Host Parent Wish: That Rematch would fix things, not send problems to another family

by cv harquail on August 25, 2011

If host families could change the au pair ‘system’, there are many things we would improve.

Chief among these would be how au pairing is advertised, how au pairs are recruited and interviewed, how au pairs fulfill education requirements, and most of all, how au pair rematches are handled.

201108211736.jpgRematch and transition processes are the opposite of transparency. The process is shrouded in secrecy, filled with half-truths, and designed so that nothing gets ‘fixed’ . Instead, problems are just moved around, in the hopes that somehow (sheer luck?) au pairs and host families will end up with a better match. Speaking as both a host mom and a business school professor, this a truly bad business strategy

Instead of being so opaque, rematch and transition processes should be made more transparent.

“Transparency” is one of the biggest trends in customer relationship management (e.g., sales and customer service). When a process is transparent, people can see exactly how the process works, they know what criteria are being used to make decisions, and they know what they can expect. Transparency in a business process offers us the ability to know what we’re getting and to make good choices. And, transparency lets us build trust, because we can see whether (or not) an organization’s process is working fairly.

When you think about what we know about the rematch process from each other’s comments, we can see many problems that could be resolved (to some degree) by more transparency..

Here’s what I know, from reading your comments:

  • Host parents and au pairs rarely tell the truth, much less the whole truth, about why the rematch is being initiated.
  • Au Pairs (and host families) strategically present themselves as rematch candidates as though they were not responsible for the failure of the initial relationship.

 

  • Prospective host parents have little to no accurate information about the rematch candidates in the system.
  • Former host families offer generic, bland information about the au pair who is leaving them.
  • Agencies (when they know the truth) keep information to themselves, often seeming more interested in placing an inappropriate candidate somewhere – anywhere- rather than sending her or him home.
  • Agencies make it virtually impossible for prospective host parents to check the recent references of the rematch candidate.
  • Au pairs are under tremendous pressure to find and accept a new posting, while families have to house au pairs who have rejected or severely disappointed them.
  • Au pairs rarely learn to change or improve their behavior.
  • Host families rarely learn to change or improve their behavior.
  • Families don’t feel confident that the agencies are working in their best interest.
  • Au pairs don’t feel confident that agencies are working in their best interests.
  • Rematch is emotionally and financially costly to everyone.

And the list goes on.

Except for the information that passes informally among LCCs and online networks of au pairs, no one really knows the truth. Thus, no one can really make a good decision. So we’re afraid to ask for a rematch when we really should end a relationship, we keep on in bad relationships, and no one is happy.

Infrequently, but often enough that we hold out hope, someone we know gets a rematch au pair who is fabulous. And, occasionally, a family who deserves a great au pair gets an au pair who deserves a great family.

Agencies should manage the rematch/transition process differently, and better.

They should hold au pairs and host families accountable for their behavior, they should require more accurate and verified information about the rematch reasons, and they should share this information with prospective families and au pairs.

Yes, there will be confidentiality issues to be concerned about. And, yes, there will always be an element of ‘They said, s/he said’ and difficulty about discovering the ‘whole’ and objective truth. But I suspect that families, au pairs and LCCs would rather deal with these issues than with the opacity, distrust, and riskiness that are literally built in to the current system.

But that’s just my opinion.

Here’s the email that prompted my rant:

Dear Au Pair Mom —

I am in the middle of rematching and having a hard time getting cooperation from my agency. Apparently, the previous HF of both of the only two available in-country AP’s have been “very difficult families” (in the words of the agency rep) and have “refused” to serve as references.

I’m also concerned that, of the 3 families that my current (rematching) AP has spoken to, none have requested a reference from us. This seems like too much of a coincidence and more like the agency doesn’t want the HF’s to talk to each other.

The reason my AP gave for a rematch was that she “didn’t have access to a car”. But this is such a partial truth it’s almost a lie. The real reason she didn’t have access to our car was that she failed her driver’s test and was denied a US driver’s license. Now she tells me she is rematching with an all school-age family and her primary job will be to drive the children to after-school activities. A dream for her–most likely a nightmare for the new HF.

I’m seeing the potential disaster in her new HF’s rematch and how they don’t know what they are getting in to. It’s making me very nervous about my new rematch. I feel like I’m going in to a rematch with blinders on and no other choice. Do I have any recourse here?  

No Faith in the System

Comments are open.

Image: Matches from Arria Belli, on Flickr

{ 47 comments }

Taking a Computer Lunch August 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I’d like to add something here. HF, when the do interview the family of a departing AP, rarely ask good questions. We decided not to extend with an AP that had done an excellent job with one child and okay with the other, but was mediocre in communicating with HP. She worked hard with our special needs child and we decided we would not derail her extension attempts.

