Do Facebook Groups Really Help Au Pairs Find Host Families?

by cv harquail on July 7, 2013

When it comes to looking for a new au pair, I’m a big fan of staying “inside the box”. Maybe it’s the cautious side of my nature, or the lazy side, but I’ve not been tempted to look beyond the official agencies.

owl sunglassesMeanwhile, unaccredited websites and facebook groups have sprung up all over the ‘net, offering ways to augment the “inside the box” search.

— Are these other locations very helpful? Or,
— Are these groups filled with either scammers ready to take your money and or with applicants too disorganized (or undesirable?) to use an accredited agency?

A SouthAfricanAP emailed us with questions about alternative search venues:

          Do host families utilise facebook/other groups and websites outside of the agencies’ pools to look for new aupairs?

         Will it benefit me and my application to use these other matching groups and sites?

         Should I just stick to the agency network and trust that my family will find me?

She’s already started her application with a major US Au Pair Agency, and she joined a few facebook groups to look for advice.

In these groups, I have noticed a recurrence of aupairs in rematch looking for families in these pages. It made me wonder if host parents actually see these candidates. Do aupairs actually find host families (or vice-versa) from places other than their agency pools?

I’m a member of a Host Parent Facebook group that occasionally but not often shares information on au pair candidates.  We can do this because:

— It’s a closed group where everyone uses his or her own name,
— We are all in the same (more or less) geographic area, and
— The group is actively moderated by some sensible and kind key members.

 These features have created a high level of familiarity and trust among the parents.

When one of us knows of a good au pair in rematch, or feels the need to warn folks of a potentially disastrous rematch, s/he  mentions that s/he has this information and invites other parents to contact her/him privately for more information. This way, the group keeps a lid on gossip and passing along hearsay while we share help specifically where it’s needed.

I think this model works well, but groups like this are not available to everyone. But maybe there are similar places/groups that Host Parents use and trust?

Parents, how many of you look for candidates on Facebook or in Au Pair forums online?

Do you do this in addition to using an Agency?

Where do you look, and what has your experience been?


Host Mom in the City July 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm

We’ve been through the matching process three times and have only ever looked at the two big agencies in our area – Cultural Care and APIA. I’ve looked at a few au pair related facebook sites and they seemed to be mostly complaining and au pairs in rematch looking for a new family (any new family, not a good match). It’s possible I don’t know about the sites to use, but I’ve been happy with the experience with the agency, so I haven’t felt the need to branch out. I also haven’t heard of anyone else matching outside of an agency.

angie host mom July 8, 2013 at 12:21 am

We use aupaircare and havent c onsidered augmenting.

Male aupair host mom July 8, 2013 at 3:23 am

I have used them for most of my matches out of country never a rematch ap though. I have certain needs that are hard to find and get tired of being rejected by candidates that are not interested . I have found great ap who I have adored and stayed two years. The one time I used agency we went into rematch less than three months in btw she rematched again with second family after two weeks and got matched with a third. I also go to agency country fb pages stating my needs

Momma Gadget July 8, 2013 at 11:52 am

How does that work when you do match? Don’t you then need to bring them in though an agency anyway?
We have gone through interexchange for all our APs.

WestMom July 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

We use Great AP also, and yes, we then bring them though InterExchange. BTW- The agency give a good discount for pre-matching. Once we pick our match, I send IE the AP name, contact, arrival date, and the dates of the two required interviews. They take care of the rest, i.e.- setting them up with partner agency overseas for registration/interview/immigration.

Momma Gadget July 8, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Good to Know. Thanks!

Aupair2013 July 8, 2013 at 4:34 am

I´m on the matching process to find a family in USA with APIA.

I have joined several au pair matching web pages and facebook groups… last one seems like there´s nothing you can´t find there, cause as Host Mom in The City said there´s more people complaining and desperate to find any family because they´re in rematch.

I´ve been looking for a family through facebook but ain´t easy.

To me is more helpful the Au pairs matching web sites but you have to be aware of A LOT of scams and also 60% families are snooping to see what’s there because they just pay 40$ to become a full member and seems like they really don´t know what are they looking for or just want you to go there without and agency cause they say it´s expensive or want to make a deal about your duties including cooking and cleaning for the whole family…

when you go throught an agency (APIA,CC..) families are more determinated, they pay a lot and they expect the best and I´m totally agree with that as we want to find the best family possible.

M July 8, 2013 at 5:24 am

I just sign up to 4 agencies which have APs from the country I’m interested in. It has worked so far.

