFs, especially new ones, have no idea that they CAN talk to the prior HF. My first 2 APs where transitions and in both cases, I took them without speaking to the HF they were coming from. I did speak to the LCC, but in hindsight, that was not enough. Both were miserable failures with the first AP leaving and returning to FL and her boyfriend within 48 hours of arriving. The second made it almost the whole year before her lying, stealing and psych issues caught up with her (and us!)

But without a place like APMom or friends with experience, how would a new HF know – the agency and LCC certainly never offerred!

Julie January 2, 2014 at 11:36 am

CCAP includes the contact information in the transition notes, which all host families would receive if they are reviewing a transition au pair. Do other agencies not provide any notes about the experience the family and au pair had together?!? Do you just receive the application?

Host Mom in the City January 2, 2014 at 12:36 pm

APIA includes notes and contact info too. Not sure about other agencies.

Seattle Mom January 2, 2014 at 2:41 pm

I’m with CCAP too… and I recall our LCC encouraging us to contact the outgoing HF and LCC. We were so lucky though when we were in transition, because we happened to have an excellent & very experienced LCC who was only filling in for our cluster while they hired & trained someone new (the old one had just quit- she was good too, but not an old pro like the temporary one).

Host Mom X January 2, 2014 at 3:37 pm

APC provides notes (usually pretty vague), and will NOT provide contact information for the prior family. But you can ask for the contact information from the au pair. If an AP would not provide it, I would not continue to interview that au pair.

Boys Mama January 3, 2014 at 5:07 pm

I’ve been on both sides of this. We got our best AP via rematch and never talked to the HF. She was in our cluster so we knew her and knew the HF was outright crazy and abusive, the LCC backed up the APs stories. She was absolutely stellar for us. CCAP kept putting poor APs with that family to be rematched out as soon as they could get out. I never felt the need to connect with that family.

We also sent out a terrible AP… Drunken lying party girl with cleptomaniac friends… And after about 5 interviews with potential HFs the agency realized that no one would take her if they talked to me. So they obviously started telling families that I was a difficult monster not to be taken seriously. The HM who actually took the AP from us was clearly under the impression that I was trying to taint the reputation of a sweet young AP… She ignored my advice and didn’t last a few weeks with the sweet girl herself.

I love the advice above… Don’t fool yourself into thinking the agency is out to help anyone but their own bottom line. Fend for yourself.

JS December 31, 2013 at 2:09 pm

I have been an LCC for 8 years so I can pretty much say I’ve seen it all. I’ve had to send a few AP’s home for some reasons and had to kick some HF’s off of the program as well.

I can pretty much say that it is a full agency decision between myself & my program director that makes the decision as to whether to rematch an AP or send her home. Sometimes it is more of a bad judgement issue and not a “safety” issue and some new HF’s even after knowing it and speaking with the AP about it will still match. I am very up front if we try and rematch an AP.

I had one AP who was dealing with a very difficult, aggressive host child and this AP was the sweetest, quietest girl. But one day she just lost it and snapped and yelled at the girl and called her a racial slur. Of course the HF sent her packing and we couldn’t rematch her because how could we tell another HF what she said-no one would take her. I had another AP who was taking care of 4 kids. The two youngest twins were extremely active and running all around the house. One of the older kids suggested to the AP that while the twins were in the basement, just lock the door. The AP listened to that child and locked the door. HF found out and was livid (as well as they should be). We decided to rematch her cause she really was remorseful about her poor decision & we were 100% honest with her potential new HF. They decided to take the chance and rematch. I think all went well after that.

I think sometimes people make mistakes and we need to give them a chance to learn. I think the situation with the driving is a bad judgement and she might be given a 2nd chance but the AP who was not aware that the children left the home and was still on the computer was a safety issue and should not watch children. But that’s my opinion.

Julie January 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

Great feedback–and totally agree! I had one au pair who went into transition because the au pair allowed the 4 year old to get out of the front door while on duty. But it turned out that she had locked the door, but the host parents had come home and unlocked it. She expected the door to be locked, but it wasn’t & the kid got out. Unsafe? Absolutely. But not a situation that warranted sending an au pair home. She is happily with another family.

Seattle Mom January 2, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I agree.. sometimes people make honest mistakes. Some mistakes are the result of serious personality/character flaws that indicate that the person shouldn’t be an AP, and sometimes they are a learning experience for the AP.