It was amazing the number of potential HF who called me and asked, “What is she like?” Honey, I can make the AP sound like an ideal candidate with a milquetoast question. If you are permitted to talk to the HF, then pick at the wound! Press, until you figure out what is wrong. In my case, the AP and I were like oil and water (and although HD didn’t particularly like her either, my agita drove him nuts). But when asked why were not extending, I only gave one reason, “She never got a US driver’s license.” Of the dozens of phone calls, only one woman picked at the wound, and in 45-minutes new exactly what were my issues and what the AP’s potential issues were likely to be.

If you are not permitted to talk with the the HF, ask to speak to the LCC or another HF who knows the candidate and her situation. I’ve housed rematch candidates who ran the gamut, from the young woman who was told that her 10-hour day didn’t start until her charge woke up in the morning (even if the HM left at 6:00 am and the AP couldn’t leave the house), to the woman whose charge bit and punched her until she couldn’t take it anymore, to the sulky teen who never smiled or said thank you, to the liar and thief who upended my house the few days she stayed with us after being kicked out of her home for hitting a child. Some of them we agreed to act as references and some we couldn’t wait to get to the airport.

Tristatemom August 26, 2011 at 8:39 am

Boy, I expect a lot of posts on this subject matter…

Here are my experiences, it feels somewhat therapeutic to write it out :)

Our very first AP had very distinct ideas about “her year” in this country. Sadly, that did not include doing a good job for us or even loving babies. We knew after a week that this probably not going to work but tried another 2 weeks before calling it quits. Full disclosure, she also wanted to rematch because she felt we were too strict. Anyway, I didn’t feel she had the personality for taking care of babies (imo, it takes a special person). When in rematch, I was contacted by a HM who had a baby. She asked me “tell me from mother to mother” what the AP was like. That tugged on my heart and I told her that she was not well suited for babies etc. Well what do you know, the family made an offer anyway and our AP turned them down!! She went to a family with 4 kids and a SAHM because they lived close to the beach. That family did not call us for references.
Then we got an AP who requested a rematch from her HF because of the schedule. That HF is very high profile in our town and they had a full-time nanny during the day and needed the AP for the evening hours. AP didn’t like to work until 9pm each night because she could not see the friends. I spoke to her old HD, met with the AP twice (something I would always recommend) and got an accurate picture from the HD. We had a wonderful year together.
Enter next AP, which I picked hurriedly :( Total disaster. We also knew after the first weeks that this was not a good match but feared the “rematch hurricane” that always seems to follow. So we tried to make it work with a liar party girl. Well, it did not work out. One thing I learned from this is that I have to speak up right away and have some strict rules. With that AP I just let it simmer until I exploded and than there was no return. Nobody called us for references.
Our current AP is really good. (I had written about some hick-ups in our early weeks on here but she really came around.) I hope we will last the year :)

Anna August 26, 2011 at 8:44 am

I find that the process greatly depends on the agency. After a sudden rematch this past spring, I was searching for a rematch candidate at five (!!) agencies simultaneously. Yes, I was desperate, and very down on myself after an unsuccessful year, so it was hard to find a candidate and it was hard to “sell” myself properly during interviews. We ended up matching with an out of country girl, but I found that the most transparent process was with the agencies that had all these factors in place in the process: ability to talk with the au pair, ability to talk with her former host family and families, ability to talk with LCC, and notes on her file online about the reasons for rematch.
There were two agencies that had it in place: Cultural Care and GoAuPair. I found that GoAuPair’s rematch candidates were of a higher quality than elsewhere, even if there were fewer of them. I could also browse them and initiate conversations myself, with as many as I wanted, instead of waiting for the agency to “place” one on view with me.

Gianna August 26, 2011 at 10:34 am

I think this situation is one of the most compelling reasons to stay on good terms with your LCC and choosing an agency with the experience and personality of the LCC in mind. The LCC is not going to want a problem in her area and she should, if she is experienced, have contacts within the agency. She should be able to sniff out the truth and advise you accordingly even if the higher ups are giving you the run around.
Host families are in a bind – they cannot force their agency to send an aupair home and they have a vested interest in speeding up her rematch. Most families absolutely do not want the aupair to rematch in their area and sometimes they want her to stay until they have someone else even if she was awful. Aupairs go into rematch with ideas of their own. They don’t want to make another mistake, they want to go to a different part of the country , they want to stay in the same community, etc. It really seems to me that this is a circumstance where the LCC’s interest is right in line with her host family. And, it is not in the interest of an LCC to lie to another LCC. I am sure some of them do lie to grease the aupair’s path but it isn’t a good business move.

Anna August 26, 2011 at 11:24 am

I think something to keep in mind that sometimes LCC doesn’t know the whole story; the families and au pairs in rematch might be trying to make it more civil and not airing out all the grievances. The official reason for a rematch might be an excuse – because there are so many real reasons, and if the au pair was a different person the “reason” for a rematch might not have led to a rematch.

