How Much Does the Au Pair Agency You Choose Really Matter?

by cv harquail on August 21, 2013

Of all the pieces that go into finding, matching and working with an au pair that’s ‘right for you’, the agency you choose is pretty low on the totem pole.

applesI say that having only ever used one agency, so I know I’m not speaking from experience. At least with regard to agencies.

Instead, I think about my experience and your experiences too with all the other things that go into having a successful year with an Au Pair, and I rank them in this order:

What’s Most Important When Choosing an Au Pair?

  1. Knowing what kind of help you need
  2. Knowing what kind of person will fit with your family
  3. Interviewing carefully so that you discover your blind spots and candidates blind spots
  4. Focusing on learning and growing rather than achieving ‘perfection’ in any way
  5. Being well prepared to welcome another person into your home and into your family
  6. Being sensible about your expectations
  7. Being fair in how you treat your Au Pair
  8. Having clear expectations, regular open conversation and kind intentions

I think these are far more important that which agency, which country, what age, how good your LCC is, and more.  Plus, these are all things that you can influence!

My sense is that when families first approach the Au Pair option, they imagine that they can make concrete decisions (which agency) with concrete measures (how old) and by choosing wisely set themselves up for a great year.

But having a good au pair experience is less about where you shop than about the ingredients you choose and the way you combine them.

You can find a great au pair and get support with the legal elements of the au pair arrangement by using any of the verified, official US agencies.

There are some important Au Pair Agency differences to consider, such as (and again in my order of importance):

  1. Whether you like their matching process,
  2. Whether there is a local counselor with a good reputation
  3. Whether there is a cluster in your area so that your au pair has a peer group,
  4. Whether the agency rules require you to give your au pair 36 contiguous hours off each week
  5. What the host parents in your area say about their experiences
  6. The cost of the program fees
  7. The quality of customer service (e.g., will the matching counselor call you back promptly? Will the person in billing help you fix a payment problem?
  8. The quality of the Agency’s orientation & training classes

We’ve tried in the past to compare and contrast au pair agencies, and these comparisons are difficult to do well.  Supposedly more comprehensive ‘surveys’ of host parents who’ve used various agencies are not scientific, and the surveys are largely filled out by host parents who have extreme experiences one way or the other.

The data that would *really* matter — about the percentage of rematches — is held privately by each of the agencies. More on that soon.

And in the end, I’m not sure it would matter all that much.  

Time spent doing in-depth research about agencies would be better spent working on a handbook, thinking about your host parent perspective, and getting excited about the adventure.

I’m sure a lot of you readers disagree with me, so have at it in the comments.

In the meantime, here’s the email that prompted this post:

 My wife and I are thinking about hiring an au pair. We have a toddler and our second child is due in the next month. We’re still at the early stages of this process, so I was wondering if you’ve come across good, or for that matter negative, feedback about any of the agencies that help connect families and au pairs?



Image: Apples Attribution Some rights reserved by Tecfan


Ruth August 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm

If you’re considering an Agency, I would interview each LC in your area, first, and see who you connect with b/c I would assume it can make all the difference in your overall relationship with the Agency, your AP, etc! In hindsight, I wish we had gone with the Agency/LC a friend recommended to us.

Secondly, I would also go with the EXTRAORDINAIRE program that I believe only Au Pair in America offers since you have a toddler and baby on the way. I would happily have paid the extra $50 a week after reading of much better AP reviews from moms on here vs regular AP’s.

We only went with Interexchange and, did so, based on reviewing all the AP profiles from each Agency and, being new host parents thought, for sure, we were getting the best candidate and then selected the Agency the AP was registered with. In the end, we had a terrible experience and it boiled down to lies and additional things you don’t know until the AP arrives, but the LC we had assigned to us had very little patience or concern for our family needs and wanted us to keep the AP’s regardless of our required set of skills we had requested, told me I was hormonal, bad mouthed me to a 2nd AP that didn’t work out, etc. After 24 weeks of chaos, we withdrew from the AP program, but I do believe if I were to EVER go down this route again, I would do things so differently and, first off, make it a priority to interview the LC that is going to support both the AP and the HF through this process. Good luck and I hope you get a stellar AP! Good childcare can make all the difference in the world!

Ruth August 21, 2013 at 4:23 pm

And, one more thing, listen to even the most miniscule gnawing thought. For instance, our first AP talked over us in our Skype interview. We thought it was b/c she was nervous and/or Skype was delayed. I noticed it, but didnt’ realize until after she arrived, she answered our questions, took the initiative to expand on it and then quickly moved on b/c she was hiding the fact she couldn’t actually perform our skill set we asked and, all the while she confidently made us believe we didn’t have to press that issue.

Our 2nd AP didn’t talk about her family. Once again, I noticed it, but didn’t press it. She came to us with a LOT of loss and had a lot of noticeable baggage she needed to work through and, as a result, left the program of her own accord b/c she wasn’t ready. T

he 3rd and last one came to us with very poor English and I also questioned her ability to discern what was appropriate attire. This time, I had a friend who spoke her language address it with her in our interview before she arrived. She assured us that would not be an issue. She was also the baby of the family (I will never hire a baby of the family again, for a multitude of other reasons). In the end, it took at least 4 conversations, of which she understood each and every one, with a final stern conversation for her to realize I would not tolerate her wearing a bikini top, a shirt that came off her shoulders, just barely covering her chest, showing her midriff and PAINTED on jeans.

Umm…sorry, my #1 priority and safety are my children and I had been out with her to know the cat calls, wistles, unwanted attention was NOT going to ever make me feel safe. She ended up not working out for other reasons, but the point is: listen to your instinct. If something is gnawing at you in the interview, don’t overlook it. And listen to the advice of these really smart mommas on here. I wish I had discovered this site before I pursued an AP!

Host Mom in the City August 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm

We’ve been with both Au Pair in America and Cultural Care, which are the two big agencies in our area. I also looked at Euraupair, but they have a much smaller selection.

Honestly, first and foremost, I would sign up with every agency you can (it’s usually free) and then see who has the au pair you click with. That is probably the most important thing. Since the agencies don’t seem to vary all that much, best to expand your reach to see that you’re getting to your whole pool of candidates.

Secondly, I’d find out who has a big cluster in your area. Although honestly this doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore with Facebook. Although our first au pair found most of her friends through her cluster, our second found most of her friends outside of her cluster. But when it does matter is when you’re in rematch – if you’re with an agency that has very few au pairs, you will of course have very few rematch au pairs to choose from. That alone eliminated the smaller agencies for me personally.

Third, I’d consider whether you want to pursue a special program. APIA and Euraupair have special programs with more experienced candidates, although they are more expensive ($50 more a week for the stipend, and about $1,000 more for the agency fee). We had a great experience with an extraordinaire and a very mediocre experience with a regular au pair. Based on our mediocre experience, we will personally never have a regular au pair again. But I have heard of people having success with regular au pairs. And you can find candidates that could have qualified for the extraordinaire program, but either chose not to (to open up their pool of interested families) or because their agency doesn’t offer it (like Cultural Care). But you have to really search and take your time.

Fourth, I’d consider the cost. APIA seems to run about $1,000 a year more than Cultural Care and Euraupair. The difference is worth it for us because we want an extraordinaire and Euraupair doesn’t have too many candidates. I’d have to say I wouldn’t recommend choosing based on who’s cheapest. There are a number of differences that could make or break your year, and the price seems to be just about the same everywhere (give or take $1,000 a year).

Finally, I’d consider the matching process. APIA lets you look at most of the candidates yourself and pick and choose who to interview. I like it because it puts the control in my hands and I can be interviewing multiple candidates at a time. Some people don’t like it because it’s a lot of work and because au pairs can be talking to multiple families at a time, so you might miss out if someone you like matches before you decide. Cultural Care has a search feature, but I don’t think they put all the au pairs in it, and it doesn’t have many filter options. They seem to prefer to match you with a candidate themselves based on what you tell them you want. I’ve been through matching with them twice though, and been pretty underwhelmed with their interest in finding you someone that fits your needs. Both times I sent them a specific list and told them I literally didn’t want anyone matched with me if they didn’t fit that list, and both times they kept sending me candidates that didn’t have what we wanted. I think that’s how we ended up with our current au pair (who we’ve been wholly unsatisfied with) – she was matched with us even though she didn’t fit what we wanted. The candidates know they’ve been matched and therefore you have to actually reject them if you don’t want to talk to them, which made me feel really badly. So we went ahead and talked to her, she was really nice and seemed like she would be a good fit anyway, so we went with her. Mistake. I learned that I really need to not even begin talking to anyone that isn’t exactly what we want on paper because I am a sucker for someone sweet :)

Anyway, that’s my lengthy review of our process for selecting an agency. I’d also say LCC is important, but we only talked briefly with both of ours and we weren’t able to get a good feel for either one. Turns out we like the APIA one much better, but I couldn’t have known that before experiencing a year with her, so I wouldn’t put much stock in that. Plus, I’m sure they vary significantly even within each agency.

In summary, we are an APIA family from now on, based on our need for the extraordinaire program and the matching process. Now if only they would update their website (Cultural Care’s website is awesome) and lower their fees a bit, we’d be totally sold.

Host Mom in the City August 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Oh also, this is not a scientific survey by any stretch of the imagination, but based on my extensively looking through the candidates at APIA and Cultural Care, I was consistently shocked (and I mean SHOCKED) at the some of the experience that was accepted with Cultural Care. I’d say the majority of the candidates I looked at had clearly inflated hourly numbers or had only babysitting younger siblings or cousins. There were so many candidates that said they babysat their younger brother “30 days a month for 8 hours a day” that it really made me seriously question the commitment by Cultural Care to vet the candidates. I really like the questions they ask the au pairs on Cultural Care, but I felt like the interview sheets, experiences, and references were a lot more solid feeling on the APIA applications. If you like the Cultural Care format, I’d suggest simply asking the APIA au pairs the CC questions when you’re interviewing.

hOstCDmom August 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm

I would say point number 4 – re whether you have to give them 1.5 CONSECUTIVE days off each week could be a deal breaker if you generally have your AP work Mon-Fri, and then want to go out on Saturday nights a few times a month. I find that Cultural Care rule to be aggravating and annoying (and the consecutive requirement is an agency rule, not a State Dept. rule/statutory regulation — I know APIA does not have it)

Host Mom in the City August 21, 2013 at 8:28 pm

I forgot about this, and it’s not the most important thing when choosing, but it did really bug me this year with Cultural Care. Our au pair only works 25 hours a week most weeks except the summer because she works a split schedule (2 hours in the morning and 3 in the afternoon) so we have plenty of time left over. We rarely have her work on weekends, but the few times we’ve had a wedding or party to go to on Saturday night, it has meant we have to take off Friday the whole day or Monday morning. It’s annoying because we are so under hours anyway and have a very fair and consistent schedule. Having her work a handful of Saturdays during the year shouldn’t require me taking time off in our situation.

My 2 Cents Host Mom August 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Ok, I feel really bad admitting this because I am normally such a stickler for the rules…

Both of the agencies we have been with require one and a half days off consecutively … which pretty much translates to no Saturdays. During the school year our au pairs work on average about 30 hours a week, so we would have plenty of hours if our au pair worked a Saturday evening.

We do pride ourselves on always following the rules, but this is the one and only time we do not comply. If we have an event that we have to attend on a Saturday evening (which happens maybe 4 times a year) our au pair does work, of course still staying within the total 45 hours and one and a half days off total for the week. I justify it because I am following the state department rules still…no federal laws broken, right!

I wonder why the agencies even make this rule when it is not required.

Seattle Mom August 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm

We have done the exact same thing.. not often, but we have definitely done it. And I’m a stickler about everything else too- 45 hour/week max, 10 hour/day max, etc etc.

Hayley August 21, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Our family has used two agencies (Cultural Care and Au Pair Care). I haven’t thought much of either of the LLC/ADs we were assigned to and I can see where it would be really helpful to have competent assistance if/when you run into significant problems with your AP. By sheer luck, an AD from another area was on duty during our usual AD’s maternity leave while we experienced our one rematch nightmare of hosting 6 APs. She was competent, accessible and helpful.

Both agencies are pretty expensive, IMHO. Both agencies are in this game to maximize profit by talking out of both sides of their mouths – one side minimizes a rematch APs problems to keep her in the pool (and thereby reduce the agency’s recruiting and training costs), while assuring HFs that they will do all they can to help with mediation, adjustment and practical advice (what do I do when my AP can’t get a class? what happens when she needs a doctor and medication? FYI, our AD could answer neither of these questions, leaving us to duke it out ourselves.)

I stick with APC because I like how they present their candidates and I’ve gotten really good at screening using their format. However, I did like HMintheC’s advice above to simply sign up with as many agencies as you can tolerate and take them all for a ride to find the AP that best fits your needs. Having a great AP is at least 80% of the game – the rest you can probably live with no matter what a pain or hassle it is.

Should be working August 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Here are two other criteria to add to CV’s list, although neither one is obvious:

Does the agency allow HPs interviewing APs who are coming out of rematch to contact the candidate’s previous HPs? If you end up in rematch, this is HUGE. AFAIK only Cultural Care does this. To me it’s a deal breaker. It is hard to keep in mind when you are a new HP, but rematch definitely happens. If you need a new AP in less than 6 weeks, or at an off-season time of the year for your preferred nationality, you will be looking at candidates coming from rematch–which obviously evokes questions of why the AP didn’t work out for the previous family. And without contact with the previous HPs, it’s totally unclear what may have really happened to lead to the rematch. (With contact with previous HPs it can also be totally unclear, but you can at least try for a less lopsided view of things.)