Host Mom in the City January 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm

I’ve never been in this situation, so I guess I can’t really say how I’d feel. But there are so so many au pair candidates out there – something like 500 available right now on APIA and CC alone and at this really off matching period. I just couldn’t see taking someone who had made this kind of judgment error – an error that apparently another host family decided was bad enough to end the match for. I guess if you are in rematch and really need someone quickly, you’d just settle?

jblv January 20, 2014 at 6:26 am

JS, the casual manner in which you mention some of the safety problems really concerns me. I am unsure how you can characterize an au pair who yells a racial slur at a child as the “sweetest, quietest girl.” If the child had an anxiety issue, and the au pair was having a difficult time adjusting to the host child, she should have put herself in rematch. That is the mature, adult thing to do. Giving an au pair a “free pass” because she is young/foreign/etc is simply not acceptable. We give these young women our children to care for. We MUST have high expectations for them. To hear an LCC/CC/AD speak so casually about these safety problems is disconcerting.

Again, with the AP who locked the door on the “wild” twins, well, I’m a little appalled at the casual way this is discussed. If the AP was having trouble taking care of four children, she should have gone into rematch well before the incident happened. LCC’s/CC’s/AD’s should counsel host families that if they have large families or especially active children, they should get an AP with formal childcare experience, (I just hired a kindergarten teacher. They are out there!), and probably an AP who is a little older and more mature. But, this doesn’t excuse the behavior of the AP, or the agency for not recognizing the maturity level of this AP. What if the next family had a less than ideal child? From what you described, there is nothing that suggests the young woman was capable of recognizing when she was in over her head. And that is dangerous. With the next host family she knows not to lock children in basements – but other things she doesn’t know… well, that is scary to contemplate.

momto3 January 1, 2014 at 2:46 am

I’m a host mom, as well as an LCC, safety issues are the worst (for the family) and typically the easiest (as an LCC). I have had to work closely with host families when there are safety issues with au pairs – and I have to say in all of those situations we were able to document the issues (immediately, every time, and build the paper trail) so that when the decision was made – there was no decision to be made, and the au pair was sent home. Only once in 5+ years did the agency put an au pair into rematch that I had recommended not to rematch for safety concerns – and in that case I phoned the office and had a heart to heart with the head of the agency about the risk (ie litigation) the agency was being placed in by re-matching the au pair. After a quick re-evaluation, the au pair was sent home. I think if we effectively do our job we have to advocate for both the host family and the au pair when it is appropriate – there are times that the AP is definitely at fault, and I’ve had similar situations where the HF is at fault (and in some instances, the host family had to be removed from the program).

I’ve found that a lot of situations where I have the details – that other au pairs or host families often only have part of the details — and that when someone is surprised that a family or au pair is allowed to rematch and they are upset, that there may be more to the story.

My advice to any host family who is dealing with safety issues is to document, document, document. Instead of calling the LCC, put the issue into writing. Every time. Build the paper trail. Emotions out – just the facts, and ask for a response from the AP so that they acknowledge the behavior, and agree that they are going to try and fix the issue. When it doesn’t happen, it makes it easier. And if it truly is a serious issue – take the next step. Police report if needed and get it on file. In any serious issue where a host family or host child is in jeopardy, the au pair can be removed immediately from a home – and if the au pair is in jeopardy from actions of the host family or children we can also remove… Document it all, and pray that it isn’t your family…

Taking a Computer Lunch January 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm

I agree about documentation. Whenever we have to have a conversation about responsibilities, a “reset your attitude,” or a conversation after a crisis, we do several things. 1) If we are having attitude issues or have had a crisis (a couple of car accidents in 13 years of hosting – fortunately none with kids in the car) – we contact the LCC immediately, in writing, and ask her advice. Then, after any serious conversation, we send a follow-up email to the au pair (no matter how good her English is, chances are the information is easier to digest on paper) and copy the LCC visibly, so the AP is aware that the LCC has received the information. Having copied the LCC, we ask her to contact the AP and have a follow-up conversation. Sometimes, it is an issue of the AP becoming aware that our expectations are not unrealistic and the LCC helps to confirm that. Sometimes, we want the LCC to make sure that the AP is ready to move forward.

We are very fortunate to have an excellent LCC, but we use her whenever we feel that the AP needs to have a chat – even if it is not a HF-AP situation (sometimes a best friend will leave and our AP will need a pick-up, etc.). We also tell the LCC (and the AP) when things are going well (frequently with a great AP who follows a mediocre one we’ll remind the LCC how easy life is when we’re happy).