And with the agency that doesn’t allow you to speak to the previous family, or the previous family trying to not tell all, this can really trip you up. It happened to me once.

NoVa HostMom August 26, 2011 at 10:41 am

The one time we went into rematch, we decided on an out of country AP since we could not get any good info on the in-country. Also, some of the in-country only had 9months or wanted to extend for only 6 and i figured if we have to make the change i would rather have a full year than a partial – so hopefully a little less change for the kids.

On the other side we had on AP who did stay the whole year. She wanted to extend, but we did not. She wasn’t bad, definitely not great. a very big clock watcher [if she started at 8am you could bet she would be there at 8:00 on the dot, not 7:59 and 59sec and at the end of the day, if she got off at 6 and was smack in the middle of washing a dish, boom down the dish went in the sink] , minimal to get by and had the feeling she was trying to work on something to be able to stay in the US…. we did not rematch for a number of family reasons. So here comes the time when she goes into the pool for a 2nd year. I actually asked the question here on APMom about do i give a reference, not give a reference….. well one family did call me, i was very upfront and said she would probably be fine with school age kids, but if you need a lot of flexibility probably not your AP…. this person did not match with our AP.

The next thing i know she has matched with a local family in our area. No attempt to contact me or anything (i am sure our AP after the first thought it was my fault so who know what she told this 2nd family). anyway she matches, moves out and 6months later she up and quits, no notice, and….. did you see this coming, is getting married and moving to South Carolina!!!!!

Luckily i have not had to rematch often, but am very leary about any rematch candidates given what is sort of the “secrecy” and taboo on straight talk about the situation – from all sides -agency, HF and AP. I think unless i was really in a jam, or felt i was getting a honest, straight story, I would do what i did before and start fresh with an out of country AP.

Calif Mom August 26, 2011 at 11:49 am

I guess I’m an anomaly–I have had two *very* forthright conversations about outgoing au pairs with potential hosts. But only two have ever asked me. Not sure if that’s because of agencies or because families just assume that the other family is going to spin them so it’s not worth checking. I don’t just bash the outgoing AP but I do try to share what I think would be a better environment for them. I’m also honest with the other hosts about what it was about our family that wasn’t working, too. I like to delegate a lot of tasks (actually, I *need* to delegate a lot of tasks and I cannot function well when I have to be so directive as to spell out every step in doing something, whether it’s laundry or setting up playdates). So I tell the other family that I am not super directive, I expect the au pair to be flexible and able to handle things on her own. That way the other family can compare/contrast how they work best and make a good decision for them.

The last AP we parted ways with — NV smart, very shallow, and a screamer– really needed a family in which she was treated as a big child. Needed extremely clear instructions (on *everything* because she was used to that from her own mom. Well, she found a family in which the mom really needed to have someone who would follow each and every very clear rule to the T. Last I heard they were very happy together.

I totally agree that a good counselor can ferret out the truth during rematch and guide you (if she also knows your family well). But I also know that those counselors are too rare.

Gianna August 27, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I think that if an LCC is doing her job ( contacting you every month , seeing the aupair every month ) than she should definitely have a good idea of the truth even if the truth is ” somewhere in the middle ‘. I agree that these LCCs are rare and from what I hear on this site and in personal conversations, host families often blow LCCs off and rarely return calls. My impression is that whereas families and aupairs slant or edit the truth , a ” civil divorce ” is as rare as a good LCC. Another problem I see is the proliferation of inexperienced LCCs and administrators who have no history of families. Turnover is rapid and new administrators , who are often young ( sometimes new college graduates ) think that they can assess a situation with little or no background.

CaliHostMom August 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I’ve been in the program for many years. This is such a great topic. I’ll post more later but what I would love to ask CV Harquail to do is set up a poll. I don’t think the agencies ever reveal what percent of matches work and I’ve always wondered. I think the way to ask the question is in two parts. How many APs have been placed in your family (through one of the legal AP agencies – so don’t include nannies, babysitters, casual placements not through an agency)? How many APs have left your family before the 11th month begins? We could then divide to get an aggregate percentage. I bet between 20 and 25% of placements don’t last the full year.

Should be working August 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm

This was tried about 1.5 yrs ago, check around on the website. I think we got a vague idea but there were statistical issues that clouded things, e.g. if your candidate from rematch was successful, she might nonetheless only have had 6 months left on her year. I can’t remember how it worked out, but it’s on here somewhere, in a helpful but definitely imperfect way.

HM Pippa August 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I wish our agency had allowed greater (ok, ANY) contact between host families. We had 3 failed matches in a year, and I think at least the last bad match could have been avoided if I had been given more access to information. When I asked to speak to rematch ap’s family, the agency was very clear that they would not share contact information. I recall something about “privacy” and “confidentiality” and “they’re trying to find their own replacement ap, so we don’t want to interfere.” The agency did give me the name of the APs LLC. The LLC never responded to multiple emails and voice messages.