Second criterion: I’ve written this before, but CCAP also supplies candidates’ abbreviated DiSC personality test reports to prospective HPs. The CCAP report is so terse that it is not so helpful; but if you take the full-length DiSC yourself (online as I did, $35 and 40 min) you get such a thorough description of how the test works that it is much easier to read between the lines of the CCAP DiSC reports.

Host Mom in the City August 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm

This would really concern me. Talking to the host parents of au pairs in rematch would be an absolute must for me. Can anyone confirm which agencies as a rule do not ever allow this?

Anna August 21, 2013 at 10:35 pm

I’ve been with four agencies over the years. Interexchange/Au Pair USA doesn’t allow to talk to previous host family, and I believe Au Pair Care doesn’t either. With GoAuPair, I believe they do let you talk to the previous family, and definitely Cultural Care does too.

Leaving a Comment August 22, 2013 at 12:24 am

They cannot really prevent you from talking to previous HF. Ask your candidate for a contact info. If everything was fine, there should not be any problem. If the situation is as simple as “Oh, HF just decided to drop off the program” and the HF is supportive and willing to give their AP good references, why would there be any issue?

Anna August 22, 2013 at 5:43 am

Yes, they actively do prevent you talking to the previous family; with Interexchange my LCC did emphasize that rule, and if I “went behind her back” and asked the candidate for the family’s number and called them, I may have been in trouble for breaking “the rule”, just like you are risking your host family standing if you break any other rule. And the candidate, empowered by the rule, could’ve simply refused and told the agency of my attempt.

Host Mom in the City August 22, 2013 at 7:23 am

Actively preventing me from contacting a previous host family is a huge red flag. Anyone liking for an agency – I would suggest asking this up front and not choosing any agency that would actively restrict you from contacting the family. All of the agencies seem to have shown that they are going to put rematch AP’s best foot forward when rematching, so you must so some research yourself to find the truth.

Momma Gadget August 22, 2013 at 10:40 am

The Au pair we matched with from transition was beyond awesome. The family he came from was abusive, breaking multiple rules, and the HM was half past crazy.They tried to block my APs transition, and did all in their power to delay his arrival to our family.
It was our LC who got the real story on the situation from his coordinator. Our LC put her foot down, insured that they follow the rules (at least in transition) and released the AP on time. I am really grateful that we did not have to be directly exposed to such a selfish malicious lunatic.
We also had 2 extension APs who’s HFs were upset that the AP decided to extend with another family. I didn’t feel the need to talk to them directly either.One was AWESOME the other was really good.
When I look back at the 2 APs that we went into transition with, I gave my opinions and made suggestions as to what type of situation might be better match .( ie younger children, one child etc) Our LC conveyed these to the Agency, and both APs happily finished out their year in situations similar to my recommendations.
Honestly- it was a really crazy stressful time – I don’t think I would have been able to give a fair and neutral assessment “live” to another HF. After taking the time,editing (and reediting out all the sarcasm)our experiences down to an honest unemotional evaluation, I would have resented being asked to discuss it further with the potential new HF while I was still struggling to settle our own childcare needs. For me, talking to the previous HF, who’s needs and requirements differ than ours, and who’s opinions I will be suspect of anyway, is not the best use of my time. My LC’s Experience and connections in evaluating any of our APs has been invaluable.
Perhaps having older children with tattle tale tendencies makes it easier for me to not feel this is necessary. Yet,if I felt it necessary to the well being of my family to speak to the previous HF( who were willing), I would-whether it was against agency policy or not.
so I guess my point in this long winded blither it that this is not a policy that would influence me in choosing an agency.

hOstCDmom August 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm

I would openly ignore that rule – I would NEVER hire someone if I were told “You may not speak with their former employer”.

Host Mom in the City August 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Interesting response, Momma Gadget, thanks for the perspective.

Should be working August 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Definitely if you have contact to a previous HF you are likely to hear bad things about the AP (unless the reason for rematch was financial or something more concrete). And it puts you in the weird position of trying to figure out what really happened. BUT I’d rather it be ME doing that than hearing from the agency, “There was a communication problem” (which was the reason the agency gave for most of the rematch candidates) and not knowing how to interpret that.

Host Mom in the City August 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Agree, Should be Working. If we had rematched, I could have honestly said many good things about our au pair and suggested a type of family that might have been a better fit. Hopefully the new host family would hear that I was a rational person and could assume that I was being truthful about her strengths and weaknesses. If I called a rematching host parent and the person was a raving lunatic on the phone with only nasty things to say about the au pair, that would probably tell me quite a bit more about the host family than it would about the au pair, so I would probably believe it if the agency said it was the host family’s fault. I definitely agree that you’ll have to read between the lines of what the host family says, but I would bristle if an agency told me I was explicitly restricted from contacting the former host family.

Taking a Computer Lunch August 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm

APIA permits rematch candidates to talk to the HF. Although I’ve never been in rematch myself, DH and I have acted as second contacts for a couple of good APs who were in situations where the HF definitely took advantage of them and were likely to misreport the AP to the matching families. We made it clear that we could not attest to their childcare skills – just their personalities and our knowledge of their current HF.

When we chose not to extend with an AP, our data sheet went into her profile. We did carefully word it so she would be offered opportunities to extend with other families. We were up front that she had had an accident and was basically a beginner driver after 8 months with us. After many, many, many conversations with other families, she matched with a family that did not need a driver.

LuvCheetos August 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I think the “official” APIA line is that you cannot, but when we rematched, the family interviewing our outgoing AP asked and the LCC said it was fine, so I talked to the prosepective host mom. She actually got the offer from them, but declined. I had told her that I didn’t sense the new host mom was very kind and she had made some demands (asking me to make the AP available so she could come down in person, which I easily agreed to, but she was so nasty about it). She got another offer, so I guess it worked out for her.

hOstCDmom August 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm

We had an AP whom we rematched with who, among many other things, was racist. She made overt comments about African Americans (we are not African American, so she apparently thought that it was ok to do this; she said she didn’t want to ride the bus to school (wanted me to drive her) because her mother didn’t want her to sit near “those people”; and she would take my children away from the playground/equipment if black children were there, telling them that they didn’t want to play with “those children”. It was APPALLING. But initially quite subtle until AP got comfortable enough to show her true feelings on the subject. When she went into rematch, I was glad that we were with an agency that let potential future HF contact me (being the former HF). One family that was considering matching with her was mixed race African American parent and white parent (The mom told me this when she asked me how the AP had adjusted to living in our reasonably diverse area, since candidate was from a very heterogeneous, white, central European country.) I was glad that I was able to share this info with the future HP – I stated ONLY facts, not my opinion of what AP said, but shared comments she had made to me and my children. And I know this begs the question as to why my AP was considering matching with this HF…I don’t know for sure, as I didn’t discuss it with her, but she had been in transition for 15 days and was going to be sent home the next day if she didn’t match, so I guess she was desperate enough to match with a mixed race family, despite her stated feelings on the subject.

Leaving a Comment August 21, 2013 at 9:59 pm

APiA doesn’t provide contact to previous HF, but that particular factor did not matter when we were in rematch. We simply asked AP to provide the contact info to her HP. I don’t see a huge need to get this info from the agency. What actually mattered was that we could not search for rematch APs ourselves and had to rely on LCC in the search process. Our criteria were: IQ or with visa ending in about 7 months, driver. And we had hardly anybody to choose from. That ended up being a deal breaker, we ended up dropping from the program in APiA. What’s more, I could clearly see how the agency was hiding the reasons of rematch. I knew one of the APs from a forum and I could compare the real reasons vs. what the agency was presenting. But I can see how that could be a problem with more agencies.

On the other hand, in APC you can see who’s available and it seems that you get much more data on the reasons for rematch. You don’t have to count on your AD to find a new AP when you’re under time pressure. I like being able to search myself AND being able to get valuable support from Matching Expert when needed. It worked for us twice, when we were under time pressure.

I’ve signed up with CCAP 3 times, but always ended up going with another agency, because their matching process, especially the speed, just doesn’t fit my needs. Recently I had interviewed over 10 APs and basically had chosen the favorite one with another agency before the placement manager from CCAP even contacted me for the first time. Even their “Search and Select” was not very helpful, because they simply don’t show all the candidates that are available, but only a few who are not assigned to other HFs. Even though in theory they have the biggest selection of APs meeting my criteria, the selection is useless for me if it’s hidden anyway.

Host Mom in the City August 22, 2013 at 7:19 am

Agree on the Cultural Care matching process. I didn’t like having to sit back and wait for someone to choose candidates for me – particularly since the match coordinators I spoke with didn’t seem too engaged in understanding what I wanted in the first place. I waited a week before they matched me with someone who wasn’t what I wanted at all. In that week, I’d been browsing through dozens of APIA applications and was already talking to a few candidates I liked.

Host Mom in the City August 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I used the CCAP matching process two years ago and again this year. I know families who really like it, but it just didn’t work for us. Yes, they do have the “Search and Select” feature now that you can browse through profiles. But because they hide any candidates that are in another family’s application, it doesn’t show everyone. It also doesn’t allow very many filters. For example, you can only select one country at a time or all countries. So if I searched for all countries, 21 and over, female, with experience with 6-year-olds, for example, it returned pages and pages of candidates that only showed a picture, how long they’d been driving, and where they were from. So I found myself having to click on tons of applications and eliminated 99% of them right off the bat because they had very little experience. I didn’t find that feature very useful.

It also made me neurotic because I would go on there constantly in case a new profile came in because as soon as a single host family sees the profile, they can snatch it up and no other host families can see the candidate. So I always felt like I was missing candidates and that the only ones shown were the ones that other host families hadn’t already grabbed or that weren’t being matched by the match coordinators.

I’ve definitely heard families that like the feature and the fact that you’re not competing with other families. To me though, the competition doesn’t matter and in fact I WANT candidates to be seeing what other families offer and make the best choice for them. I think we’re actually a pretty good on paper host family – two school-aged kids, set schedule with few hours, live right in a major city. But we hear all the time about other au pairs who only work every other week because their host parents are divorced or who have their own private au pair suites (we have a tiny house since we live in a big city). Even if they don’t know to compare host families when they’re matching, au pairs find out real quick what other au pair’s situations are like. I’d rather them see that in the matching process and pick the “benefits” they’d prefer rather than being surprised by what they could have had when they get here.

Host Mom in the City August 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I meant to see that we “hear all the time FROM OUR CURRENT AU PAIR about” the great easy situations all the other au pairs have. Really if she knew she wanted to live in a big house, work with older (and she thinks therefore easier) kids, and work very very little, I wish she could have been presented with host families that could have offered that. As it was, Cultural Care matched her with us and we were all she’d seen. She thought we sounded nice (I think we are!), so she went with us. But if she had had the opportunity to see other families, she may have selected someone else and been a better fit.

Momma Gadget August 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm

On IE you can see all the profiles, but the ones that are being contacted by another HF appear as ‘faded’. You can review their profile and put them in your favorites file, but you cannot request their contact information until the other HF has released them.
HMiTC- send your AP to us for the weekend and we’ll cure her of the assumption that older kids are easier. LOL. Actually wouldn’t that be an awesome reality TV show “Au pair Swap”.(because we really need more reality TV ;-D)

Should be working August 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Momma Gadget, you are a genius! And you could be a millionaire. It’s a great idea.

Host Mom in the City August 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Ha! Love the au pair swap idea! Seriously, I have wanted to shake my au pair and say that a million times – “you think that au pair in the big house has it so great and poor you, you have to share a bathroom? Remember what you told me about how the host family is basically treating her like a maid???”

Leaving a Comment August 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I also like when APs can talk to other families and make conscious choices. We are not an ideal family for many APs for a few reasons, but I like them to know what they are getting and what their options are. I’m open about interviewing many APs at the same time and I encourage them to talk to other families. If they choose someone else – that’s totally fine, I don’t want to force anyone to pick my family. It either clicks or not. If someone is shopping for better perks, location etc. which I cannot or don’t want to offer, than I’m happy to let such a person go.

Host Mom in the City August 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Agree, Leaving a Comment. If any au pair candidate rejects your family because you don’t live in NYC or California, because you have more than two kids, because you don’t have a private suite for her, because you are planning to actually ask her to work her hours, because she has to share a car with a host parent, etc, then in my opinion, you probably dodged a bullet.

Should be working August 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Not sure when you worked with CCAP, but now it’s not one-at-a-time anymore unless you choose to do that. You can look at a lot of AP profiles at once, and if you have paid the $300 sign-up fee you can click on them and immediately see the whole application; this is for one ‘main’ match and two ‘comparisons’. And you can talk to all three.

The nice thing is that you are not competing with other families. The APs you are looking at have ONLY you to look at. So it requires everyone to have a lot of focus.

I have my quibbles with CCAP’s matching, but it seems like they did respond to customer requests for ability to look at more profiles and pick candidates themselves.

Host Mom in the City August 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Oops, I tried to respond to you, Should be Working, and it went above.