American Host Mom in Europe July 8, 2013 at 5:38 am

As a host mom NOT in the US, I use ONLY au pair matching websites to find my au pairs (well, one was a friend of a friend). We don’t really have any agencies here that do what the big US AP agencies do, and there is no regulation around it. I use primarily; having looked around a lot, I think that is the best site in terms of functionality and quantity/quality of information presented. I have also used, which is significantly inferior in terms of the amount of available information and the functionality, but has a high number of European candidates looking for shorter term positions, which sometimes fits a need for me (I’ve had one au pair from this site, and found one who was hired by an acquaintance).

Even on these sites, there are many “window-shoppers” not really committed to finding a match — true of both au pair candidates AND host families (I hear this from many of the candidates…that families don’t respond, etc.). So still diligence and work is involved in finding a good match — but they are out there, I have had 9 good au pairs via, with the 10th arriving in under a month!

Taking a Computer Lunch July 8, 2013 at 7:06 am

While my LCC has a FB page for APs in our cluster (and maybe past APs, too), I haven’t joined. She uses it to RSVP to cluster meetings, and based on conversations with my APs, they use it to find someone with whom to travel when their closest friends aren’t available.

Over the years, I have learned to work with the staff in my agency’s HQ to make it clear what I want (AP candidates with any special needs experience, not just someone who toggled the special needs willing box to cast their HF net wider). As it is, it often takes DH and I several weeks to match – I don’t have time for “noise” of a FB page. I don’t want or need to read quips from 100 complaining APs to find one that fits my needs.

I pay good money to the agency, so that they’ll find someone who fits my needs. It has worked out well so far. I’ve hosted 8 APs, 6 of whom fit well enough into my family that they either extended with us or we begged them to. One worked very hard with my special needs child but wasn’t a good fit for us (and we used her lack of a driver’s license by month 8 to say “No extension”). One worked hard enough with my special needs child that DH didn’t want the mess of rematch (the Venn diagram of special needs willing rematch APs who have driver’s licenses often being nil), but has been so much work that we decided to go back to Extraordinnaires for AP #9. #9 arrives in 5 weeks, and I must say, I can’t wait.

Should be working July 8, 2013 at 8:32 am

From the USA I don’t see much use for typical-needs families to spend all that time on au pair matching websites. The AP will anyway need to sign up with an agency. I was on at the beginning of the whole AP thing, and after my first AP fizzled at 3 months, because I didn’t know what I wanted and just wanted to window-shop, as a PP said. Ultimately I prefer the more thorough (even when sometimes part-fictionalized) profiling of the US agency, and esp. CCAP’s personality profile test, which I find accurate and invaluable.

Should be working July 8, 2013 at 8:34 am

Let me add that when we lived in Europe for awhile and I looked for an AP for us there, it was a whole different ballgame. The agencies are small, low-service, and very heterogeneous. So for outside the USA I can see how these web-matching sites make sense.

Peachtree State July 8, 2013 at 10:15 am

We are getting aupair #3 in Augusta. Our first aupair stayed with us two years, our second stayed 6 weeks and booked a flight back to her home county. Our agency was wonderful, trying to get us a replacement. Even our LCC offerred to help if we were in a jam with childcare. We never looked outside the agency…how do you know who is really coming? We trust EAP and the files they enclose are very extensive. #2 was a dud…but mistakes happen. The agency takes care of the flights, visa, childcare course and other things I would never think about. In the next year our child will need some extra TLC for about 6 mos due to an upcoming surgery so we took TACL’s advice and went with the experience program. The references and requirements to be in the experience program seem very strict. We are looking forward to meeting her and having a great year…may be two.

HM in DelRay July 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm

We use Euraupair Agency since we want AP’s who are natively francophone and from Europe. So far it has been great – they are excellent support locally and nationally. I was worried we would not find someone this year so I extra signed up with GreatAupair and Cultural Care but in the end, Euraupair had a good number of candidates and I think we found the one to start in November 2013!

I have not used un-official sites. Our needs are not so extraordinary from run-of-the-mill families to prompt us to look outside the box. I think I would be cautious about the unofficial nature of some of the venues since there are no checks and balances on those systems. The background checks, the visa processing, the reference checks, the in-country interviews are all very important to us. I am a recruiter by career and I value this foundation above and beyond the interviewing we ourselves do.

Good luck to everyone on your quest to find great childcare and for the loving cultural bridges formed along the way.

WestMom July 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm

We have AP #5 arriving in August, and aside from AP#2 which came recommended from our agency (Interexchange), I found the other 4 through Great Au Pair or Au Pair World.