We have, over the years, been the HF contact for APs whose own HF have become vindictive whom we know well (because they have spent a lot of time in our house or with our family). We have also hosted several rematch APs – only once did we get burned – by an AP who slapped a HK. While she lived with us, she stole many items from our AP, including cash, and then had the chutzpah to call our AP and ask to borrow money so she could buy a ticket home.

TexasHM January 2, 2014 at 12:46 am

I tend to agree with the LCC above on the learning curve. IF it was truly a mistake/cultural difference and the girl is truly remorseful and the mistake was not as severe as the above mentioned kids out of the house and gone for 30 minutes (WTH!) then I could see being honest with the next HF and rematching her. There was one AP in rematch because the AP told the kids they couldn’t swim in the rain and then the HM working from home overruled her and said they could so the AP stood inside the kitchen watching out the window vs standing in the rain by the pool. Kids in full sight, HM walked in and lost it. They rematched on her due to “a safety issue” but my friend that was looking at matching with her wondered what that HM was thinking in the first place having the kids swim in the pouring rain and wanting the AP to sit there in it. Similar to the example above with the older kid convincing the AP to lock the door on the younger ones. First of all my older kid would be lucky to survive the conversation we would have with him but I don’t know that I would stop her from going to another family. This plays into the driving example above – were there kids in the car? Was it mounted? If the answer is no and yes then I agree it is dumb but I don’t know how unsafe it would be and if it would be worth rematching over. So much gray area in the AP program and like that LCC said, I have heard numerous stories where once I heard both sides they had a completely different context so I take everything heard on the street with a grain of salt.

Momma Gadget January 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm

The issues that stand out for me the most is the AP first lying that she was driving,Then when indisputable evidence pointed out, refusing to acknowledge that she did anything wrong Obviously she knew it was wrong, or she wouldn’t have lied about it in the first place. The unwillingness to take responsibility for the mistake shows a huge lack of maturity that one would think makes her unsuitable to be an AP! How can she learn from her mistakes if she refuses to see them in the first place?
Moreover-with all the crack downs on distracted driving ( like texting etc.) I am really surprised that the agency didn’t view this as a huge liability.

TexasHM- I agree with you and the others: high road ! Especially since you did have a successful year with her, and she has agreed to stay on for a bit longer.
Do you think maybe she met someone in NY .. and there is a LD romance motivating her?

TexasHM January 2, 2014 at 11:01 pm

No, I really don’t. We housed an AP in rematch that went to NY and she loves our family and I spoke with her about all this (she was the one my AP visited in early Nov) and she was as shocked as we were and said that not only did my AP not have a love interest but she didn’t even tell her she wanted to go to NY which is part of the reason I believe her that it wasn’t intentional and her heart just isn’t in it since. That same AP told me she hasn’t asked her for help finding families or anything and said that even if she did, she would probably not get involved unless she had our blessing (this AP was in a horrible situation and we sheltered her – as in police notified, my husband or AP with her at all times). So no, I believe them both, they have no reason at this point to lie or conceal, I think the only reason she didn’t fully spill about NY being the place vs just any place is because we often hear stories from the APs about how hard it is up there because everything is much more expensive and we think a lot of APs want NY because they only know the US from TV and movies so our AP was afraid we would think she was stupid and be angry. We might err a little on the prior but definitely not the latter. :)

Seattle Mom January 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm

You sound like such a nice HF, I hope you find a good AP :)

Momma Gadget January 6, 2014 at 11:22 am

Thanks for update. You do sound like a great HF and I am sure you’ll find another great AP.
FTR- you are very correct- the NY area is really expensive to experience!
As we are coming up to the homestretch with our AP, I am once again astonished at how quickly it goes by. I really can understand how an AP might want to take advantage of this limited opportunity and experience a different part of our vast and diverse country, and how torn they might be if they are with a HF they love.