I should have heard the warning bells, but I was psychically exhausted and didn’t hear them. We matched and it was a disaster. Several months in, I found a used crack pipe in AP’s possession. She admitted to smoking pot with it (not sure how she managed that–wrong tool for the job) after arguing that it didn’t belong to her, rather she was holding it for a friend. Combined with AP’s preference to spend her free time in the area of town I warned against because of the prevalence of drugs and prostitution, I strongly suspect that drug use may have been the reason for leaving her first family. In the absence of any sort of cooperation or transparency from the agency during our initial matching, I can only conclude that they were aware of her drug problem and passed her to us anyway. My suspicion was reinforced when we removed the AP from our home. The LCC said she wasn’t sure whether the agency would send her home or allow her to rematch. Ultimately they sent her home, but I was shocked that drug use wasn’t automatic grounds for removal from the program. I have no proof that the agency knew, but I certainly will not trust this agency or their APs again.

Anna August 26, 2011 at 2:20 pm

HM Pippa, can you please share the name of the agency?

HM Pippa August 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm

AuPair Care. I would return to our first agency, Cultural Care, who seems to do a much better job of screening ap candidates and matching. I didn’t rematch with CC, so I don’t know how transparent they are with rematching families.

JJ host mom August 26, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I’ve had similar experiences with Au Pair Care. We finally got lucky and turned out to be one of those great au pair / great host family matches made in heaven, but once this current au pair’s contract is up, so is my relationship with Au Pair Care. I will never use them again.

3 time Mama August 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

We’ve had three AWESOME APs with Au Pair Care and love our LCC. I wouldn’t judge an entire agency based on a few bad experiences.

anon for this August 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Same experience w/ Au Pair Care- I have never seen them send an AP home for any reason. I have seen them rematch APs multiple times. I have read the descriptions of rematching APs when we were in rematch- and there is just no way the agency is being honest. I think what Au pair care has going for it is a huge online pool of applicants (though not necessarily rematch applicants) for HFs to browse. Yes, there will certainly be some awesome candidates within such a large group, but I have to believe that their selection criteria is not as stringent. Our experience has been that we are on our own in terms of finding an appropriate candidate, and if things don’t work out, we would be on our own finding a replacement AP and potentially losing money in the process.

E2 August 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

We have found AuPairCare to be very fair during rematches. Our very troublesome au pair had the reasons for rematch stated on her profile and she didn’t find another family. She had to pay for her own ticket home. Another au pair in our cluster just went into rematch and also did not find a family b/c her profile stated why she was in rematch. She also bought her own ticket home. When we were in rematch, I also talked directly to host families when talking with au pairs…all you need to do is ask the au pair “can you put your host mom on the phone” or “is there a good time to talk with your host family for a reference.”
Just want to provide a balanced view!

Anna August 29, 2011 at 11:11 am

CC are transparent in rematch. When I was looking for rematch candidates, I was looking through them also – I was able to talk to other host families, and to LCCs, and felt I was given a fair picture.

Long Island Host Mom September 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm

CC is not transparent…1st ever AP – the LCC told the prospectiver new HM not to contact us as we wouldnt be fair. HM matched and never contacted me. I was devastated – She was a single HM with an Autistic child. This AP couldnt handle a child without SN let alone one that was. I was tempted to contact her as I had her info…but was also told not to – a few months later I get a call and its this HM and she asked me about the AP and if I had problems with safety and lying and I told her yes. She told me she found out about her lies and was thankful nothing happened to her child. They sent AP home ! Recently I went into rematch and the interview process for mediation and exit was not correct in the profile that was given to possible HF’s it was filled with lies, inaccuracies and things just left off -completely making it look like we were the problem along with the statement that the LCC & PM highly recommended her…DUH – she was only with us 3 days – they never met her – never spoke to her and how could they highly recommend her ?? Needless to say – she was rematched – but with a brand new family who didnt know they could contact us – didnt care or was told something that made them match…thats fine – but CC is far from transparent !

Should be working August 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm

My experience is not one of secrecy and suspicion in rematch, although it is emotionally and financially costly. CCAP is, as Anna said, relatively transparent: I got contact info for the previous HFs and for the LCCs, and the LCCs were pretty helpful, giving their frank views of a candidate, although sometimes they didn’t really know the story. This is, for me the NUMBER ONE reason to stick with them. I suppose it doesn’t make for a very good advertising point for them–because no one wants to evoke the specter of rematch when trying to lure families–but it actually would be a good angle for them to try to poach experienced HFs from other agencies.

I found that with ‘due diligence’, digging at that wound as TACL says, and getting the perspective of anyone at all who had contact with the AP, I was able to form impressions I trusted and turn down several candidates quickly. Trusting your gut while being inquisitive, and dismissing anyone who starts to seem not-so-great, is important. Our rematch turned out well–she turned out to be a very good AP, a few flaws, but definitely in the top few.