I just want to mention that even though we use non-agency sites to help our search, we clearly state in our profile that we go through an agency and that we will only consider candidates willing to go through the legal process. You would be surprised how many candidates are already registered with the big agencies but use these sites to be more proactive in approaching families (as opposed to waiting to be contacted). Three of our pre-matches were in this situation (two with APC, and one with CC, all three transferred to Interexchange in the end).

From my perspective, I enjoy having candidates reach out to me directly. I receive over 100 inquiries each year in response to our two profiles and our family Facebook page. This allows me to cherry pick out of a large list. Out of the bunch, over half don’t meet our requirements (age, language, driver), but I give the rest a closer look. By the time I interview, I know the basics are down (Is the arrival date compatible? Are you ok speaking your native language all the time with the children? These are the two main reasons we get turned down when courting candidates through our agency.).

I also appreciate that I can interview on my own schedule, instead of speed dating within the time restrictions of the agency. I personally like having a few email exchanges between jumping into the Skype interview.

spanishaupair July 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm

As an aupair outside USA i have used websites to match usually aupair-world and my last one via facebook, yeah it worked quite well i was in rematch, my HF was moving to my country, and as i was in place i could meet them.
But for USA and when i was younger i thought about that, i will go through an agency, in the websites most of USA families are scams or just looking for aupairs who can go for a few months and be with tourist visa, yeah they are also the ones that go through agencies, but find it complicated and waste of time and you will have to go through agency at the end

Brazilian Au Pair July 8, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Hello. I’ma applicant and I have a contract with 2 agencies: InterExchange and Expert Au Pair, but I always looking for a family in the Great Au Pair, because I can’t keep calm waiting for a family in my profile. This is very hard to me. I think I’m a little proactive, and I prefer to do something while I’m waiting for the best match! But I only accept to go to USA through an agency.

PA AP Mom July 8, 2013 at 11:44 pm

We have had 5 APs and we have never used a non-agency site to find a match. Over the years I have become more efficient and assertive about telling my placement manager what I am looking for and what our family needs.

Our 5th, and last, AP leaves to return to Sweden tomorrow. Bittersweet!

Should be working July 9, 2013 at 2:53 am

PA AP Mom, I’m always curious about HFs who leave the AP program–somewhere on this site CV has a section/post for people to say more. But meanwhile, did your kids age out or have you found a better form of childcare for your family?

Busy Mom July 21, 2013 at 10:29 pm

SBW – we are on AP 5 and plan to phase out after AP 6 leaves in late 2014. Why? By then, my youngest will be able to get herself ready for school and onto the bus by herself in the morning. My oldest will be driving, but I will still need an afternoon “sitter” – driver, cook, launderer, adult in the house, for the younger two – and it will cost me nearly as much as having an AP. But, I will get my house back. Also, as my kids age, it has become more difficult to encourage a relationship between them and my AP. Current one is nice enough, but has not made sufficient effort to click with the eldest or even the middle, who is the easiest to bond with. And, having an AP who has not bonded is awkward. We have a local college that has a ready supply of part-timers or I’ll hire a part-time adult as a nanny. No cheaper, but since there is no expectation of being ‘part of the family’ it won’t matter if they the relationship is transactional. With the economy as it is, there seems to be a plentiful supply. I have high hopes for AP#6 and think that her personality will help her to develop a relationship with all my children, so we’ll be exiting on a high note.

Busy Mom July 22, 2013 at 9:24 am

I should add that our current AP is terrific in many ways. All the basics are rock solid – driving, cooking, taking care of all of her responsibilities, English skills, etc. It’s just that she hasn’t “clicked” – it’s a bit disappointing, particularly because I believe she could have done more to build a relationship with the kids (as her predecessor did).

Momma Gadget July 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm

We are wondering how much longer we will host AP’s .
Our current AP is great in many ways. But bonding with both my children who are so different personality and maturity wise seems to be a challenge. I personally adore our AP. I have enjoyed the many conversations we have had. Yet, I need an AP for the children. If it is not possible for an AP to bridge both pre-teen and a teen-without my having to act as referee-I am not sure the program is worth it to us, despite the conveniences and flexibility it offers. We will of course continue to work with our current AP though his term, but he may very well be our last. We are still pondering ….

Taking a Computer Lunch July 22, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Quickly learned that 19-year-old AP was not a good mix with 2 teenagers. She identified with their weaknesses all too readily and did not push them toward strengths. While The Camel will always require total care, child #2 mainly needs a chauffeur and someone to make sure she puts nutritious food in her body.

