An Easy Way To Find Which Au Pair Agencies Serve Your Area

by cv harquail on February 12, 2015

Here’s a great question from NorthWestHostMom:

What’s an easy way to find out which Au Pair Agencies serve my geographic area?  

Other than calling each and every Agency, is there a simple way to identify my options?

This is a not only a common question asked by potential host parents — Current host families that are considering a move to another town or state also have this question.

Anyone have an easy method?

In the meantime, let’s crowdsource the answer to NorthWestHostMom’s specific question:

oregonmap2Which Au Pair Agencies serve Hood River, Oregon? 



Image: USA, by NFL Fan groups


NoVA Twin Mom February 12, 2015 at 11:19 am

A related thought might be how far you’re comfortable being from your LCC. I googled “Which Au Pair Agencies serve Hood River, Oregon” and found that Go Au Pair seems to cover Portland, which Google Maps tells me is an hour away from Hood River.

Of course, where I live you have to double those estimations to get the true driving time, and I know there’s some mountains :) in Oregon, so I take that with a grain of salt.

I know where my parents live in the Midwest, it’s not uncommon for an au pair to live an hour away from their LCC. So maybe that’s the case in Oregon too, and a Hood River family could use an agency active in Portland. I imagine there’s a limit on how far the LCC can live from the au pair – I also seem to remember hearing here about an agency that “recruited” an LCC for a city once they had a family interested in having an au pair – meaning not only did that family have a brand new LCC but also a cluster of one.

When we want to get our au pair in touch with an au pair at our vacation location so they can do “young people” stuff while we’re there, we ask our own LCC to help facilitate the contact. Maybe one of the LCCs that reads the board can chime in?

WarmStateMomma February 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm

I’m in a major city, but API recruited an LCC the week before our first AP arrived. He lived over an hour away, in a town so far we didn’t recognize the name and thought it was across state lines (3 hours away). There was an extension AP 30 minutes away from our house, so I have no idea if she had an LCC before they recruited a school bus driver to be the LCC for our AP.

I asked IE how many APs they had here and never received an answer, so my guess is not many. Asking how many are in the area and how far apart they live is probably the only way to find out.

SKNY February 12, 2015 at 6:00 pm

No easy answer, you do have to call all agencies. However I will say that Euraupair and Expert Aupair will serve you wherever you live. They will ask you to find a LCC or will find one for you and will serve you if no other agency does.

Mimi February 12, 2015 at 6:07 pm

AP #4 extended with a family near Portland that was part of a large cluster. We are with CCAP. I’m not sure how spread out the cluster was, but you should definitely ask whichever agency you choose about the size of your local group and the distribution of the APs. We are on the outskirts of our cluster with the majority of the APs living 35 minutes away. It’s not so bad for AP socializing, but can be if you don’t have an independent driver.

NJ Mama February 12, 2015 at 6:15 pm

I switched to Interexchange. We have an extremely small cluster were I live (although I hear there is a very big cluster in northern NJ). And the few APs we have are spread out. I thought before that it wouldn’t matter so much because the APs all seem to find other APs nearby from other agencies. But I think it matters more than I had previously thought. My current AP has made a lot of friends — but she really had to put herself out there. If she wasn’t a really strong driver I wouldn’t have been as comfortable letting her taking the car all around, and I wonder if that would have been a hindrance. And a lot of her friends she made through her church (she’s the first au pair I’ve had who has made a lot of non au pair friends, which is pretty cool). So I’ve wondered if she wasn’t involved in her church, would she be having as good of a year?

I absolutely wish there was an easier way of figuring this out without calling every agency. It just adds another layer of trickiness. If you get an au pair who is very social, it may not matter. But if you get an au pair who is a little shy or more of a homebody, I can see it definitely being an issue if you were with a small cluster.

Seattle Mom February 12, 2015 at 6:31 pm

So far none of my au pairs have made their friends through their cluster, so I haven’t worried about the cluster too much. We seem to have lots of APs in Seattle from many different agencies, and they all eventually find their friends. If I were in a more remote place I would pay more attention to that stuff.

HRHM February 12, 2015 at 8:53 pm

With our first AP we were about 60 miles from our LCC, in a small town with only one other AP (same agency). When we were matched this wasn’t pegged as a problem although at that time the E-CFR specifically stated that the LCC had to be within one hour of the host family home (it no longer states an acceptible distance). When we went to apply for our next AP, we were told that CC would no longer be supporting APs in our town (the LCC hadn’t moved or changed, the other AP had gone home and they weren’t allowing the other family to get a new AP either.) We got around it by changing our address to MD (I was moving back to our house there 3 months later anyway) but she had to go to cluster meetings and orientation meet/greet there. Total PIA.

Old China Hand February 12, 2015 at 10:13 pm

We have the only ap from any agency (as far as we know) in our county. We are in a small town (5000 people not counting students, 3000 students) about an hour outside a reasonably sized Midwest city. Our LCC is about an hour away and has a tiny cluster. 4-6 aps usually. She coordinates events with an LCC from another cluster with about 20 girls but they are always an hour or more from us. Because we don’t let our aps drive and they take classes on campus they end up making friends with people in the classes rather than the other aps. I don’t know that agencies besides the two that already have clusters would have supported us having someone. We ended up choosing agencies based on availability of girls from china.

Malehf February 13, 2015 at 4:10 am

I know cultural care did they have had families there before . APIA should too. Just call agency and they will tell you. Just know though your ap will have to travel to Portland or surrounding areas for meetings. This is a drive I get it. My ap has to drive 45-60 minutes to meetings.

In Rematch Hell - AGAIN February 13, 2015 at 10:56 am

We’re in DC metro area. APIA. Our LCC lives 35 minutes from us without traffic. We’ve always been fine with that. Cluster meetings are big around here, though. This is a huge area for APs, although only a handful live in our particular corner of the DMV.

TexasHM February 13, 2015 at 12:00 pm

We ran into this when moving to TX/joining the AP program and my process was exactly that – call 3-4 agencies and see who had clusters there. At the time, we didn’t go with IE because it had the smallest cluster and we didn’t go with CCAP because they appeared to be much more expensive (since learned they all end up being the same at the end of the day) so settled on APIA but it was not a large cluster (4-6 APs in a 1 hour radius). Going to IE it was also a small cluster (4-6 in all of DFW!!) but we were used to that so I didn’t think much of it but now that I have asked around I am finding out that there are over two dozen and two very experienced LCs with CCAP in a 5-8 mile radius of our house so I am excited to see how/if that has an impact on our AP’s experience. I suspect it will since there are not a lot of students and zero apartments in our city so our APs have had to reach out and work to build a social circle. Knowing what I know now I would say especially as a new host family I would highly value an experienced LC with a larger/localized cluster and would pay more if needed to get it. If I hadn’t found this site I don’t know how we would have made it through that first year! Yes, there are a few policy differences with the agencies so make sure none of those are dealmakers or dealbreakers for you but all else being equal, if I could go back in time I would tell myself to pick the experienced LC and larger cluster for sure.

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