In my view the biggest fear in rematch is of surviving having that old AP still in your house for 2 wks. Ours in effect moved in with her boyfriend, which solved that for us.

Long Island Host Mom August 27, 2011 at 12:51 am

I just rematched through CCAP and I got a call from he prospective HM. We realized we knew each other from another Internet Group of Host Families. She and I knew the reasons we were both rematching…I reiterated to her how I felt…and then she sent me the introduction that CCAP was sending out to prospective families and it was filled with lies and inaccuracies and left out so many important points – including the fact that the AP wanted to rematch initially and she had 4 reasons – none of which were listed in the profile…now I know why she was still being matched with children my daughters age…and the issues she had with us – were pretty much the same as this other HM…SO – Right now I have alot of distrust in the CCAP matching system. They leave out what they want and they change other things that they want – just so they can get an AP matched – that might not be appropriate for some families or not as an AP entirely…and that is why some rematches dont work – cause you dont get the entire story. WHY do they do this ? Its deceptive and fraud it you ask me…If the Media got wind of this – they would have a field day…(And one of my clients is actually on one of the morning news shows !!) My very 1st AP we went into rematch- She put my daughter in danger and was a liar…and yet they rematched her with a single mom with an Autistic child and told her not to contact us for we were biased – she wasnt smart and didnt contact us until several months later when she rematched and realized she was duped – and she learned of this girls lies and actions…CCAP is not on our side. They are on the side of making $$ – its only a business to them and the safety of our children and the matching process seems to be one big scam. My last AP was AMAZING – but I dont credit this to the matching process…its was pure luck !

1st time HM August 27, 2011 at 10:59 am

From what I am reading it appears that all agencies practice the same philosophy of rematching. I was not with CCAP, but my agency (from what people in my community are telling me) does the same thing – rematch AP’s that are not appropriate and do not allow the communication. It is really a shame and diservice to everyone involved that an AP’s role is not viewed or outlined as a JOB! in reality, you do a crappy job, your likely not to get another one! I am starting to create a review form and when I match with my next AP I am letting them know up front that I will be using it during their placement with me. If they get good reviews they get extra stuff from us, if they get a poor review, they have a chance to improve, rematch or go home. Maybe the review will go with them if the chance is given….isn;t this the way it works in the real world?

eastcoastcounselor August 27, 2011 at 9:51 am

As a local counselor for a national agency, I can say that my regional managers always encourage me to be completely honest during rematches. I’ve actually been told that transparency is our rule to follow. However, believe me when I say that on rare occasions it’s really not a great idea to speak with the former host family; I currently have one family that broke rules and cannot discuss the au pair calmly or fairly. The au pair was rematched after the new family spoke with me, not the former host family. I believe that it’s in my own best interests to be honest- I don’t want the agency I work for to get a bad reputation and I don’t want to make another counselor deal with a problem au pair. I also will not expect another au pair to join this family without knowing exactly what they’re getting into (of course the family has agreed to abide by the rules again).
Last year one of my families took an au pair whose counselor didn’t recommend her. The other counselor was very, very honest with me and I, in turn, was very, very honest with my family. My family had already met her, though, and chose to keep the match. She successfully stayed with them the entire year! There was true transparency throughout and the situation ended on a positive note.
I agree that both host families and au pairs need to ask thoughtful questions. Many times an au pair can do well with a host family that is different in some significant way- the children are a different age, the parents work or don’t work outside of the house, the driving expectations are different, etc. Sometimes it really is personality. But nobody should be agreeing to a match without believing that they know what’s happened in the past and being comfortable that the situation isn’t likely to be the same in the new match.

1st time HM August 27, 2011 at 10:48 am

I have been reading many posts about rematch for several months and from what I gathered it seems so scary. I have previously posted on our situation as new HP and the issues we have. We decided that we will not be transparent, for the fact that it was doing no one any good and our AP wasn’t learning and our LCC was not listening. SO instead of rematching this is what we did: put the screws to the AP and LCC and said; things will get better or she will have to leave with a bad reference and we are quitting the agency and moving on to another.

We told our Au Pair that the issues we were having were workable if she was willing to change (no safety issues, just attitudes to HM/HD). We also told her that we would not support her with going to another HF is she was going to behave poorly because it would not be fair to another family (she has a HUGE sense of entitlement) to treat them and their family/home this way, and there was a HUGE chance that she would have to go home and forfeit her year/bonuses. We laid it all out on the table to involve everyone. Things are better and time will be up in 3 months so we are going to complete the year with out a rematch.

I do know this much: My LCC would not have told anyone about her issues with HF is she was rematching, If fact, I am convinced that she was making it out to be us at first because we weren’t giving in to complaining……no enough “recognition” for her birthday really meaning the “little” gifts we gave bc her mother gave her a plane ticket for her birthday ($700) and we gave her $150 in gift cards and little things the kids found for her……. We didn’t give her enough time off for being sick (to date 10 days+ her 10 days vacation), despite her saying every other day she does not feel well.. and a few other issues.