Host Mom X August 23, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Leaving a Comment – thank you, that was such a helpful bit of info that I did not know about APIA! We are looking for our next AP right now, and have always been with APC, but thought we’d give a new agency a whirl, and have signed up with APIA as well. We had two rematches while with APC, and so knowing that we will have a good re-matching process if necessary is very important to us. With APC, we got to view rematch candidates in the “pool,” and our super LCCs also told us about candidates that hadn’t hit the pool yet (e.g. LCC knew that they’d probably be in rematch soon, based on issues in progress). If APIA does not let you view rematch candidates on your own, that seems like a real drawback to the whole process, especially if you don’t have a pro-active LCC.

As to whether agencies provide contact with rematching host families – I agree with what others have said: as long as the agency doesn’t explicitly prohibit the contact (e.g. threaten to oust you from the program if you attempt to make contact), that is fine with me. In both our rematch experiences (APC does not provide the contact info), we asked the candidates for their prior host families’ phone numbers or email addresses. The LCCs also contacted the rematching APs’ LCCs to get that perspective for us as well. If the AP candidate wouldn’t provide the contact info, that would be a big red flag for me. And I understand Momma Gadget’s reasoning for why those conversations are not always helpful – DH initially felt the same – but I always prefer just to speak with the family and make my own judgments. I knew right away, about a minute into the conversation, that the prior host family of our best AP ever (from rematch) was crazy-crazy-crazy town. This really helped solidify our choice.

We also volunteered to speak with any potential host families on behalf of one of our outgoing APs – which she was really grateful for because she could not speak any English (one of the reasons why we had to rematch). So she would give potential host families our phone number, and we gave feedback. We were able to be honest and constructive in those conversations because that one particular rematch was not really an emotional situation – we knew from day 1 that the AP wouldn’t work for us, but that she’d probably work well for a family that didn’t have the language barrier and had older children.

Seattle Mom August 23, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I agree, and it’s one reason I’m going to stay with Cultural Care for now. We were in rematch a few months ago, and I felt better talking to my current AP’s former HF (she completed her year with them and extended with us). I also talked to the HF where my ex-AP transitioned to, and was completely honest with him.

Momma Gadget August 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm

We have only been with Interexchange, but for almost 6 years. We had mostly good experiences and we have an awesome experienced LC.

Although we didn’t when we first joined, as Ruth suggested I would definitely advise Host families to interview the LC responsible for their area cluster before signing with an agency. Also ask to speak to other HFs for references. I think the combination of a new Host Family teaming up with an inexperienced LC is at best a handicapped situation.

There are always going to challenges/surprises and occasionally messy situations. It is therefore critical that an agency is responsive, fair and helpful. The 2 times we have been in a real bind, our experienced LC really went to bat for us, calling on her long time connections with placement personnel , and other LCs to help us find great extending or transitioning au pairs. She has also been a great sounding board when we were interviewing candidates , or talking me off the ledge when some of the more bazaar issues arose. The agency itself was more than fair when rematch APs contracts didn’t match up- refunding us at a prorated base when they had less time left, and even deferring extra payments to the time our original AP would have been leaving when the new AP had more time left… Of course we had to negotiate some, but an agency must be available and willing to work with you in the first place.( again having a great LC who presents your case is helpful)

The last time we interviewed new candidates was the first time we used Interexchange’s ‘Passport’ service which lets you search/review all the profiles. It really streamlined the whole process for us and allowed us to review and match in under 2 weeks… and when we had a visa issue, it allowed us to go back in and quickly do the same. Previously It was really annoying only being forwarded 3 profiles at a time that were major misses to our criteria.I almost felt like they were purposely sending us bad matches at first so the later dossiers looked better.

In order of importance of making this successful
1.Au Pair match ( and therefore the AU pair pool to choose from)
2. LC support
3. Agency fees/customer service.

Anna August 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm

I’ve been with Interexchange for a number of years because I loved their customer service in their LCC. But out of the five au pairs we’ve had through them, only one was good and stayed a whole year; the other four we had to rematch with, and two of them were real horror stories (lying, etc.) and were sent home. Oh, and one didn’t get a visa (the sixth one).
I tried looking at profiles with them a year ago again, right before the online matching system was introduced, and felt that their candidate pool was inadequate and weak.

Host Mom in the City August 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Has anyone tried Pro Au Pair? Always been curious about them but never heard experiences.

Multitasking Host Mom August 21, 2013 at 8:38 pm

I often wonder if the agency you are with really does make a difference. Except with the matching process (where I prefer to look at the applications mainly on my own instead of relying just on the placement manager), I do not normally have much contact with the agency beyond the monthly check-ins. We switched last year to a new agency mainly because I match at an off time, and due to my requirements/pickiness I wanted to expand our pool of au pairs. I signed up with a few agencies that all waived the application fee, and gave me a discount for switching. We ended up going with the agency where we found the best au pair to fit with our family.

In the six months since our au pair arrived, we have had 3 different local area reps with this new agency. The cluster that started out as 6 families is now down to 2. The thing is though, this instability has not effected us at all, because we have a wonderful au pair who we get along great with and is wonderful with our children. Now if we were having problems, it might be a different story. But I agree that taking the time to make a successful match with the au pair living in your house and taking care of your children matters way more than an agency who’s headquarter is several states away.

The only small thing I see is the way this has affected our au pair. Our original agency had a large cluster in our city. They were always doing fairly elaborate cluster meetings like a scavenger hunt in the near by large city, a trick or treat event where the host kids and au pairs came in costumes, or an afternoon playing laser tag. Since we are down to only 2 families now, last month’s cluster meeting for our current au pair was with just her and the local rep at a cupcake store. Luckily, our au pair from last year introduced our current au pair to several of her au pair friend when they overlapped for a few days. Through this, she was able to join a Facebook group that included au pairs from several agencies in our town. She has managed to make a lot of friends this way.

Busy Mom August 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm

When we transitioned to APs, a couple of friends told me that the LCC makes the difference. I called 3 agencies (APC, APiA and CC) and interviewed the LCCs. CC was in LCC transition at that time and their LCC was in a neighboring county which I thought would result in a cluster that was too spread out.

I also asked each LCC for family references. I asked questions about cluster mtgs, how the LCC handled problems, LCC personality, etc. Based on the references and the phone interview, we chose APC. Our LCC came across as more confident and more experienced than the APiA woman and ours plans much better cluster events.

I’ve really never had to deal with corporate.

Busy Mom August 21, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Forgot to mention that APC had the largest cluster which I felt was important. APC and APiA have similar matching protocols with access to all APs (I generally sign up with both during a search and consider APia a back-up source), but I find the APC system much easier to use.

Host Mom in the City August 22, 2013 at 7:17 am

Sounds like I should have checked out APC too. Maybe next year (although we’re thinking this will be our last year).

Gigi August 22, 2013 at 2:11 am

We’re with Cultural Care and while I’ve found their customer service APPALLING to say the least, I like them because if you look at all of the agencies’ Au Pair web pages, Cultural Care’s is the only one that advertises it as a job (the rest are about traveling and partying).

I’m in a search for my next Au Pair and once again signed up with all 4 agencies in our area. While an Extraordinaire though Au Pair in America did fit our criteria (we wanted someone educated in childcare, great english and at least a year of full time childcare experience), Cultural Care had equally experienced Au Pairs and the stipend and overall program costs are lower.

WestMom August 22, 2013 at 8:26 am

How about the fees?

We have been with InterExchange for the last 5 years. I chose the agency based on recommendations from other moms. One suggested they had a good pool of French girls, and the other really liked the local coordinator (LC she has been with the agency with 21yrs!). It was also important to me that InterExchange is a non-profit organization. To me this translates to good service not pressured by ‘sales’, and significantly lower fees.

I have not chosen the agency based on what would happen in my doomsday scenario… and luckily we have had four successful full years with good to excellent au pairs. I might think differently if I had to go into rematch, but knock on wood it has not happened yet…

We operate a bit differently, so I do have some peripheral experience with other agencies. I register with multiple agencies so I can have access to the largest pool of candidates possible. On that front, I would say that APC and APIA have a larger number of candidates from our preferred country/language that IE. They also have better search engines. We also put our profiles on international search sites (Great AP, and AP World). We have pre-matched with 4 girls using these sites. Two were already registered with APC, and one with CC (more on CC later). In all cases we considered switching agencies to expedite the matching process, but in the end it always comes down to $$.

AP1: InterExchange was able to transfer her dossier from APC for free and proceed with matching.

AP3: She had to completely register again with InterExchange. Cultural care would not transfer any files. In the end, our AP agreed to pay the registration fees because she said that even after paying IE fee, it was STILL cheaper than what she would have had to pay with CC. Note also that even though she was already listed in the search database, she had NOT passed a physical or a background check (so she did not have to do it twice). I was told that CC does not require background check and physical before matching, to avoid AP having to do the physical and background check twice (since it expires after once year). I found this shocking… Maybe someone with CC can confirm or deny this?

AP4: Interexchange was able to transfer her dossier from APC, but she had to pay a registration fee. I ended up paying the difference between what she would have to pay with APC, and what she paid for InterExchange due to the double registration, and it came down to about $100 extra for us.

Still in the end, the cost on our side is significantly lower with InterExchange. I get discounts for being a returning family, for pre-matching, for having twins, etc. we basically max out all the savings possible and our final tab this year is $6,540. I have done the calculation over and over again, and have not been able to find a better deal elsewhere.

Host Mom in the City August 22, 2013 at 9:31 am

I haven’t looked at Interexchange or any of the smaller agencies, but I have looked at APIA, CC, Euraupair, and APC for fees and they seem to be pretty similar.

All three have an agency fee that is just under $8,000 before discounts (APC – $7,850, APIA – $7,795, CC – $7,795, Euraupair – $7,695). All three seem to have a “switching” discount, a repeat family discount, and some other little things here and there (like the APC multiples discount for families with twins, triplets, etc.). The discounts for first-time families with singletons who are non-military all seem to max out at $800 or so in savings. There are also random hidden fees like whether you have to pay for her transportation to your home from the training school, “matching” fees, and application fees (which seem to be waived in most cases).

But based on a quick look at those three agencies anyway, it doesn’t seem like there’s much variation in cost, give or take $500 or so unless I’m missing something. So we haven’t really looked at cost as a major factor. I’ll happily pay an extra $500 or so more a year for the better matching process, better au pair selection, better rematch pool, better rematch and days off policies, better LCC support, or whatever else.

WestMom August 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

Good point about the transport fee from training facility… When we considered switching to APC, the fact that the training facility was 1.5hrs away and the AP had to be picked up at 1PM was a a big influencing factor. With IE, we pick her up in the city after 6PM on our way home from work, so I don’t have to take a 1/2 day off (which for me means no pay…), to pick her up.

Momma Gadget August 22, 2013 at 11:14 am

With the discounts for repeat family, signing an AP during a promotional time etc we are about the same as West Mom,
$6,600 at IE. Anytime a promotion came out after I already matched, I have contacted corporate, and they have credited me the discount anyway.
One other thing I like about IE is that they have a payment plan. After the initial deposit they allow you to split the balance up over 6 months. There is a fee for this. I know some of the other agencies do this too, but not all.

Host Mom in the City August 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Au Pair in America and Cultural Care both have payment plans too in case anyone is comparing.

Host Mom X August 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm

As does APC – payment plan has a fee.

Momma Gadget August 22, 2013 at 11:01 am

“I have not chosen the agency based on what would happen in my doomsday scenario…”
We came into this program with such an excited positive outlook. It is a shame that some of the negative experiences have turned me into a jaded skeptic, even though over all the program has been mostly a good experience for my family.
Thanks for the reminder!

Leaving a Comment August 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm

At least in some contries APC and Interexchange have the same local partners which do recruitment for them. So APs are able to register to both agencies without additional fees.

WoodlandsMom August 22, 2013 at 8:44 am

We have our first au pair and so far it is working out. I was very careful about the agency we chose.

First I found out which agencies even had any au pairs on our area. I then read agency reviews to get an idea of the pros and cons. After that we were down to four agencies, Go Au Pair, Au Pair Care, Cultural Care, and Au Pair in America. I asked their headquarters of each one for the contact in of the local LCC and I contacted each one.

After three attempts to contact the Cultural Care LCC, I dropped them from the list. The LCC for Au Pair in America was really far away so getting the au pair to the monthly meetings would have been challenging. Both of the LCCs for Go Au Pair and Au Pair Care were great but the LCC for Go Au Pair had much more experience. I did interview candidates from both agencies but I liked the process better with Go Au Pair. I was able to view the applications for all available au pairs but with Au Pair Care only could see detailed applications 3 at a time. That was annoying to me but I could see the process being helpful for HF who want more hand-holding during selection since reviewing 100s of applications can be overwhelming.

We are really glad we chose Go Au Pair. I was concerned about going with a smaller agency bit they have the same number of au pairs in my area as the other agencies and the customer service from the HQ office and from the LCC has been fantastic. I also like that they follow the State Dept guidelines but their other rules are not as rigid. Last, I was impressed by the level of thoroughness of the applications including them being strict on verifying past experience, testing, etc. So, this was our process. At the beginning, find out which agencies have au pairs in your area, read reviews on the agency, interview your local LCC and ask her/him for contacts with other local HF if possible, then review and interview au pairs. Good luck!