Host Mom X January 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm

I agree with the other posters above that a “safety issue” is not always actually a “safety issue” (i.e. that we seem to have loosely defined as an issue requiring that the AP be relieved of childcare duties and not re-matched with another family because the AP’s actions have endangered the child(ren) in her care). And sometimes it isn’t even a judgment issue; it is just a matter of perspective. For instance, one of our AP’s good AP friends (a fine young woman and seemingly from the next family, a great AP) was sent into rematch for what the host family called a “safety issue.” (Luckily this AP found a new family in the area, and that match seemed to work really well.) This AP cared for a 2 and 4 year old. The 4 year old was in pre-school in the mornings, and the 2 year old was down for a long nap this one particular morning. The AP had the baby monitor with her, and went into the attached garage to use the treadmill that was out there (which apparently she had done often, and had been given permission to do; she could be in other rooms of the house while the two year old was napping as long as she had the baby monitor with her / could hear the child). The AP did not know that the door to the garage could automatically lock, but it automatically locked behind her that morning (someone must have changed it to the automatic lock setting, since apparently it did not always do that). When she realized this had happened, she immediately went to the neighbor’s house (keeping the monitor with her), called the host mom, and asked the neighbor if they had a key. They didn’t, but the AP quickly found a window that she was able to open, climbed in, and checked on the toddler, who she knew from the monitor was still sleeping. The host mom got home soon after. To me, this situation does not reflect a safety issue, nor even a judgment issue; it was just an unfortunate accident, and these things can happen to the best of us. This situation actually shows me an AP who kept her wits about her and thus was able to PREVENT what could have turned into a dangerous situation. She quickly got the necessary help, and found a way to solve the problem. But she said that the host family reported her to the LCC as “unsafe” for children.

Momma Gadget January 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Aren’t judgement issues and safety issues the same thing? I had a nanny who left my 2 year old alone in the bath tub to run downstairs to answer the phone. We had a 3 minute conversation ( she was even on a cordless phone) before I realized that she was sitting in the kitchen on the 1st floor while my son was in the bathtub on the 2nd floor by himself. Not sure who she was expecting a call from, but thank god it was me! She didn’t understand what the big deal was since he was in the tub seat.

Seattle Mom January 2, 2014 at 8:32 pm

I don’t know.. my AP consistently makes judgment errors when it comes to doing the laundry. She uses too much detergeant, puts the dryer on for too long, and insists on washing all the towels in the bathroom much more frequently than we would like (we don’t even ask her to do it- this is something she does on her own).

She also has a tendency to mis-use other appliances in the house, has misplaced and broken things here and there. I think it’s all a judgment issue, but thankfully she is much more careful when it comes to anything concerning the children. Sometimes she may give them more sweets than we would like (the infamous Fruit Loops incident) or keep them out too long past the little one’s nap, and while I consider all of these issues to be judgment errors none of them are really safety-related. She’s pretty good on safety. At least as good as I am.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 2, 2014 at 9:46 pm

AP #8 had absolutely no common sense, and I bit my tongue when in the last week of her job she did something that betrayed she still didn’t have it. My LCC did warn me that common sense couldn’t be learned in a year – and boy was she right!

For laundry. We did find that charts helped. We have a chart in our laundry room that says what to wash with what. When it isn’t done correctly, we point to the chart. For the record, AP #8 had never done a load of wash, either.

Seattle Mom January 3, 2014 at 1:59 pm

We are so laid back about laundry that it’s funny that our AP even messed up by our rules- once I had children I stopped sorting by colors, and basically washed everything on cold. The thing our AP does is put everything in the dryer on the max time (luckily not max heat- but still). It all comes out hot & crispy. Some loads would be dry in 30 minutes, easily, but they get the 1 1/2 hour treatment from her. And of course she uses WAY too much detergent, which is bad for the HE models.

I feel bad complaining because she does ALL of our laundry. I never asked her to, and I’ve told her she doesn’t need to, but she likes folding clothes. She is so excellent at folding clothes (and she teaches my kids!) that I don’t tell her NOT to do my laundry. I have learned (the hard way) to hide my dirty clothes that I don’t want her to launder. And I will often do a load on a Sunday night so that we can spare our clothes the fry-dry treatment.

It’s not a huge big deal- we love our AP, and we kind of laugh about this laundry issue. I’ve also put off buying any new clothes until after she leaves- I don’t buy new clothes very often, and when I do I expect them to last a while.

SingleHM January 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

My first two APs knew how to do laundry. This one not so much. But she won’t touch any of my laundry. God forbid, if a piece of my clothing gets thrown in she won’t even take it out of the dryer. She will do my kids laundry and hers…and sometimes will do a load with just a few things in it…drives me BONKERS. Such a waste of water and energy.