I have learned to be very frank to all parties and involved because I was feeling like a doormat by both my AP and the Agency. So with all said and our “new year approaching” we decided that we are the customer to the agency and are using a new one for our next match. I interviewed all the local LCC’s that are in our area with the other agencies and found MY match. I feel confident that I can now choose AP #2 with confidence and feel that I will be supported because I have put myself out there of what did work, what didn’t and what we are not going to tolerate again. I am hoping that we will never go in rematch in the future if we can avoid it, however, if we do, I do not think I will choose an AP who is in rematch because of all the poor reviews I have read.

southern host mom August 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I’m glad things turned around with some tough love, but I’m curious about how you would provide the AP with a negative reference if she were to rematch? I agree that the LCCs/agencies tend to imply that the host family was ‘difficult’ and I have seen many examples of APs being allowed to rematch when they should not have. But in my experience the current host family has no contact with any prospective host families looking to rematch with the exiting AP. Phone interviews are conducted via cell phone/ skype, so the AP is in the very unusual position of leaving her current employer without any concerns about this employer giving her a negative reference/recommendation. Where is the APs incentive to act in a professional manner, especially if things have turned bad with current HF?

Calif Mom August 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm

1st time HM,

Yes, but…. :-) My BEST 3 au pairs, hands-down, were all from rematch. They were the most reliable, least “entitled”, most tolerant, and most just plain fun with my kids. One thing I’ve learned: never say never!

Calif Mom August 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I should caveat this: I met all 3 of them in person before agreeing to match with them. I highly recommend this. The one rematch I didn’t meet in person before taking was a huge mistake and we ended up sending her into rematch (for her 3rd time).

1st time HM August 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm

It is good advice, I shouldn’t be too quick to judge, but I only have on experience and my AP version of her friends in re-match and I can not believe some of the situations. I soppose an in person interview would allow me to see if the AP is really for us regardless of her re-match situation. I will keep this in mind moving forward. Thanks so much!

Should be working August 28, 2011 at 11:02 am

Calif Mom, do you have any details as to what you saw in person with your good matches, and what you did not see with others that you may have met while interviewing rematch candidates but did not take? Is it a ‘gut’ feeling or is there really some concrete wisdom to share here?

We had the opportunity to meet our current au pair during matching some months ago (not in-country). Honestly in person she was fine, but maybe owing to shyness or nervousness seemed a little subdued and not so impressive. But her application, including video, was so funny and lively that I actually had to go AGAINST my in-person impression (which was of a sort of mousy type) and I’m SO GLAD I did. But this was not a rematch situation and overall it was out of the ordinary. Still, I want to know if there are in-person criteria that you can specifically cite!

NHM August 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm

what speaks against asking the rematching AuPair for her (former) HP’s phone number to talk to them?

Anna August 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm

In agencies that don’t allow contact with other host families, this will be against the rules, and the au pair might not give the number, and report the family to the LCC; knowing the rules, another family might also refuse to talk.

hOstCDmom August 30, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Does the contract specifically forbid contact with (former) HP of an rematch AP? With which agency? (I’ve been with 2 big agencies, CC and APIA) and have never seen this provision.) If I didn’t sign a contract with such specific restrictions on my interviewing behavior, I would take the position that *any* (legal) checking that I want to do is fair game…..

Anna August 31, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I don’t remember signing a contract; I think it is in their handbook. The agency was AuPairUSA. AuPairCare also doesn’t allow contact with prior host families.

momto2 August 29, 2011 at 7:26 pm

We found ourselves in rematch a year ago when we found out how punitive and mean our AP was being toward our children. This girl had some serious issues and we finally had it when she forced our kid to sit at a table for 3 hours when he didn’t finish a yogurt he had asked to eat for breakfast. She said she was teaching him not to waste food since he was clearly “very spoiled”. Our other child, seeing this, force fed himself his leftovers to the point of throwing up b/c he didn’t want to get in trouble (never mind the fact that she prepared the kids portion sizes that would be too big for most American adults). She yelled at the kids if they tried to show her any affection and she had no tolerance for kids’ imaginative play or silly kid games. (She would sit in a chair and read a book “supervising” while they played by themselves). She lasted 3 months and she went into rematch.

The new HM called us for a reference and we tried our best to strike that balance between being honest and venting, and we wondered if we should mention the yogurt incident, thinking it could be nails in the coffin for her chances of finding a match. We figured she would do okay with older kids who didn’t want/need hugs or someone to engage them, but who just needed an adult present while the parents were not there. She matched with the family and we started to move on.