Leaving a Comment August 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm

WoodlandsMom, I’m not sure when you searched for AP in Au Pair Care, but I definitely can see detailed applications of as many APs as I want at the same time now, and I could see them even 2 years ago, when I searched for AP for the first time. The only thing I can’t see is contact info. That’s something I can see for only 2 APs at the same time.

TexasHM August 22, 2013 at 9:22 am

There is one agency difference that ended up being MASSIVE for us this year that has yet to be mentioned and that’s APIA’s CHILD CARE PROTECTION PLAN. Let me go ahead and preface this information by saying that we just extended for our fourth year with APIA and we have had mixed experiences (more in a sec) but after this year I would find it hard to switch. Also, historically we have also signed up with several agencies, but as mentioned by several we liked that APIA lets you browse the content (I’m an impatient control freak) and they had tons of great candidates even though we match at off peak times (had arrivals in Feb and last week of Dec) and I am SUPER strict about what we are looking for (now legendary in our area).

CHILD CARE PROTECTION PLAN – if you lose your job (25% of more of household income) APIA will REFUND the remainder of your agency fees for the year on a prorated basis AND will allow you to end your term early with your au pair OR keep her through the end of the term (now without agency fees – just stipend).

In June of this year the company I worked for had a major reduction in force, eliminating all their TX based employees without notice. Within 24 hours my LCC had already spoken with the regional coordinator who had scanned the paperwork to me to apply. I did not get haggled, in fact they were more than generous, even refunding back an extra month where I was employed for part of it without my asking.
I actually went back to APIA 7 weeks later (I had a new job) and told them we would like to pay for the remaining agency fees for the rest of the term (not pay for the 2 mos I was unemployed, but yes for the remaining 5 mos) and they refused to take it.

I actually talked to the regional coordinator and her boss at corporate and they said our situation was exactly what the protection plan is for and that they hoped with being out of work a couple months that the extra money saved (about $4200 in total) would help us get back to normal faster. Since we were looking to extend at the time they just recommended we start fresh on payments in November!

I have a more volatile job situation (sales) so this is actually one of the reasons we originally looked at APIA (ended up picking them twice because the candidates we loved ended up being on their site). I never thought I would have to use it but I actually have a HM friend here that used it 2 years ago when she got laid off so IMHO, it’s peace of mind which is invaluable now that I have lived it.

Tempering that – our first APIA LCC here was very nice and worked hard but she was brand spanking new (never had AP) and we were the first family in our area. She left for medical reasons about 6 mos ago and the new gal is also very nice and hardworking and brand new (never had AP). We have not based our decision on an LCC for several reasons, 1 – they turnover, 2 – corporate really calls the shots anyway and 3 – we live in an area where all the APs meet each other regardless of agency through either facebook, other AP friends or largely, host families!

I have seriously considered Interexchange for the reasons listed above every time we have looked at candidates but at first they didn’t have an LCC anywhere near us (we were new), plus I was always won over by an APIA candidate. APIA does have a solid pool of rematch and second year au pairs any time of year (my friend with two rematches has allowed me to spy on her process) and I typically negotiate with them every term (sales). :) While they can’t usually get to the exact dollar amount of the cheapest agency I can find, they usually find a way to get in line with the majority and help us make it happen which I greatly appreciate. For a large agency they have been extremely flexible with us in terms of payment options/timing etc and after saving us $4200 this year I can no longer complain that they are a couple hundred bucks more on their agency fees. :)

TexasHM August 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

LOL I just realized I said I was an INpatient control freak! While I should probably be committed at times, I meant impatient of course! :)

NNTexasHM August 22, 2013 at 9:40 am

Oh, I would argue that inpatient might be an apt description (it is for me :-)

cAupair August 22, 2013 at 9:43 am

First: When Chossing an agency I think most of families look for “Saving a between 800-1,000 $ in the process” we´re talking about the safety of your kids… I think that´s priceless,

I called EVERY SINGLE agency when I wanted to sign to become an Au pair, also a friend of mine wanted to become an au pair too so I called askign for both of us but she has no experience in caring childrens at all, she´s not a very good driver and her inglish is por but most of the agencies said to me: ” don´t worry, your friend wont have problems to make it” “she can ask some neighbors or friends for childcare references” “she could practice her driving at the states” “we just ask for a basic knowledge of english, she would learn very quick once she´s there” PATHERIC what some of them allow for money.
The ones that refused to accept my friend were APIA, CCAP, APC and AGentAP, they said to me that my friend will need to train and do some childcare and learn more english to be able to join the program, at the end I decided to go with APIA but my friend was rejected.

I have to say the I found the APIA screen process very good.

Host Mom X August 23, 2013 at 2:03 pm

cAupair – that was very helpful feedback! I think hearing about an AP’s experience being recruited/applying to the various agencies is very helpful to host families. I am so curious about the screening process, since I felt that the two APs we re-matched with from APC should not have been allowed through the screening process – which made me doubt the way APC does it.

But I recently spoke with an APIA rep when we signed up with them, and it sounds like their screening process (and probably most agencies’ screening processes) is largely governed by which local agencies they work with. The APIA rep basically said, “well, we can’t really screen for language ourselves – we have to trust the local agencies’ evaluations.”

Anyway, glad to hear that at least APIA, CCAP, APC and AGentAP have SOME standards!

cAupair August 24, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Host Mom X – I posted because I thought It was necessary to know…

The au pair world ceased to be a nice experience to become a business where families pay thousands of dollars for that? I think they have inflated and exaggerated rates

when Au Pairs register to an agency (no matter which one) need to work with a local agency, most of those agencies do whatever they need to make money. the local agencies are the ones who runs paperwork for interview, checking references ect…

Agencies or local ones don´t care about having experience at all, your english isn´t good, don´t have driving license ect… Ofcourse they will reject you if litterally suck.

at least you need some basic English skills; The local agencies give some tips to au pairs to skype to families: be polite, talk a lot about how much you love working with kids, be nice and don´t forget to smile :) that´s enough for most of them…

I know APC and CCAP have lots of chinese au pairs– with an AWFULL level of english, they´re terrible drivers and they´re famous for their discipline what you dont know is thay they do not hesitate in slapping or shaking a child… as romanians and brazilians.

but I have to say 95% of au pairs lies at the interview and families, exaggerate the hours they have worked in the care of children, made up references or ask for help to neighbors, some friends of mine did… THEY ALWAYS WANT YOU TO COME OVER THE OFFICE TO DO THE INTERVIEW AND ONCE YOU´RE THERE, THEY SELL YOU THE PROGRAM AS THE BEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE.
with the minimum required level, often girls who are not prepared to live that.

We have to past the 2 psycological tests, background check and medical check which certificates that we´re not crazy, never stoled or killed someone and not going to spread any disease (lol) but that´s the only part you know is 100% real.
2 childcare and 1 character references.


When choosing an au pair or family….
BETTER to Trust your instincts! ;)

Host Mom X August 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Thanks, cAupair. We always take the application materials that we see with a “grain of salt,” because we realize that many applicants “exaggerate” their experience, often at the urging of the local agencies. And it does seem that the au pair experience is often advertised to au pairs as a party abroad, when of course it is extremely hard work.

I agree with you that the family screening process could be MUCH better, for the protection of au pairs. Families fill out an application, and are visited by an area director who is supposed to check to make sure that the family actually exists, has an extra bedroom, and ….not sure what else. They do not seem to screen at all for families who are likely to break the rules – have the au pair work too many hours, not provide the promised benefits, etc. Not sure how they would screen for that, but one would think they’d ask some follow-up questions if a family has two parents in professions known to have long or erratic hours, etc., such as “how do you plan to cover the hours of childcare you need beyond 45”? We have NEVER been asked any of these types of questions by an American agency.

Host Mom in the City August 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I completely agree that there could be more screening of host parents, but I felt that both CC and APIA asked us a ton of questions at their home interview (which required the whole family to be present). They talked to the kids to see if they were excited about the au pair coming, the walked all around our house, asked us all sorts of questions about what our expectations would be for curfew, car use, sharing our home spaces, whether anyone else lived there, etc. They even asked us what our back-up childcare plan was for if we needed more than 45 hours and for the 2 weeks of vacation.

But even with all that, there are so many families who break the rules – my husband said to me last night after another story we heard about an au pair who had tons of housekeeping duties, are we the only host family that follows the rules and intent of the program? It is scary how many times I’ve heard families that use more than 45 hours or have their au pair acting like a maid too or who don’t put forth a conscious effort to include their au pairs in family life.

But on the flip side, I know for a fact my au pair is jealous that other au pairs work more than 45 hours a week when their families pay them more (confuses me because she can’t even handle the 25-30 hours we have her working now…). She mentioned to us three times that one au pair takes her kids for the weekend every few months and gets paid an extra week’s pay for it. I think she was hinting that she wanted to do that, but we’re rule followers (and there is zero chance I’d leave her with the kids for the entire weekend based on our experiences with her anyway). So even though there are families breaking the rules in terms of hours, there are also many au pairs who willingly take on the extra work for extra pay.

And in those types of situations, how could you even tell if a host family was going to break the rules? You could run background checks on them and sit there interviewing them until you’re blue in the face, and you would have no idea. It’s the same with au pairs – it’s something of a crap shoot really on either side.

cAupair August 26, 2013 at 5:29 pm

many au pairs are treated like Maids or simple nannies because lots of families aren’t ready to host an au pair and the efforts to introduce a complete stranger at your house
I know an au pair that was working for a family where the host mom was sued for Dui. Caught twice driving drunk, who protect au pairs for that kind of families??? If I’m not able to become an au pair if I have criminal records a host family shouldnt either.. most of au pairs never complain about working more than 45hours because they’re afraid to go into rematch and 1- be sent home or 2- end up in a familly You don’t like or a familly who will treat You worst.

There’s others au pairs that went to rematch and was the best thing ever because they found great families but the ones who don’t will go home for unfair reasons

TexasHM August 27, 2013 at 8:44 am

Just a quick note – I’ve had two Brazilian au pairs and not only were both horrified that we occasionally spank (dangerous behavior etc), we’ve had challenges with getting them to physically put our kids in timeout (not violently, just literally carrying them or taking their hand and guiding them to timeout), let alone lay a hand on them in anger because they are terrified of hurting or scaring them. Let’s be careful not to stereotype please.

Cat August 28, 2013 at 9:28 am

Also, I doubt that 95% of all APs lie in their interviews. They present themselves in the best way possible, but that is true for all job interviews and is not the same as lying.

Dorsi August 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I have been with APC and APIA — found them very similar in terms of matching. We originally switched to APIA because of the extraordinaire program (having just come of a year with a APC AP who really did not like children/childcare). I like our LCC for APIA quite a bit — she does it as a full time job and has been doing it for 15+ years. This year has been roughest — mostly because we needed a driver right away and we have 3 kids under 5, and minimal school. She helped us navigate in the beginning and our questionable AP has turned into an awesome AP. (Also, reviewing the advice on here helped a tremendous amount). We have registered with CC in the past and not gotten into the matching groove with them.

Back to agencies. Another important thing to consider is the interpretation of the school requirement. APC required 60 hours or 6 credits, APIA requires 72 hours or 6 credits. We have a really hard time getting classes for our APs — the non-resident tuition is steep at our community colleges, and they have nearly fully eliminated “continuing education ” classes that meet in person — they have 50-100 now that they offer online. How much the LCC knows about school options should tell you a lot about how they navigate this. Additionally (and this seems unfair) APIA has their online class that APs can take for $500 and fulfill the requirement. That made school easy for one of our APs (and us.)

Dorsi August 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm

As an aside, we have been considering switching to CC for the next go round. We had a hard time finding girls that were interested in us last time. The ones we found were quickly snapped up by other families, many stated that they weren’t interested in three children and a lot did not ever return our first email. We are not the most attractive HF situation (in fact, we might be the least). It would be nice to not be competing against others.

Jen hill August 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm

We went with Aupaircare largely because it is the one most utilized in our area. We are a family of 3 and had no problem interviewing. We ended up with an awesome Aupair from Colombia ! We couldn’t be happier. The match process was easy I had no problem screening aupairs and getting what I wanted. I probably will stick with AC. Jen

Julie August 22, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Hey Dorsi, I totally agree–check out what I wrote below about that. I think competition can be really tough for a lot of great families.

MidAtlantic Host Family August 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Dorsi – I totally hear you. We have more than three. If the AP does not figure it out before getting here, once here, the AP’s figure out that there are other AP’s with fewer kids and we actually had one rematch to a different family with only two kids for that reason. It would have been better for our family to have gone with a different AP who was committed to working and living with a larger family – as opposed to matching with us because they were worried they would not match. It is so much better to spend an extra few weeks finding the right person up front than to go through rematch.

TexasHM August 27, 2013 at 8:49 am

I could not agree more we also have three small children and rules like curfews and limited car usage that make us a less attractive family but I have found that it’s much better to have the competition upfront because they will find out and I want the girls to know exactly how hard this job is and be in it 100% before they get here. I even have a conversation with them about the reasons that we are less attractive as a family and some of the perks that the other au pairs may or may not have with other families before they get here. Yes it makes our matching process longer and harder but we’ve had two great au pairs that have both extended a second year.

Should be working August 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm

TexasHM, I do the same thing early on. It’s not exactly “Dare to match with us”, but it is an email where I list the biggest disadvantages about us: the kids fight a lot (normal but annoying); no dedicated AP car; we don’t live near public transport; stuff like that.