I’ve gone over how to use them several times and to only use it when you can fill up the washer (at least half way). Some girls just don’t get it…

Happy Host mom January 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Hi everyone, thanks for all the comments. Wanted to give you an update and clarification.
First, she was holding her IPHONE, and using it as a camera. So she was driving with one hand while filming her driving for 45 minutes.
second, the old HM advised the agency that she would never use them again if they rematched her old AP, as she was nervous about what kind of AP’s they would send her for rematch. The agency sent her home,and she is on her way back as we speak.
Honestly, I’ve heard good and bad situations on both sides (AP and HF), but in this situation, this AP should not be around kids. She is still angry about having to go home, and doesn’t think she did anything wrong because she didn’t drive on the highway, didn’t look at the phone and finally “never put the child in danger.” No matter how many times, the agency or even her AP friends (well some of them) told her it was wrong, she disagreed. Thankfully the rematch AU Pair the HM has now seems Fantastic :)

Happy Host mom January 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm

One last comment, I agree that poor judgment and safety issues can be one in the same and you can’t fix bad judgment in most cases. This old AP also picked up the five year old from school without a booster, and did a few other bad judgement things, that the family tried to work with her. My current AP cannot believe that she thought the filming was okay, our agency hammers the fact not to talk on the phone while driving. When you are driving children around your number one priority is the road and their safety. My old AP was in an accident last year, she was at fault per the police, but we weren’t upset with her. she made an honest mistake an intersection and we didn’t rematch. but if it was because she was using her phone or filming herself, she would’ve had her bags packed immediately.

Host Mom in the City January 5, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Anyone else completely flipped out by this thread? I am more and more down on this program.

Emerald City HM January 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Yes, I am too.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 7, 2014 at 8:11 am

In my 13 years of experience, Extraordinnaires are far more level-headed, and having had practical work experience, understand what is expected of them. Out of the 3 non-extraordinnaires DH and I have hosted, one was fantastic (and actually had enough work experience that she should have been an Extraordinnaire), one was fantastic with my child with special needs but her limited English, limited driving skills, and need to disappear the moment we returned home, made her a frustrating choice. One needed constant job coaching, which was a complete bore by month 11.

All APs make bad choices from time to time. It’s far easier to look the other way when she’s doing a fantastic job and engaged with the family, than when she needs constant job coaching, is not engaged with the family, and her bad choices are part of a general picture that make you feel that she doesn’t put your children first when she’s on the job.

I wouldn’t be hosting my 9th AP if I didn’t feel that the program was positive overall, but I do choose to use more of my limited disposible income to pay for an AP with genuine work experience.

Host Mom in the City January 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

Our first and third are extraordinaires, I’m with you TaCL. Our second who was not an extraordinaire, combined with all these stories and others I’m hearing IRL make me really down on the program as a whole. I’m shocked that the vast majority of the candidates I see are even accepted into the program. I feel like the candidates who are extraordinaires or comparable are the ones who should be in the program, rather than being treated as special.

Emerald City HM January 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm

So we’ve been dipping our toes into the Extraordinnare pool as we did last year and there don’t seem to be many candidates. Is it because we still need an IQ au pair. Are there more in the program that are not IQ?

When I search on that program I see between 0 and 3 candidates, the same thing happened last year. Is the pool really that small?

I also am a little jaded on using APIA because I do feel like the match coordinator just throws candidates at me and completely ignores my list of minimum requirements.

Dorsi January 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm

We see 3 or 7 IQ extraordinaires at a time. The good ones turn over fairly quickly, so check often. Both extraordinaires we have matched with, we contacted the day they entered the pool. IQ really limits your choices.

Emerald City HM January 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I figured out why I couldn’t see au pairs. Some the agency assigned to me last month, who I didn’t have a chance to look at at the time, were in that weird hidden folder. I’m not a fan of their system.

Host Mom in the City January 7, 2014 at 3:09 pm

What agency is this? I don’t know about a hidden folder….

Emerald City HM January 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm

It’s the “Reassign au pairs” folder. So if you don’t do anything with them for three days they automatically go from your “Saved au pair” folder to that one and you have to move them back.

Host Mom in the City January 7, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Ah, yes, I do know about that. I’m so obsessive when I am in the matching process that I’m on my account several times a day, so that’s never happened to me before! :)

Should be working January 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Like HMitC, I am obsessive with checking the website during matching. I know all those profiles by heart by now.