Lo and behold, we got a call from another host family 3 weeks later who had received her rematch profile. It appears that there was a “personality conflict” with the AP and her second family. Right! We knew we had to be honest and provide full disclosure so that another family would not accept this girl due to our cryptic reference, thinking she was suitable for any type of child care. We felt so guilty for not fully disclosing to the 2nd family how she treated our kids. She had no business being an AP. We told the 3rd family everything. As luck would have it, she did not match with a 3rd family and she went back home.

We hope to never be in rematch again, but if we are, we will definitely not hold back on honesty for the sake of being diplomatic.

Should be working August 29, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Lesson to HPs interviewing rematch APs and their HFs: If you are able to talk to the HF, ask SPECIFICALLY for anecdotes, including “what’s the worst thing the AP did?” I once did this and got the answer that she took the kids to the mall instead of to a playground. This was apparently a big deal to them, but not to me. The AP turned out well for us.

4 ever mom September 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm

so I am changing my sign on due to many new comers signing in as 1st time HM (which is good!), I am not feeling new anymore due to our year coming to a close in the couple of months.

So has anyone ever interviewed the family of a year 2 au pair? we may be interviewing a year 2 au pair and I was wondering how this works. This may be another post. I am going to look in archives.
Thanks

Should be working September 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I once interviewed some extending au pairs while in rematch. Extending au pairs know the story, they do not have stars in their eyes like out-of-country APs. My experience was that they knew enough to ask a a lot about perks and what member-of-the-family expectations there are. That’s fine, but there is a jadedness perhaps regarding the experience. One turned me down because I sent her the handbook and she thought there were too many duties outside of straight childcare (laundry, 1/wk vacuuming kids’ areas, etc.).

So with extension APs I would be extra clear on my rules and expectations, and start on the strict side, knowing that things can relax later. Of course the HF reference is HUGE. I would ask the HF a lot about how their family works and what their life is like, to see if it’s similar to mine and thus would work for the AP, if her year was good for them.

My 2 cents September 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

Totally agree with the above. My experience is based on extending with our au pairs that were terrific in year 1. Year 2 it was “okay” in general, and kids were safe, and there’s certainly no first weeks training to worry about, but there’s a definite decrease in motivation to please. Not sure I would do it again, and I definitely wouldn’t take on an extension from another family, no matter the reference. Year 1 and year 2 are totally different. Year 2 tends to be like one, long, last few months of year 1 which, in our general experience, is the time our au pairs, to the one, start to really slack off and become inordinately forgetful and distracted.

Anonamomma September 8, 2011 at 5:31 am

I had the same experience with extending – I found that my AP lost all interest and actually found it very hard to build up a new network of friends after all the AP’s in her circle had returned home. She didn’t bond with the new APs arriving because they all wanted to do the sightseeing etc that she had already done. All in all – don’t think I’d do it again unless the AP had a specific educational reason for staying, i.e. a two year dip. Other than that I’d skip.

Taking a Computer Lunch September 8, 2011 at 7:49 am

I’ve had very different experiences. My first AP lived with us for 3 1/2 years (we actually attempted to sponsor her as an employer), and I would say that her attitude didn’t fall apart until she gave us notice that she was leaving – at that point I had no leverage to keep her going. She was, however, much better with my typically developing child from infancy through toddlerhood, but not so great with him when he became a preschooler – and that’s where we butted heads. She was always great with my special needs child.

AP #2 extended for 6 months, and remained great, and I learned how to manage that “good-bye” month prior to her departure that has served me well for APs #3-6. AP #3 started her extension period, but had to go home halfway through due to a family emergency. Since then, my European APs have not wanted to extend, and the one non-European AP who wanted to extend was not offered the opportunity by us, but was able to do so successfully with another family.

All of those who wanted to stand, had educational goals that may have been partially motivated by love. Only the first AP has stayed in the US. I had no complaints about the quality of their care – none slacked off (although it’s hard to slack off with my special needs child).

Mom23 September 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Some of our best au pairs had been au pairs who were rematches. Two in particular had come from families where there was a personality issue and the host parents did not want to talk to families (one former host parent had refused to sign the au pair’s exit papers delaying the rematch) and both were wonderful au pairs (we still see both). We had one 2nd year au pair who was also good, but not a part of the family — we knew this going in and that had been part of the problem with the previous host family. She was on when with the kids, but she had a boyfriend and she wanted independence. We were fine with that.

I think that listening to what is not said is equally important as what is said. If the previous host family does not volunteer much that is positive then it might be a sign that there are issues that are not being mentioned. I once spoke with a prospective family and didn’t feel I could tell them things that were supicions that I had about our au pair.

I have also seen the flip side — where the prospective host mom is so desperate to match that she doesn’t listen to even explicit issues. I had one au pair who went into rematch due to her inability to drive. The prospective host mom told me that if that was the only issue then she would hire the au pair because she lived in a rural area where there was not a lot of traffic. I did tell her that I felt that she would be putting her children at risk if she allowed the au pair to drive her children.