Host Mom in the City August 23, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I can’t remember if Cultural Care does this, but APIA has au pair candidates select a box indicating willingness with more than two children. Then I believe they don’t even show you the candidates that said no.

Dorsi August 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Yup, there is a check box– but a surprising number of the “willing” are not actually willing when they have other families contact them — this is a lot like TACL wanting APs that have special needs experience, not just special needs “willing.”

I am quite up front about what our situation is like. However, if I was an AP candidate and I could choose less work, I would. I think we get rejected by very good APs — not just crappy ones that don’t want to work.

Also, because of our schedule (Feb match) and the fact that we need an infant qualified AP we have a very small pool to begin with.

Host Mom in the City August 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm

That makes sense, Dorsi. I’m sure it’s frustrating. But I still feel like the “hiding all the other host families” approach isn’t necessarily the answer. They’ll find out one way or another that other au pairs have less work. Have you looked at the extraordinaire program, Euraupair’s similar better-qualified au pairs program, or something like Pro Au Pair? If you have three kids including an infant, you probably want someone with tons of experience and who is actively interested in furthering her experience with children through her au pair year. Those kind of candidates wouldn’t be actively seeking out a family that requires less work.

Julie August 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Cultural Care has au pairs select from 2 children, 3, 4 or more than 4. Everyone can see what they picked.

Taking a Computer Lunch August 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I have been with APIA for 12 1/2 years and my 9th AP recently arrived in my house. The reason we originally went with APIA is that they sold us on the Extraordinnaire category for The Camel, our beautiful child with special needs. Our first AP had been a PICU nurse in her native country and was exactly perfect for what we needed (our younger child, typically developing, had had bacterial meningitis as an infant and had residual issues when she arrived).

Out of the 9 au pairs that have entered my house, only 3 were regular. We recently returned to Extraordinnaires. While training is a time investment, I have found that Extraordinnaires understand what is expected of them becuase they have worked. It doesn’t take them long to catch on and “own” the job. I found myself job coaching my last regular AP for 11 1/2 months and resenting it.

While I would love to have the money to do other things, it just wasn’t worth it to me. (I had nursing for a year – 5 failed to show up for shift – meaning that they didn’t even bother to call me or the agency and none were allow to pick up the Camel from school and drive her to the local hospital for routine medical appointments which meant I had to take a half-day of time off every time she had an appointment. I used all my vacation time schlepping her back and forth.)

With APIA, people with children under 2 are the only customers who can see the infant-qualified APs unless the HQ or LCC overrides it.

The bottom line – no matter what agency you choose, make them work for you. You are paying them. Be picky, be demanding. You’ll save them money in the long run when you don’t go into rematch. If you don’t like the pool of candidates you see, call your LCC or HQ and demand more.

Finally, be patient to match. It takes me 5-6 weeks to match, because I’m picky. I don’t care if the APs see other families. I want them to know that even though they’re going to work hard for me, that I’m the right family for them. So even though I have a teenager in diapers, I still find a great match. I’m not looking forward to the day when I have to return to nursing. (Even the worst AP fell in love with The Camel, which is better than 21 out of the 25 nurses who cared for her.)

Old China Hand August 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm

We went with Go Au Pair because they had the most candidates from the country we wanted (China). I am unhappy with our LCC in terms of organizing events (2 so far in the 8+ months our AP has been here) but the cluster has only 2-4 APs since she started and they are spread out and only 1 drives (not ours). There are no APs in our town and we don’t allow our AP to drive (she can’t really, anyway), so I think that it doesn’t matter a heck of a lot which agency we went with in terms of a friend community. We have a college in town and our AP has made friends with college students. It’s a residential liberal arts college so the students have been really accepting and all live in town. They are super nice and supportive of our AP. We have occasionally broken the 36 hr continuous day off rule even though we are beyond strict on the other rules. This is primarily because it is an agency rule and not the law. However, we have a little guy who is home full time (just 15 months now) and so we use every minute of our 45 hours a week unless we reschedule extensively to make something work because we don’t want to get a babysitter over the weekend. The staff at GAP seem to be really good. Apparently they are working on incentives for LARs in small clusters so that the situation we have here doesn’t keep happening.

Abba August 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm

I would LOVE to have the luxury of registering with/choosing from multiple agencies! Until this year, only one agency served our small, rural area (which is also home of a major university). When our first match ended disastrously and I wasn’t happy with the pool of candidates available for rematch, I called a smaller agency and asked them to consider working with us so that we could match with a wonderful au pair we found on In our first match, both the agency and the LC were terrific. With our current agency, the agency seems so so (younger, less experienced, not the best or most polished communicators), but they hired an LC just to work with us, and she is new but thus far great. Our AP is terrific. So I’m really just seconding everyone else’s assessments: if your AP is great, you don’t need to lean on the agency that much. I’m hoping that if I do the same borderline-OCD screening and interviewing next time around, I will get another great match and that this smaller (and much less expensive) agency will continue to work out. Bad matches are the worst.

PA AP Mom September 9, 2013 at 11:28 pm

We recently finished our 5th, and final, year of hosting APs but we had the same problem. Our location is very rural and only CCAP would allow us to sign up for their program. We ended up having 5 mostly good years.

Abba August 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Incentives for LC’s in small clusters is a great idea! Ours is tiny as well…we are the only ones in it :) I am working hard to recruit and increase that number.

Julie August 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm

I’m a 5 time host mom and an LCC, both through CCAP. As a host mom & LCC, I’ve found the CCAP staff, especially at the top, to have a very high level of integrity, which is a critical component to me in both roles. I do believe that it’s really important to speak with the local coordinator/LCC to find out who is the best in your area. For example, if you want to work your au pair 50 hours a week and pay them extra to do extra jobs for you, I am not the right coordinator for you. I really care about supporting my families and au pairs and I’ll go above and beyond every time I can. It’s important to know who in your area does that.

One general thing I would ask is how the agency defines “monthly contact.” Though obviously some LCCs (at any agency) are not as good as others, I respect the fact that CCAP LCCs must have monthly meetings with au pairs FACE to FACE (phone calls do not count). Au pairs must attend 10 of the 12 meetings. LCCs are also required to call families–It’s not enough to just email every month. I’ve heard some agencies only meet with au pairs every few months and they only call families when it’s time to repeat. Compliance is extremely valued at CCAP. For a family to sign up with an agency, have an LCC that disregards rules, doesn’t create a supportive environment for local au pairs and doesn’t provide a high level of service–you can do better. At my meetings, I have au pairs from 6 different agencies that show up. If they can’t get support from their own coordinators, they will find it with me and my group. If I were an au pair, I’d want that.

I’d also find out what families receive for repeating or extending–this can be a drastic difference.

Of the au pairs in my group, I’ve had 1 doctor (full on, emergency room doctor), 3 nurses, 2 very trained special needs au pairs and 6 teachers in 2 years. There’s no extra cost for these au pairs and as a price-sensitive family, I value that too.

Lastly, for those who haven’t checked out CCAP in a while, the matching process has changed a lot and as a result of family feedback is really improving. You can see all available (unmatched) au pairs in the pool and match with a few at a time–those au pairs are only matched with you. I think the upside of this stipulation is that you can truly be honest with au pairs about what you are looking for. You aren’t trying to compete with another family for a great au pair–a family who might be promising every weekend off and 100% car usage, etc. It gives you a better idea of who wants to be with you. And since every au pair is recruited through our offices abroad (not an agent), the staff have some accountability.

Obviously, when involved in childcare and money, there are always going to be issues. And the larger the agency, the more issues you’ll see online simply because you have more people involved. Meet with the LCCs in the area, ask questions and find out who will really provide the best service. There are a lot of really great au pairs available who could match well with your family, but without local support, it can make or break your experience. My 2 cents!

Host Mom in the City August 23, 2013 at 7:16 am

Julie, you sound terrific and I wish all LCCs were as conscientious. We’re with CC this year and have had a very different experience. Our LCC is very responsive to my emails, no issues with that. She does call every month too – she asks if we’re using 45 hours or less and if we pay our stipend on time. I’ve personally never once broken the rules, but I know for a fact that there are other CC host families that routinely do, so I can only imagine they just tell the LCC what they want to hear and go on doing what they want anyway. I also know that in our cluster, the monthly meetings aren’t enforced (I wish they were and like that goal). Our AP has missed four of them out of ten and she always says everyone just goes, signs in, and then leaves immediately. So it really does vary by cluster even within the same agency.

I also have to comment on the matching competition. We seem to have learned on here that it’s best to almost have a “dare to match” with me approach. Maybe not quite that strong, but you definitely want to be totally honest about what your family requires and you do not want an au pair that isn’t right for your family. So in Dorsi’s example where she has three kids and is finding lots of au pairs that say they don’t want so many kids? The answer to me is not, well hide all the other host families so the au pair doesn’t know that she can match with a host family with fewer kids. The answer is Dorsi should want them to reject her family if the candidate doesn’t want three kids or doesn’t think she can handle it. Yes, it’s going to take longer to find someone to match with, but you’re going to find someone who chose you for the right reasons and not just because they were afraid to say no to your family because they might not get matched again or because they don’t know what other options are out there. Does that make sense or am I missing something?

We have some good things going for us, but we also have negatives – we only have one bathroom, one car, and a small house, for example. I’ve had many candidates say they weren’t comfortable sharif a bathroom and that they were talking to other families with private suites and they thought they’d be better suited to having some privacy. Awesome. I’m so glad they knew that they wanted that and knew there were host families out there who could offer what they needed. Otherwise, it would have been a tough year.

Don’t get me wrong, you sound like a great LCC and there were some things I liked about CC. Their website is great and their applications are very thorough. I love all the questions they ask both the host family and the au pair candidates. We also paid a few hundred less for the agency fee than we would have with APIA. When we looked, they also seemed to have more candidates from South America and also Italy for some reason than APIA did, and fewer Germand. So if a family was looking for those countries, they might choose one or the other.

But the matching process really didn’t work for us and I felt like I was competing with other host families even so – competing to get my match coordinator to give ME the good ones, because if she gave them to someone else, I would never even have the chance to see them. And it took all of the control in the competition out of my hands.

Should be working August 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm

HMitC, I must disagree with your view about competitive matching and the results, as in Dorsi’s case. It is not in my opinion that agencies that keep APs limited to one HF match at a time (or even a few) are “hiding” the many other concrete options out there. It is instead the idea that an AP (and HF) focus on THIS match and its pros and cons, without getting distracted by a Starbucks-like set of options, or a supermarket approach to ‘things families have or don’t have’.

I think Dorsi’s right that probably a lot of APs who would have worked out very well for her family end up turning them down because they see the range of other options to pick from. It’s just too much info, too many possibilities to apparently ‘choose from’ in my view. And it seems to me a LOT of the AP candidates really don’t understand what they are getting into, so could get easily distracted from “how will I like this family” to “do they have a car/suite/cushy hours”. Even mature, experienced adults can get distracted by perks when making a big decision (‘falling in love’ with a charming but maintenance-needy house, for instance).

I am not a huge believer in the unmitigated power of rational choice. So a less wide-open matching would seem to me to be better for the AP to really develop a sense for a particular family, rather than a buffet of possible perks different families might have.

Momma Gadget August 23, 2013 at 10:36 am

Julie- really enjoyed seeing an LC view.

I like that CC has it’s own offices in the countries it recruits from. I did have an issue with one AP not disclosing something that would have been questionable by American standards, because the local recruiter felt it unimportant ( by that countries standards). I think if IE had their own people doing the recruiting instead of a contractor it would have been caught.

You sound like a conscientious LC like ours. We have a large cluster of 20+ APs. She arranges both a Starbucks meeting and an “event” each month. She too is diligent in making sure that the APs attend at least 10 a year. She also arranges big group events combined with some of the other IE clusters near here.

I am so surprised to see IE referred to as a “small” agency. I guess they are just big on the east coast?

Ruth August 22, 2013 at 10:18 pm

My experience with Interexchange’s LC (who has been an LC with them for over 10+ years) was so unprofessional. Because we rematched with the girls, I think she believed she was at liberty to say what she wanted about our family. But, b/c we also treated each girl with respect and ended things on a fair and good note, I was told by the Au Pair’s that she said unkind things about us that were not warranted at all.

It may be a “non-profit”, but it is definitely in the business of making money and they will do everything in their power to rematch these girls and pressure the girls and HF’s even if it is evidently clear it’s not a match! To the point they pressured the one AP who said over and over she didn’t want to be in the program. And when we said we wanted out of the program altogether, our LC didn’t even bother to have a 3 point meeting, ask what happened, nothing! She was traveling on vacation, but got that transition paperwork done the same day! By all means, she had to get our AP into another family who would pay the fee.

On the other hand, after being with them for just under 6 months, we have not heard from them and have not received any refunds; they were happy to keep our money! From all the posts I have read, no doubt, we would consider APIA if in fact we EVER ventured down this road again, but I would never recommend InterExchange for how shoddy the whole service was, the lack of candidates in their pool, the lack of good, qualified candidates, to boot! I would never want anyone to go through what we have this last year, especially as new parents, which is stressful enough and also having a parent pass away. You would think your childcare situation should alleviate the additional stress, but it only compounded it so much this year, which is why we just wanted out of the program altogether.