Host Mom in the City January 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm

I never did well with my APIA match coordinators either. They either don’t send me anything or send me random au pairs that don’t match my requirements. I wouldn’t rely on them. But you’re right – whenever we’ve looked, there were only 10-20 extraordinaires at all and just like the rest of the pool, very few are infant qualified. I’ve matched three times trying to look at extraordinaires for a September arrival, so not sure what the pool looks like now. Maybe I should stop spouting out about them because they’ll all get snapped up! ;) Uhhhh the extraordinaire program is terrible…yeahh…don’t even bother looking at those candidates…

NoVA Twin Mom January 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm

I’ve only tried talking to the match coordinator the first time we matched. I agree the candidates they put in our profile seemed random – almost as if they were purposefully trying to “broaden our horizons” rather than looking at our criteria. Since then I thought it was done by computer somehow based on the randomness, I’d forgotten they had a person “helping” by assigning us candidates.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 7, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Your LCC can look into the pool and assign APs to your pool. If you’re frustrated, push her to help you. While I’m not supposed to see IQ APs because I have teenagers, my LCC can assign them to my queue. I will tell you, however, that I can’t steal IQ APs away from infants – none of them want to work with my teenager who wears diapers and needs infant-level care.

Push your LCC and HQ to help. HQ can put candidates who have just become eligible for the pool (meaning their paperwork is finally together) into your queue before they go into anyone elses. I usually send out an email every time my paperwork is in order to HQ and my LCC reminding them how picky I am, how long it takes me to match, and how I have never gone into rematch so they need to work for me.

Finally, if you know the pool is limited, don’t wait to send out an initial email contact and offer to set up a mutually agreeable interview time.

JJ Host Mom January 7, 2014 at 11:42 pm

At APIA, see if you can request the matching coordinator Marina Neary. I thought she was helpful when I worked with her last year.

Momma Gadget January 7, 2014 at 11:53 am

HMitC- I think all childcare options have their flaws and advantages. Daycare, nannies, au pairs, baby sitters and even teachers all can have/be great caring people, as well as not so great people. I have had great and terrible experiences with all of them… Being “completely flipped out” and worried from time to time is par for the course in being a loving parent.
We have had our share of interesting “experiences” and challenges with the Au pair program, but even with those we have met some truly wonderful people and have new lifelong friends all over the world. It has been a learning experience for sure. I have learned that I really need to be a big mouth advocate for my family/Children/ and sometimes even our AP. A harder lesson to accept is that sometimes things just don’t work out, and it is not necessarily anyone’s fault- we are all human with our own perspectives, expectations and de/illusions.
All things considered, we have been satisfied with the program as a whole despite it’s flaws.
Perhaps I am waxing nostalgic because we are considering leaving the program as our children have become teenagers, and our finances recently tightened.

Host Mom in the City January 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm

You’re so right, MG. and we’ve done all the child care options, so I certainly know first-hand!

CA Host Mom January 7, 2014 at 7:11 pm

We just left CCAP and began hosting our first Extraordinaire with APIA. I am blown away by how much different this experience is in comparison to our other 3 APs (1 amazing, 1 terrible (re-matched), and 1 so-so). I had heard the negative feedback about an older AP (ours is now 27) and APIA (not as responsive overall as other agencies) but so far we are really happy with our decision to switch to APIA. CCAP, in our experience, offered way too many APs that fell way short of our (IMO reasonable) expectations. And we matched with this AP 9 months before she arrived … Fingers are crossed that things keep going well … :)

Helena Merosi January 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm

I check this blog from time to time because I am a former Au Pair and everything that is discussed on here is always very interesting. While I was reading this thread, I as shocked because I realized that I actually know the AP who made those poor security judgments. I watched some of her videos on youtube. The video which shows her shushing the little girl who is requesting her snack is the worst! Because she talks to her host kid in a very annoying manner. If I was a host mom and saw these two videos I would have totaly requested an immediate rematch as well.
Some of the APs I have met are very young and do not fully understand the responsibility they are taking on when deciding to become an Au Pair… Some of the APs in my cluster were definetely in the States for the wrong reasons and have wrong expectations, namely partying and being on a very long vacation. I also know for sure that the AP is sent home because she has an account where you can ask her questions and one follower wanted to know whether she can stay or is sent home… and she answered that she has to leave the U.S.