Return Aupair September 9, 2011 at 11:20 am

Iam missing post of Rematch Aupairs here.

I was an Aupair a couple of years ago and i decided to do this great chance again.

I had an rematch after 6 Months. The Reason where, the contract with the agancy is ending after 12motns and she had an aupair wo went to rematch after 3 Months. So she decided to look for an live out nanny (since she needed me 20h a week). The new Nanny would come 3 month before my 1. year was ending. So i called my counsler (she was really nice) and she told me i can go in a rematch. My Hostmum was realy upset that iam leaving before she found a new nanny. I told here i would not found a family for 3 Months if iam waiting. So we did not speak with each other. I would not think she would say nice things about me. I know iam not perfect but we just had problems to communicate about some issues.

My new Family was different. They did not clean up at any time and even the dogs came to eat inside out of the pot. I realy liked the children and we spent every day outside and had made a lot of fun things. I decided to extend and told my hostfamily that i was looking for a new family. She was not happy about it and since this day we had a lot of issues and every new hostfamily called my hostmom. I guess she did not say something good about me, because the 3 familys who where my favorits did not match after the phone call.

So if you always ask the old Hostfamily nobody can know if she is saying the truth. If you angry and upset, you maybe think different afters a fight. Also i could say its not nice that an rematch aupair cant talk to the old aupair. If the new one is calling the old one would probebly not tell the truth because she is angry of the family.

The best thing is, to ask the LCC or meet the aupair before they match.

Anna September 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Return au pair, I am sorry about your experience, but there are two sides to every story. We know yours; but we don’t know the host family’s.

Yes, your first host mother didn’t honor her one year commitment; but you also dropped her unexpectedly. I don’t think you would not have a problem finding a new family with three months left in your year, especially if you were planning to extend. Families in rematch need an au pair urgently and good au pairs rematch quickly.

The fact that you didn’t speak to your first host mother after telling her about your decision, and had communication problems with her as you said, and also are having parting issues with your new host family, may be just bad luck, or may be a sign that your skills of communication and handling conflicts peacefully are not so good.

Return Aupair September 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm

We know yours; but we don’t know the host family’s.

Thats the thing what i mean. Nobody knows what was exactly happening in the old family. A Rematch is not easy for both parts. An Aupair who has to leave all her friends, the kids that she loves can be afraid for a new situation. The Hostfamily who got just used to a new girl/boy in here Family, who just startet to trust her Aupair with the Kids got dissepointed.

So if you ask on of this partners for information about the rematch you will just the one side.

I did not have a bad year and iam not saying i didnt not like my hostfamilys. I do will say i had some problems to communicate about Problems and i wished we could just had work problems out.

Iam still think an aupair who just turned 18 is really young. But thats another story.

*** Off Topic ***

I dont think it was unfair to ask for a rematch. My Friend found the picture of my hostfamily looking on Great Aupair for a nanny who starts 3 months till my year is ending. Maybe i would have found a family but maybe they would have send me home. I dont think it was fair to not tell me. It also wouldnt be fair if the aupair would look for a new family without telling there family.

Anna September 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm

No, if the families are allowed to talk to families, they don’t hear one side. They also ask the au pair about reasons for rematch, and the local counselor. If they are not allowed to talk to other host families, they only hear one side – the au pair’s.

I think most families are smart enough to figure out the real situation if they can talk to everybody.

anonymous for this post September 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Also, as discussed so often on this blogl, what is an issue for one family is not for another. One family may hate that the au pair is never home….another may well be looking for an independent au pair who does the job but doesn’t want to be “a member of the family”. One family needs a strong driver; another doesn’t need a driver. There are many reasons why what was a problem or issue for one set of HF might not be for another.

Return Aupair September 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Would you ever choose an aupair, if there current HF tells you that everythink was bad?
The thing is when it comes to a rematch both sides are not happy, a little angry, upset or worried. We all know after a couple off weeks thinking about an older Situation, sometimes we would act different.

Maybe you unterstand what i mean if i switch the sides. Imagine you go into a Rematch and the new Aupair what is interisted to match with you family want to talk to the old aupair what the reason for the rematch is and how the family is like. Would you trust here (if the rematch was your idea) to tell fair the story, if she is angry with you? Would you think on aupair will match after telling “all the bed ” storys?

But i know you only want the best care for your children, you dont want an aupair in you house who is a troublemaker or is not willing to work.

I think the best desicion ist to call the LCC. She should know the aupair site and the hf side and should tell them the reasons of both side, without beeing unfair for Aupairs or Familys. I also think if the aupair is not realy responsibel to take care of children, the lcc should send her home.

When i was in Rematch i told the hostfamilys the reason (sure it was how i feel about), i also visit some of them in the aeria and known of them asked me if they could contact my hostmum.

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