Anna August 22, 2013 at 10:31 pm

With Interexchange, I also found that they are inclined to pass the girls onto families who should have gone home. Our second rematch was a girl who was totally not suited to be with kids, and who lied to us. Our LCC recommended she be sent home, but she was overruled by the main office and matched with another family (her third family that year). From what I heard she didn’t last there long either.
Our second disaster au pair was sent home, but I felt I had to really work at it, sending detailed documented emails about all instances of neglect and endangerment she subjected our kids to , besides lying to us (which didn’t seem to be a dealbreaker with Interexchange based on the previous au pair).
This, combined with their policy of not allowing to talk to previous families of girls in rematch, and with their small size where very few rematches are available at the time, really makes rematch with this agency very risky.

Momma Gadget August 23, 2013 at 9:52 am

I am so surprised by your difficulty in getting reimbursed.
They have always been very fair and accommodating with us. I did have to Ask for it and follow up, but no more than with any other company that is refunding money.
Depending on what you payed (if you had promotions etc) you should be getting back around 130$ for each week you didn’t have an AP.

Host Mom in the City August 23, 2013 at 8:55 am

I’m being dense – can someone explain to me why the agencies care that their rematching au pairs get matched with another family? How do they lose money if they can’t or don’t rematch the au pair? I can see financially why agencies would want to keep a host family in the program even if they knew the host family was actively breaking the rules – host families are typically repeat customers, where au pairs are not (doesn’t make it right, but I can see it). I know of a handful of stories about au pairs including ones who put the kids in danger, slept with the host dad, stole from the host family and threw ragers at the host family’s house when they were gone – all of them were rematched with another host family (I can only assume the new host family didn’t know the real rematch reason?). Why on earth wouldn’t agencies kick these au pairs out of the program? Have to assume it’s money-related, but my imagination isn’t working this morning.

Momma Gadget August 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

It is because they have already “invested” in these APs. They have already put out the money for airline tickets, commission to the Overseas agent,Visas, training and etc. If they have to bring in an out of country AP replacement, they have to lay out that money a second time.
They really are middlemen- which is why you’d think they would be more careful in vetting their APs.

Host Mom in the City August 23, 2013 at 10:14 am

Ah, thanks. I knew it was money-related :)

Julie August 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I can tell you on the CCAP side that host families get the reasons for transition and the contact information for au pair, LCC and host family. Au pairs who have broken the rules (like stealing or inappropriate relationships) go home. We are careful to make sure we’re not passing someone on if they wouldn’t be a good au pair. Remember, it costs money to send an au pair who isn’t good/careful/truthful to another family because we have to spend a lot of time dealing with that–honestly, I’ve seen it & they go home. Too much trouble to pass on.

PA AP Mom August 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Not always. I was given a reason by CCAP for a transition candidate being in the rematch pool. I contacted the former host family and the reason listed wasn’t even close to the information I got from the former host family.

We were with CCAP for 5 years, had 5 APs all complete their year with us and now we are done with the program entirely.

Julie August 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm

It’s interesting because everything is documented during a transition and both family and au pair are given ample chances to tell their side. As long as it’s not private to the family (you wouldn’t want to say that a host mom was having mental issues or the parents were getting divorced, unless they gave you permission to), the information is included. It’s pretty amazing how many host families do try to sabotage an au pair after the fact when they are supposed to tell us everything. Not every au pair is worth matching (and trust me, if they are “bad,” they aren’t match–no one wants that.) You have to speak with the local person if you can who knows the family and the au pair–that’s a good way to get information as they are supposed to walk a fine line between the two. They don’t always, but they should.

LookingForwardToBeAP August 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Julie, as a LCC, how would you handle a situation where you don’t know who to believe?

Let’s say, hypothetically family tells you the au pair lied and stole from them, and au pair says she wants to leave because HD made a move on her.

I am just curious how agency handles it when there are really opposite stories and you really don’t know who to believe

Julie August 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm

LookingForwardToBeAP, there are definitely those situations and we try to put in both sides of the story “family feels the au pair was not truthful and stole xxx (kiss of death honestly–very unlikely she’d find another family)…au pair is not comfortable with the host dad.” Sometimes, it takes a family to have more than 1 au pair to figure out if it was the au pair or the family who is the issue–problems usually repeat themselves. I would not be comfortable to put another au pair in that situation if we could document it.

There are au pairs who are not great. As both a host mom and LCC, I can say that there are au pairs who are selfish, naive and inexperienced, but the truly vindictive behavior I’ve seen is almost always one of the host families. That’s why all the background checks and the extensive interviews and applications on both sides are very important.

One of the reasons I do appreciate CCAP is because we try to be transparent. For me, it would be an issue to send an au pair who is not good to another family. We try to be very clear about her/his capabilities in our transition notes. There is always an LCC phone number there and as a host mom whose had 3 transition/rematch au pairs, I would recommend calling the LCC who will tell you about the family and au pair. I do take what previous host families say with a grain of salt, especially if it was a transition that the au pair initiated.

Skny August 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I can say I am seeing a wave of Au pairs being sent home lately. Some deserved it, some for unfair reasons. But they do get sent home, and families still get the best deal (even if does not seem like).

ILHostMom August 23, 2013 at 9:41 am

This thread has been so helpful. We are only on our second Au Pair and have considered switching agencies. Currently we are with Eur AuPair but have considered moving to a larger agency in the hopes that we will be able to more easily rematch. Our first Au Pair was the Au Pair from hell. When we started talking to the LCC about possible rematch, she was not supportive, even though she fully agreed that we had a very difficult Au Pair. Her main reason was that after 7 months it was hard to find candidates, etc. (we felt like she was saying it was our fault since we had waited so long). Again we asked about rematch a few months later because the situation had deteriorated into a nightmare and we felt bullied by our Au Pair. In the end we stuck it out for a year but we are only half-joking when we say that we have PTAD (post traumatic Aupair disorder) and want to make sure we have a easier time rematching if we need to. We are more than happy with our current Au Pair, so it hasn’t been an issue this go around. However, we have thought that maybe we encountered so much resistance to rematch because Eur AuPair is smaller. For those folks that have been with a bigger agency, has initiating rematch been an issue? We do like Eur AuPair’s selection process a lot (you can talk to as many Au Pairs as you like), so I hate to give that up because it sounds like some of the bigger ones limit who you are talking to. I also like that the Au Pair can talk to other families. I feel like we stack up nicely so it seems like we can both walk away with a win-win (we feel like we got the best Au Pair, and they feel like they got the best family). So, its a toss up between a selection process that we prefer vs having a larger agency with more candidates in case we need to rematch. Thoughts?

Skny August 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm

In our area there are only 2 agencies: expert Au pair and euraupair. We live In a very rural far away area, and those were the only two agencies that would work with us (with the requirement that I provide the lcc).
This is a problem because there is really no cluster (and our Au pairs tend to be lonely). We offer tons of perks and even then there is a lot of anxiety involved in matching.

Should be working August 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

A propos of nothing on this thread: Did people hear about the AP who died from shark injuries in Hawaii this week, during her travel month? My AP knew her from training school. Very sad.

LuvCheetos August 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I saw that she was a young German woman. I didn’t realize she was an au pair. How sad!!!!

Host Mom X August 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm

I am interested in knowing how much the different agencies charge the APs to join the program – does anyone have any concrete info on this? I know it can vary from country to country. And who is charging the fees? Is it the American agency (e.g. APC, CCAP, etc.), or is it the local partner? Or both? I would love to see a comprehensive list of how much the APs have to pay to get into the program for each agency, and for each of the “typical” recruiting countries. I have heard wildly varying amounts.

Anyone have any info on this subject, maybe some of the APs who read this blog?

LookingForwardToMeetMyHF August 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I am with Cultural Care in Argentina, we pay approximately $100 for the matching, 500$ after we match, and 300$ for the health insurance, wich we pay directly to Erika, not sure why they also tell you that you pay the insurance.

I don’t really know to whom the money goes, but we all assume that it goes to the offices in Argentina, and that the money HP pay go to the main offices, because they put A LOT of pressure for us to pay as soon as possible.

Regarding what they do with us, they did require that the first interview was in person (eventhough I live 1200 miles from their offices), interview was really long and I think they do tell you exactly what you are going to do, they always say the most important part is the children, and it is done by previous au pairs that work for them, they keep contact with us constantly regarding every single part of the application (sometimes annoyingly) and they did call ALL my references, and pressured me to get more experience while waiting (and I have plenty)

LookingForwardToBeAP August 26, 2013 at 8:51 pm

I should add that there are other cost besides agency fees, I am thinking in total it will add up to 2000$, between travel expenses for the visa, the actual visa, international driver’s license, medical check ups before I leave, travel from my city to buenos aires where the plane to new york departures…

cAupair August 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm

It is a very interesting question, I can tell you because I searched myself for prices when I signed with the agency 2 months ago.

I can say In Europe become an Au Pair costs between 650-1,500$.

Tomorrow I´ll send an email to aupair mom to blog it up, would you like? there´s many things Agencies don´t tell families, like Au pairs (me) have a basic and shit insurance and I have to pay myself a 480$ insurance for my 12 months of stay, to avoid co-pay (only the first 2,500$ and having a better coverage) and not everyone accept it there.

Host Mom X August 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I would really like to see that, cAuapair, and I’m sure other parents would appreciate it as well. I think a lot of us could empathize with an au pair’s position more effectively if we had a clearer picture of what some sacrifice in order to be a part of the program. For instance, while $650-$1500 is expensive, it seems a lot more reasonable than the fees that I have heard au pairs from some eastern European, Asian, or South American countries have to pay.

I know the insurance is not great, and is especially hard for au pairs to understand when many au pairs come from countries with socialized medicine, and then can’t get basic care here in the U.S. I’m not really sure what should be done about this – healthcare here in the U.S. is so expensive, and hard to come by.

A good tip, btw, for getting basic women’s health services here in the U.S.: try Planned Parenthood – this organization has sliding-scale costs, and does not limit their services to citizens. Our au pair was able to get free service from Planned Parenthood for gynecological check-ups, breast cancer screening, etc.

BrAuPair August 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

These are the fees the agencies charge in Brazil (I got these from their sites):
CCAP – R$3060 (aprox. US$1224)
APC – US$980
APIA – R$795 (aprox. US$318) to apply and US$860 after the match

We also have to pay US$160 to get the J1 visa (plus travel expenses, if the au pair doesn’t live in a city where there is a consulate) and we have to pay for an International Drivers License (the value is different in every state. It can go from R$30 to over R$200).

Abba August 27, 2013 at 9:15 am

We switched to Expert on this second go-around, and I have found that they are significantly cheaper for the au pairs (and they list all of the costs/fees on their website for both families and au pairs, which I appreciated). They also offer United Healthcare insurance, with no deductible. This was a lifesaver when our AP got a bronchial infection and needed a doctor visit and antibiotics. This small agency may not be for everyone, but we have been very pleased thus far.

Taking a Computer Lunch August 27, 2013 at 11:36 am

If my kids make my AP sick, then I pay for her medical care (asking that she file for reimbursement from her insurance company). CVS Minute Clinic is my friend. I also pay for her flu shot (required in my house of everyone because my special needs child is medically fragile). [As an aside, ff my AP makes my special needs child sick (and it has happened), then I am furious.]

The insurance has improved enormously over the years and I know the APs pay for it out of pocket (still think it should be part of the nearly $9,000 I paid in fees). Our LCC now warns APs who did not pay for sports insurance that they will not be covered if they have an accident skiing, sky-diving, etc.

Host Mom in the City August 27, 2013 at 11:57 am

Our au pair had a LOT of health issues this year and went to the doctor at least 5-10 times. It was really expensive for her and she was glad her family was open to sending her money for her medicines and doctors visits. She had co-pays for every doctor visit and no medicine coverage at all.

GermanExAuPair August 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I work as an Interviewer for AIFS/APIA in Germany. Our regular APs have to pay 750 Euros, EduCares 995Euros and Extraordinairs 570 Euros. If they want to they can add an additional insurance for 320 Euros

Ruth August 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm

HMIC, to expand on the “investment and money-related” question, these AP’s have good access to social media and know the agencies will do everything they can to rematch them as well. So, our last AP who just wanted to be in NYC, began a state of mopiness and difficult to live with, starting telling me “stories” and being secretive and on and on. She forced my hand to finally just ask her if she wanted to be rematched, and that is exactly what she wanted so she could leave on her already planned vacation to NYC and then stay on there. After that, and the lack of support from our LC/Agency, we had enough of the scam we had felt led into with this program. We offered all the perks and benefits, one’s own private suite, full access to a car, vacations to fun destinations, worked less than 45 hours a week, little to no weekends, etc. and this AP just had an agenda and knew she could get rematched. I guess I could have forced her to stay, but who wants to live with a secretive, mopey AP who is planning and conniving behind your back? No thanks!

Host Mom X, I like the way you think. I would be so curious as to the statistics of each agency’s fee from the AP and then from that information, which AP’s are likely to be more committed and which ones flake or rematch.

I still recall from our first AP who friended another AP from Interexchange and brought her to our house to hang out. After she left, she told me the agency had rematched her 4x just b/c the AP wanted it, not b/c anything was actually wrong with any of the families and, by the 4th family, the AP was happy. WOW! So, that AP left 3 other families in the lurch just b/c she could… Again, reason after reason we lost faith in the system.