Christy Waller July 11, 2013 at 10:11 am

I work with the Facebook groups for Cultural Care Au Pair and we have found that there has been an increase in spammers creating false profiles both on the au pair and host family side. Because of that, we highly discourage both host families and au pairs from using Facebook groups as a way to make contact with a potential match, unless it is coming as a referral from an LCC or friend you actually know. Using au pair agencies to match is the safest way to ensure that the candidates you are connecting with are legitimate. Have any of you noticed an increase in suspicious looking au pairs/host families on any of the Facebook groups or forums you have used?

Ruth July 11, 2013 at 10:20 pm

PA AP Mom, we, too, opted out of the AP program after 3 failed AP’s in a 6 month period. Our first would have likely been a keeper but she lied about a very essential skill we asked her about in the interview and we needed that skill, so we were unable to keep her. We certainly tried to hone the skill before we came to that decision though. Our 2nd lasted 2 days before she quit when she realized the program was not for her and she went to live with a boy and stay in the US illegally. Our 3rd was a great caregiver, but she knew she could rematch at any time and became so mopey, starting telling us “stories” about needing to go back home and/or a sick family member, about the same time these “stories” started, we noticed a LOT of phone calls to NY and her vacation was booked there. In the end, that is where she wanted to be and asked for rematch. At that point, we opted out of the program since we realized the system is completely flawed when our agency’s only plan of action for the first one was that she get rematched (after she lied) and also pushed hard to rematch the second one (when she stated over and over how much she just didn’t want to be in the program) and our third, once we told them we were opting out of the program and she wanted a rematch, didn’t even both with a 3 point meeting or have any concern for us as a HF who had poured hours into the search, bother to let the AP know the request for rematch based on absolutely no reason was unacceptable, going through the painful hours of training, language barrier, cultural barrier, etc. Our agency, Interexchange, was only concerned with fulfilling the rematch request of our third AP and have found this agency caters far too much to the AP than to the HF who has paid thousands into this program. Ironically, all 3 AP’s have sent ongoing friendly text and emails to us as though we have not been inconvenienced at all by their actions. Just like it’s par for the course! SO, while we would have loved to continue with AP’s as our method of childcare, we have decided to hire a live-in US nanny instead.

Birgit July 16, 2013 at 2:32 am

On our fanpage, we consider to remove all posts from au pairs looking for a family and vice versa. The reason is, that it mostly is a scam. There are au pairs looking for a reolacement. Those posts we already remove. Why? If you think about it… Why can’t the hostfamily spend a few hours to make a profile on several websites? If the hostfamily does not have the time to do this, they sure will not have time to arrange the paperwork for you. How does a third party knows what the family wants? How can the future Au Pair deside wheather the family fits if the contact is with another person?
So, again, do not fall for this. The chances are very high it is a scam and if it isn’t, disappointment is very likely.

Seattle Mom August 30, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Our current AP found us on We were in rematch right around New Year’s Day, and there were not a lot of candidates in the system. I joined great au pair on a lark and created a profile. Our AP was not in rematch, but she was planning to extend and looking for a new family to extend with. Her problem was that she kept getting matched with families in the NYC area and she did not want to live in the big city (she was an au pair in a small town in upstate NY). She knew a lot of friends from her home country in Seattle and was looking for a family there, specifically without a dog because she is afraid of dogs – Seattle has more dogs than children, so this was no small feat. She saw our profile and contacted me, she had actually paid the $40 to be able to send messages to people on the site. It was great finding someone who wanted to be in Seattle- the problem, I’ve found, with extension APs is that they can be really picky about where they go and they don’t know how great it is here- they all want either NYC, DC, FL, or CA. And by being on great au pair we let the one extension AP who WANTED Seattle to find us! I would never have found her through Cultural Care’s system (though she was on there) because she was constantly in other people’s accounts (who she didn’t want) and never available- plus we were mostly looking at rematch APs, not extension APs. It all worked out with only one week between our outgoing AP leaving and our new AP arriving, which was perfect so we could do a “cleanse” of the bad experience before welcoming a new AP.

Anyway I am now looking for our next AP, to join our family after current AP finishes her year in January. I have a profile on Great Au Pair but I don’t really go on there- I will only match with someone who goes through Cultural Care, or possibly through a different agency (probably easier for me to switch agencies than the AP, at this point). If someone finds me and really likes what they see they need to send me a message to catch my attention. Otherwise I’ve got plenty of options through Cultural Care right now.

AILLEEN DOYLE September 27, 2013 at 3:52 am

I always work with an Au Pair agency called “hellopair”, I have a lot of friends who have Au pairs from Spain that belong to hellopair and they have a very good experience with them.

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