Host Mom in the City January 6, 2014 at 10:04 am

Thanks for your input Helena! I really hope you’ll stick around and feel comfortable posting more frequently. I know I would love to hear more of the au pair’s perspective on this blog.

CA Host Mom January 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Me too – I love the genuine, honest, and helpful feedback posted by APs as well as other HPs on APM. Please visit often!

Happy Host mom January 10, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Helena, yes she was sent home. At first they were considering keeping her, and after the HF raised an issue with it, they decided not to keep her. She told her friends she was only driving in the driveway, but in fact the navigation system talking proves her wrong. I’m so glad to hear another AP realize that this was wrong.

TexasHM January 6, 2014 at 9:04 am

Wow ok yes, major safety issue and I would make sure she was sent home and hopefully my husband would prevent me from sending her in a body bag!!

icsamerica January 6, 2014 at 10:59 am

Last year we went to rematch with Au Pair In America. I repeatedly asked to speak to the prospective Au Pair’s old host family and was ignored. I wanted to hear their side of the story. At the time we re-matched there were many Au Pairs to choose from. My LLC at APIA would always dodge my requests somehow. When I asked the LLC why each Au Pair was in rematch each story was how the host family was unreasonable and crazy and the Au pair was great. I like to get both sides of the story and form my own opinion.

We re-matched because our au pair could not drive. Soon after she arrived we went for test drive to acclimate her to american roads and american cars. 1st time out we went to get her a cell phone, she couldn’t keep the car straight & turned out of the parking lot right on to the sidewalk. It was a wide sidewalk but streets are black and sidewalks are grey concrete. I let that one pass and I drove home. 2nd time out she drove right through a Do not Enter One way. There were signs on both sides of the road. 3rd time out she nearly ran over a pedestrian in far side the cross walk. She was nervous about crossing the two way Avenue and where there were no cars she gunned it. I was yelling stop stop as we all most ran them down. When we returned home I asked if she needed glasses and insisted she did not. I suggested perhaps an eye test, she refused. She insisted she has driving experience and simply was nervous about driving such a big vehicle. We suggested rematch because we specifically stated in the family host letter the good driving skills were necessary.

HM in SoCal January 13, 2014 at 7:27 pm

I have tried several child care options as well and will not use an Au Pair again going forward. My current contract with my au pair runs out in the summer and then we are going to make other arrangements. After hosting au pairs for 3 years, I find the whole thing extremely stressful. I feel like I am here to coordinate the au pairs experience and constantly have to figure out ways to accommodate my au pairs. With 3 different girls, all expecting to be on a year long vacation, I am looking forward to using after care at the school. I thought having different cultures exposed to my children would be a wonderful opportunity but in reality it hasn’t happen that way. My current girl is never around on her off time and spends all her time trying to either find a man or plan her next weekend adventure. I am so bummed after having such high hopes.

TexasHM January 21, 2014 at 10:00 am

HM in SoCal I’m so sorry to hear that. I realize at this point the ship has sailed but if it hadn’t I would’ve told you when it works it’s not stressful at all – quite the opposite as my AP now asks to run my errands and does extra things around the house without being asked – plus you have an IDEAL location! When I interview I
am constantly turned dins immediately by APs that only want CA but I can also see how that would make it harder for you to screen because they might tell you anything because of your location. Have you thought about trying to pickup a rematch or extension AP? Rematch because if you screen well you can get a very grateful AP that wasn’t at fault, extension because you have an ideal location and then you get someone that likely already has a license, understands the rules of the program and appreciates your location. We are going on our third AP (she’s an extension from PA) and after seeing how wildly different our first two experiences were I can see it’s all about the candidates and going forward I won’t settle or tolerate an AP that stresses me out again (first AP). Our second made it obvious it was personality and it’s not hard to keep me happy and have a great experience. One of the regular posters mentioned recently screening for “positive attitude, openmindedness and flexibility” and I couldn’t agree more!

Should be working January 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm

I live in a “geographically desirable” area, and it is hard to screen out the say-anything-to-be-selected au pairs. I have wondered about switching to extension APs because the start-up would be so much easier: they know what it’s about, they are already in the USA, etc. But then do we lose some enthusiasm? Or get APs who detach easily from the family?

We currently have an extension AP, who got put into rematch (by a cuckoo family, from all reports and from my conversation with the HM). It’s great. So easy. But she was local. I always thought extension APs were jaded and too-pragmatic. I’m starting to change my mind on that.

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