And Momma Gadget, I did follow up with our reimbursement inquiry. They said the would look into it and it’s now been almost 2 months and nothing!

Should be working August 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm

To return to the matching questions, here is a list I found from 2010 that I sent to the matching coordinator. Now, I can afford to be this picky because we live in an AP-favorite place. But we have some minuses too–no exclusive AP car, older kids (I’ve had several APs reject me because they wanted little kids, which was fine!).

Objective criteria, in no particular order:
1. Childcare experience taking care of more than 1 child at a time
2. Swimming ability and enjoys swimming
3. Driving experience, preferably at least 1 year’s experience and LOTS
of hours
4. Non-smoker–and not lying about that
5. Ok with dog
6. Can expect 37+ hrs of work per week
7. Female (I am open to a male, my husband is not)
8. Native x speaker
9. Willing to speak x with kids (but this criterion might scare a
few candidates off to start with, so I introduce it later)
10. No eating restrictions
11. Physically fit and healthy proportions, not much overweight nor AT ALL
12. From a family with a few live-in siblings, preferably younger ones
13. Has had a ‘real job’ apart from babysitting.

Subjective criteria, in no particular order:
1. Good with loud, rough-and-tumble boys AND girly, sensitive big
2. Tidy
3. Can handle teenage drama without becoming part of it

Some ‘soft’ preferences, not requirements:
1. From a city or town, not a tiny village
2. From x and y regions, not a and b regions
3. Catholic works better than Protestant, but we’re open

We are quite open with regard to age, although driving experience is
also crucial. Our 18-yr-old worked out MUCH better than our 25-yr-old.

cAupair August 24, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Should be working – I´m sorry I don´t see why you say you´re being picky, you want the best for your children as any parent would.

c´mon most of families are like “my kids are Little angels, they behave themselfs very well..” yeah you WISH.

they are kids, they are loud, like to mess around, fights with siblings and their rooms can be a war zone… that´s a tipical child in my opinion.

What makes you a good au pair is being able to manage the kids, no matter how old they are and earn their respect and trust by being caring, loving, comprehensive, firm and provide discipline when necessary.

for example I meet all the requirements with no problems and most au pairs should.

I also prefer childrens from 7 to 14 ( looks like I´m more compatible and also I have more experience with) and I like that you have a better Schedule usually mornings off.

BTW not trying to sell myself but if you´re looking for an experienced au pair sometime soon …let me know, I could be a great adition to your family ;P

Skny August 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm

In South América the investment for Au pairs varies from $500 to $1100 (program fees). With expert Au pair and CCAP bring between the cheaper agencies, APIA the “by a lot” more expensive one.
However girls have more than program fees expenses.

Skny August 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm


Julia August 25, 2013 at 7:37 am

I just google the costs for an au pair with cultural care from germany and the basic price is 1299 euro which is 1738 Dollars and then there is the extra insurance for the travel months plus visa fees, passport, visa pictures, international drivers license and so on say all in all I would guess it comes out to between 2250-2500 Dollars for the au pair

Skny August 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm

I would be interested In see the page you found this information. That is not what learned from the Au pairs I met. My understanding was that it was cheaper for Europeans to become Au pairs than for Au pairs from poorer countries. The program seemed to be more expensive for them. I know for a fact that cultural care Au pair is between the more affordable agencies in South America. But that does not mean that APIA has better Au pairs. Just that many girls can’t afford it. I’d say with all Extra expenses the cost for a South American girl is at least $1000, and a girl who chooses expert Au pair (cheapest agency) over APIA is not less caring. She is just going with what she can afford. And in South America it is still a LOT of money. Only middle class (and up) girls can afford it.

Julia August 26, 2013 at 5:17 am

Here is the official link not sure if you know German though.

Host Mom in the City August 26, 2013 at 10:29 am

You can use Google Translate to translate entire webpages. This gives the Cultural Care fees for a German au pair:

1,299 € – program fee
49€ – required workshop prior to departure
49€ – cancellation insurance
90 € – “sports insurance protection” (25 € for travel month)
100€ – insurance for travel month
59€ – passport
15€ – International driver’s license
13€ – “Exhibition fee for a police certificate”
129€ – U.S. Embassy fee for the issuance of your visa
12€ – health certificate (approximate)

Total appears to be about 1840€ (assuming the extra insurance and the insurance for the travel month) which is $2,500!!

Host Mom in the City August 26, 2013 at 10:36 am

In looking at the site marketed to au pairs, it says au pairs get “full board” and then later that as an au pair “you pay neither accommodation nor food” so the stipend is “only for fun, travel and shopping.” Totally off-topic, but that seems to imply that host families pay for every item of food the au pair consumes during the year. We pay for our au pair’s groceries and meals with us (including when we go out) of course. But I’ve never given her money when she goes out to eat with friends or anything like that and I thought that was pretty standard. Telling au pairs they “never pay for food” is pretty misleading…unless we’re doing it wrong?

Momma Gadget August 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm

When my Current AU pair first came we had a long conversation about agency fees.Once he made friends with some other APs, he was a bit put off that his local agency required 650$ in agency fees,that he take a child care/safety class, and volunteer for a month at a daycare facility. Yet, the German APs in his cluster paid 1/3 of the fees and didn’t have to do any of the classes/volunteer work. I am not clear if the local agency wanted him to do this extra work to make him more marketable as a male (most of his other experience was coaching), or if they require this of all APs from that country (Hungary).
I wonder why CC is so much more expensive than IE for German APs
Paying for their own passport, license, & insurance- welcome to the wonderful world of adulthood.
The other fees- visa certificates-I wonder why are those separate? So what exactly does the the program fee cover?

Host Mom in the City August 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Cultural Care definitely asks more of the male au pairs. I think males have a higher number of hours threshold to even be accepted as applicants. But the fees for any agency seem to vary widely from country to country. I wonder if a lot of it is visa and processing fees as well as flights (obviously getting a visa and flying from China will be more difficult and expensive than to come from Germany, for example).

So for our Cultural Care German au pair, it appears she paid about $1,500 (I’m not counting the visa or passport fees, which are paid directly to her country and not the agency and I’m assuming she sticks with basic insurance). I paid about $7,500.

So the agency has about $9,000 for her year. Out of that comes her flights to and from the training school, the training week itself, her basic health insurance, fees for the German agency that takes in the candidates and processes the applications, background checks, etc, LCC expenses and salary, their website, match coordinator salaries, other staff salaries and overhead costs. I think they also get 200 euros back for completing the program? I’m sure I’m forgetting some stuff… This is why it bugs me when au pairs say they only get paid $195.75 a week and are therefore underpaid and the amount host families pay the agency shouldn’t count toward what they make – as if au pairs aren’t benefiting from all the stuff I just listed.

Skny August 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Also just an interesting fact: between Au pairs, APIA ranks as the best agency (known to give the best support, LCCs to be more fair and caring). I know that Au pairs with more means will choose APIA based on this idea.
It is funny to be in this board and hear the comments, and go back to an Au pair board and hear the same complaint: that families have all the power. That agencies cater for the families, that Au pairs are the weak link and it will always go wrong for them. Au pAirs may request rematch for silly reasons but it also makes them anxious and scared of going home.

LookingForwardToBeAP August 26, 2013 at 8:40 am

It is interesting to see you say this from your (now) mom point of view, but it is sad that it comes from your experience as an au pair.
I know that it is your house and having someone there that sucks makes your life hard and difficult (sometimes), but if you rematch and the ap leaves, you will ALWAYS get a chance of having a new one (unless you really broke the rules and the LCC cares enough to kick a bad family of the program), and if you want you can keep trying, or leave the program for a while and return, I read about many families that go through 3 or 4 rematches to find a good AP. We don’t get as much chances, if you don’t find a family you are sent home and LOOSE everything you invested emotional and material, both you and your family, (because our families suffer too), and you DO NOT GET A SECOND CHANCE, that’s it. I know there are really bad AP there, But some do get sent home unfairly… well I don’t know the point I am trying to make, I guess it gets unfair for both sides sometimes…

Julie August 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Why don’t you get a 2nd chance? We’ve had 3 au pairs who were all with other families first before they came to us–all great experiences. What agency sends home an au pair without rematching her?

LookingForwardToBeAP August 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm

I have not yet started my year as an AP, so what I can say about this is from what I hear/read from other au pairs, some say agencies don’t really make an effort for them and they have to search for themselves.

But that is not what I wanted to say, I meant if you do get sent home, because you didnt find a family on those 2 weeks, you can not try again because legally to be a return au pair you must have completed a year succesfully and still be under 26.

Skny September 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

No i dont. I was An au pair with apia and use expert au pair for agency because is the only one that serves my area.
As I said it was not necessarily true but the Au pairs view.
I am part of a closed Facebook group with about 7000 members, for Au pairs and former Au pairs. Could be that there are less Au pairs from APIA, but in general there are less APIA girls asking help with their rematches, and generally they find families. The same way this last few weeks a nice number of CCAP girls seemed to not find families and go back home.
As I said it is not indication of good or bad agency. I just said the reasons the girls in the group give to choose or recommend an agency.

Skny September 2, 2013 at 9:15 am

There are Au pairs returning home without a rematch. I can’t tell you if it is a fair or not situation. Obviously no Au pair will go on a support group and say: I lied about all my experience and am being send home. All we get is: I am really sad that couldn’t rematch and am going back. Those girls didn’t find families with their 2 weeks time

Host Mom in the City August 26, 2013 at 11:33 am

Skny, I’d be interested in hearing more about why au pairs appear to like APIA better even though it’s more expensive. What is it that they like about the agency versus others? Why is it different? I’ve been wondering about how au pairs find the agencies and how they make the choice to sign with one rather than another.

Taking a Computer Lunch August 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm

My guess is that the extra expense for APIA goes into advertising. Several of my APs say that they saw an APIA advertisement. I know in Germany APIA hosts meet and greet sessions with former APs before young women sign up. A couple of my APs have talked about those.

I must say that impressed by APIA’s support network, aside from LCCs (which vary), especially based on comments here. I do think that the APs are supported, which is necessary in a strange country where you are on unequal footing compared with HFs. However, IMO, the balance of power rests with the HF. A good LCC can mitigate it.

For those APs who feel like they have no power – attend meetings and make sure the LCC not only sees your face but feels vested in you. If she asks “How is it going,” and things aren’t going well between you and your HF, then tell her.

Skny August 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Actually in a group with thousands of Au pairs, there seems to be less rematches with Au pair in America. When there is, it seems that the LCCs are fair, and seems to really “cancel” the families who abuse the program.
Not sure of this is a reality but is their reputation. The other thing that the Au pairs say (and I am not sure If is true or not), is that their LCCs are supposedly salaried (again not sure it is true, but it is what the girls believe) vs paid per number of families In the cluster (which is the usual).
For the girls (if truth) it means that as long as they work well, they will be ok. That if the family they match with is abusive, the LCC may be more likely to assist once she won’t loose money (I case the family leaves the program). Again, I don’t know if it is the reality, but it is what the Au pairs believe. That APIA will give them the best chances of a fair treatment.

TexasHM August 27, 2013 at 9:17 am

Apia lcc’s are not salaried as of last year, they are paid per family BUT I have not seen them hesitate to drop a family that was inappropriate on the spot and sent a girl that blatantly lied about driving experience home after three weeks and no rematch. I asked the LCC and she said the agency is clear if they keep families that break rules they will lose their job and if they suspect a girl is not suitable for the program she needs to be sent home, period. Do all their LCCs abide? No idea. Just my experience.

Julie August 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

What do you mean “there seems to be fewer rematches?” That’s all very internal information and I think it’s also very dependent on the area and LCC. I have a lot of APIA au pairs who have joined our group because they don’t have the support. In one area it could be APIA, in one area CCAP, and one APC. I know that one area near us, there are a ton of Euraupair, so it’s nice to be in that group. Skny, do you work with APIA?

Host Mom in the City August 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Julie, why do you think the agencies don’t share their rematch rates (none of them seem to)? I think that’s very odd. The knowledge of that rate would be pretty informative.

Skny September 2, 2013 at 9:12 am

No i dont. I was An au pair with apia and use expert au pair for agency because is the only one that serves my area.
As I said it was not necessarily true but the Au pairs view.
I am part of a closed Facebook group with about 7000 members, for Au pairs and former Au pairs. Could be that there are less Au pairs from APIA, but in general there are less APIA girls asking help with their rematches, and generally they find families. The same way this last few weeks a nice number of CCAP girls seemed to not find families and go back home.
As I said it is not indication of good or bad agency. I just said the reasons the girls in the group give to choose or recommend an agency.

Julie September 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Host Mom in the City–rematch rates: when I was first a host mom, I wanted to know about the rates, as if it would give me an idea of a chance for success. Then our first au pair lasted 5 weeks. Now that I’m an LCC, I wouldn’t know what would be reported because there are so many reasons for rematch. We’ve had 3 transition au pairs end up in our family–2 were rematches led by the au pair because she wanted to be a part of a family (not an employee). 1 because the host mom did not like the au pair’s tone (I actually think she didn’t want to buy Christmas gift for the au pair.) I’ve seen families go into transition because of job loss or because the au pair didn’t have the experience (good reasons), because the au pair showed up and looked slightly bigger than in photos & skype (transitioned after 2 days as host mom said she wouldn’t be a good role model for daughter) or because the au pair was too tall & she could have been threatening if she wanted to…some of the transitions are pretty unbelievable. Some issues like driving are really good reasons to transitions, some are just sort of sad. I think it could seem high if you looked at a straight percentage, but it would be a little misleading because it really depends on the reasons for rematch and how the agency dealt. It would be even better to know how long it took a family to get another au pair and whether that au pair served the remaining time in her commitment. My 2 cents!

LookingForwardToBeAP September 2, 2013 at 9:20 am

That is filled with so much common sense that I want you to be my LCC Julie!! Some of those stories are really sad like you say!

Anyways, I was curious about this rates too, I saw a post were all of you shared your stories and as I read, I counted.
I counted 108 au pair stories and 27 were rematches, that is a 25% rate.

I may be naive but I don’t think that is high, taking in consideration that this is people who do not know each other before living toghether, and all the lying from both parts that you hear about. I think it should also be taken into consideration that the stories on this post are from aupairmom readers, wich I think maybe the “good” host parents out there. And that there are some of you with 8 au pairs, no rematches, and some with 5 au pairs 4 rematches.

So in the end what do this numbers really tell us?

Should be working September 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm

LookingForward, the numbers tell us a lot. They tell us that rematch is absolutely part of having an au pair, and so families should think about it in advance, while matching, when the au pair arrives, and as things unfold. And rematch policies should be part of a family’s decision in picking an agency. And whether the pool of available APs is big or small, in case an HF lands in rematch.

Rematch is not some oddball event, but a VERY frequent occurrence, for good reasons and bad. HFs should know about it and be aware that they might end up there, and know how to avoid it and when to go to it quickly.

LookingForwardToBeAP September 2, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I totally agree SBW!

Also something that we, as au pairs have to consider. I am going to my future HF with all hopes up, all questions asked, all questions answered, doing everything I can to make things go well, and my mind set up for a challenge, however I have it very present that many surprises can happen on both sides.

But that idea I had it before counting, just from reading this awesome blog and your stories. Nothing has changed at least for me.

ReturnAupair August 27, 2013 at 11:51 am

I was an Aupair with APIA twice. I signed up with a lot of agancy but everytime it got close to match with a family from ccap or aupair care i got scared and did not match.

THe Reason i think APIA is the best Agancy for Aupairs.
1. Theire Matching System. Theire can be unlimited Familys in your account and you can see the difference beetween them. Its might be comparing what familys dont like. But if i make a desicion out of 10 or more familys iam in contact, then iam sure about them and not just because iam afraid that other familys could be worse.
2. I like theire Training School im Stamford. Its a clean Hotel and in our freetime we could explore stamford.
3. Its cheaper then CCAP
4. I trust them to help me in difficult situations.(And in both years i never felt that i cant trust them) i felt save.

Host Mom in the City August 27, 2013 at 12:03 pm

This is great feedback, ReturnAupair – thank you for posting. I hope you and other au pairs will stick around and let us host parents know what you think too!

Skny August 25, 2013 at 10:04 pm

One last comment is that while I am a host mom, I was an Au pair in the past. Families also should remember that girls never come here just to be a caregiver. If this was their main goal they could just stay in their country. They come to improve their English, for cultural exchange, travel, experience, etc.
Also for a lot of them this was a big expense/step. So I do feel a girl should be allowed to rematch if she is not happy (even if the family believes it is not a reasonable reason).
A lot of girls get in debt or sell their possessions to come. For many this will be their only chance of leaving their home country. Their investment may not be as big as the HF, but is very considerable ($1000 dollars is a lot of money in some countries).

Taking a Computer Lunch August 26, 2013 at 7:36 am

I think almost every HF (at least on this list) realizes that APs didn’t come to care for children as their primary goal, and we also realize that most agencies promote the program with their other goals in mind. I know that as a HP, I have certainly altered my dare-to-match with us initial email to emphasize the work aspect. Despite having a teenager in diapers that needs total care, DH and I usually interview between 3-5 candidates a year (we don’t mind receiving 100 rejections because we want a good match).
Over the years, we have had several APs (non-European) who have worked hard to reimburse family members for their AP fees. We were very aware that they were also supporting families at home even after they had re-paid their debts. Only one was from what I would call a wealthy family, who could afford to send her money to do additional activities. While our European APs have had to pay less fees, most have come from working class or lower-middle class families. Their attitudes toward money varied, but most of the APs I have hosted saved enough money to pay for their own expenses and travel while they lived in the U.S. Some even went home with substantial sums of money they had earned in the U.S.

Skny August 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I know most do. I guess sometimes families see a reason for rematch as unimportant and believe an Au pair does not deserve a rematch. In reality the Au pair has invested a lot in the program too, and deserves a good year.
For instance one of my families had 2 teens ages 12 and 16. I usually worked less than 20hs a week. The kids were so busy that I rarely saw them, and therefore didn’t really bond. The only reason they needed an Au pair was because once a month they would go away for 2 or 3 days in a row (weekend away), and needed someone in charge. Even then, it wasn’t really a big job. But doesn’t matter how much free time I had, I felt lonely and homesick. I also felt unecessary.
It wasn’t a major reason for rematch, but I had sold all my valuable possessions to come, and I felt I had invested too much to give up without trying something else. I ended up rematching with a family with 3yo TRIPLETS. I worked every second of my 45hs, but It felt great. I really connected with the family and the kids, and felt I was really doing something meaningful. In the end I finished my year with them, they changed my visa to student, and I Stayed with them for 2 more years as I worked to get my American physical therapy license. Years later the girls were on my wedding and we still get together a few times a year (now they are teens though).

JJ Host Mom August 26, 2013 at 11:25 pm

We are having a much better experience with our Extraordinaire from APIA than we did with regular au pairs from APC. We did have two good au pairs from APC, but we also had 3 rematches. We switched to APIA for our last match, based on hearing APIA success stories over and over again on this blog, and so far that’s turning out to be true for us too. Our Extraordinaire is fantastic.

Euraupair also has a super-qualified au pair program. I have a friend who has had good success with it. I signed up with them too but they didn’t have as many candidates as APIA.

If I had to do it again, and were starting over with small kids, I would just go straight to APIA’s Extraordinaire program. I would have saved myself a lot of stress and heartache.

Host Mom in the City August 27, 2013 at 12:02 pm

You give me hope! Count down for us to the end of our first (and only) year with a regular au pair. Only one more month!

JJ Host Mom August 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Good luck… it can be great! Here’s hoping your next au pair is wonderful.

Anna August 27, 2013 at 6:40 am

I think that’s what I may do for my next match. GoAuPair also has two extra tiers of extra-qualified au pairs – but I couldn’t find a straight answer on their website what qualification exactly their special au pairs need to have. I have been with GoAuPair before for one year, had a good (regular) au pair from them, and liked their customer service, price matching policy, flexible arrival dates, matching system, large size of the matching pool, pretty much everything…

Multitasking Host Mom August 28, 2013 at 10:00 am

We have used Go Aupair in the past. They have two additional tiers beyond “regular” APs. It’s been awhile, but I think they called their categories AP Plus and Premier. The AP we hosted was in the middle category. She had a college degree, and had completed a year-long internship working with special needs children in a classroom setting. Her stipend was about $20 more a week than the traditional AP, and we didn’t have to pay any additional agency fees. She was awesome, and one of our best APs, so far. I agree the customer service with the main agency was great and very personalized. My only hesitation, and the reason we also look at other agencies when we are in the matching process, is they are very small in our area. While the lack of support doesn’t bother me (After all, I have Aupair Mom!), I do see it affect the AP somewhat.

Host Mom in the City August 28, 2013 at 10:55 am

So it sounds like APIA, Go Aupair, and Euraupair have extra-qualified au pairs. How do you find out if a cluster is big in your area?

Multitasking Host Mom August 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Just ask. Last time I was about to start the matching process again, I called several agencies…I was doing a little price comparison… and I ask all of them how many families were in the cluster in my area. They all just asked for my zipcode/name of city and looked it up for me while I was on the phone. You could also ask for the local rep contact info to find out more.

gianna August 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I periodically call various agencies and ask for the name of the local reps. Then I call the reps and ask the size of the cluster. I find that the size of clusters changes from year to year. LLCs turn over pretty frequently and sometimes the agencies redraw districts and split clusters up. With social networking the aupairs are much less dependent on their own clusters and LCCs for friendship so I don’t worry about that so much. Many of the aupairs tell me that they have met other aupairs from their own and other agencies in their home countries so they arrive with contacts. I find that this is a great help

Ruth August 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

TexasHM, that is great that you have had that experience with APIA and the AP would get sent home for lying about their driving skills! With our first AP who lied to us about her driving skills and assured us she could drive in the snow, etc only to find out she couldn’t drive at all, and I mean was a liability to herself, others, our car, etc after we even tried working with her for a full week. We couldn’t keep her with a 6 week old baby and her needing to drive herself to school, etc. But, the agency wanted us to keep her and make sure they could rematch her and she knew this b/c her best friend was already an AP in the States for 9 months prior. She was well-equipped with how the system worked and knew she just had to say the right things to get here and Interexchange would rematch her, if necessary.

It was the downward spiral from there for us b/c we had matched with her 4 months prior to her arrival, had spent hours combing through dossiers, thought we had done our homework so well, invested in her for those 4 months prior, etc. If she had just been honest with us, we would have moved on and wouldn’t have been left scrambling with one to two weeks notice in order to get an AP through the system to fill the other 2 AP’s we went through, for different reasons, but she was desperate to get here since she was turning 27 the same week she arrived with us (we took her one month early for that reason).

I have appreciated reading all the comments here b/c if we ever do go down this path again in the future, which I swore we wouldn’t and we definitely need a good long break from it after our horrendous 6 month experience, I would definitely give APIA a shot. to convince my husband after all that we have been through: new baby, new parents, childcare chaos, the hours invested in searching for an AP, patiently working through the “stories”, the request for time off to go get their Social Security (which is usually more than one trip b/c they forgot some paperwork they needed), 2 trips for our 3rd AP to go for her drivers license b/c, again, she forgot paperwork, helping them set up their banking system, searching for schools, taking weekends to show them around town, throwing parties for them to make friends or hosting a brunch, buying additional gear they have requested such as a bike rack and other things to ensure they’re happy here, working through the cultural and language barrier that can take the patience of Job, an LC who doesn’t know what she’s talking about when she badmouths us to the AP’s and they, in turn, tell us, no refund from the agency, you name it! Think we’ll stick with our US live-in nanny for awhile to let the “chaos” settle. ;-)

oranje_mama August 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Things we find relevant when choosing an agency:

1) Arrival date. APIA has a post-Xmas, pre-New Years arrival date. The others (as far as we’ve seen) have a dead period of up to 3 weeks where no arrivals until the 2nd week of Jan.

2) LCC involvement & cluster activities. Our LCC (APIA) is very active in getting the APs in the cluster connected with each other on FB (even before arrival) and schedules lots of cluster activities. Even if our APs have had an equal number of AP-friends from outside the cluster, they have all appreciated the activities.

Dorsi August 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm

So I just registered with GoAuPair to see what their selection was all about (they have a quick, free process that allows you to have a limited look at the Au Pairs.) They do not explain what their “premiere” program qualifications are (only that you pay the AP $255/month).

They have a total of 3 premiere candidates right now that are infant qualified and can drive (2 from Ukraine, 1 from South Africa). I am remembering why I find this process so frustrating. I would love an “extraordinaire”-type AP, but there are just so few that are infant qualified and from countries I am marginally interested in.

Dorsi August 29, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Oops — of course that should be $255/week.

Host Mom in the City August 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm

I noticed that too. I looked all over the Go AU Pair site as couldn’t find an explanation of what the two levels are.

Anna August 30, 2013 at 6:37 am

I heard from an employee of this agency that they are going to revamp this program, and have only one level of “extra” qualified au pairs.

cAupair August 30, 2013 at 5:06 am

Dorsi- Go with Au pair in America, their extraordinaire program is very good, they have docens of infant care qualified from all over the world, many from EU countries: Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany… and you pay an stipend of 250$/week.

Dorsi August 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm

cAupair — do you know something that I don’t? I am with APIA — I would love if they had “dozens” of infant qualified Au Pairs from all over the world. During my last matching sessions, they had about 5 that were infant qualified and ‘extraordinaire.’ I really wanted a Spanish speaking AP, and during the 6 weeks I was actively seeking, there was 1 IQ/extraordinaire, whose infant skills were marginal — and she was out of the pool within a day of landing.

I have said this before — but I really wish I could have a “dare to match with us” approach and pick girls that didn’t have big red flags (not enough real experience, just got dirver’s license, etc.) — but the pool is so small of the IQ APs.

TexasHM September 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

Btw – I know several APs that were extraordinaire level that chose to be listed as regular APs because the pool of families looking to pay more for an extraordinaire is so small. The one I knew that came at that level had to rematch due to driving and the first thing the agency told her was they were switching her to standard AP because she would find it next to impossible to find a rematch family. What’s my point? I guess if it were me I wouldn’t limit my search to only extraordinaires knowing that APIA often has girls at that level in the standard pool. In that same vein, I also know on the infant qualified side there are likely very few extraordinaires because the IQ designation is a big plus so they often just stick with that. I have no doubt in some instances the extraordinaire pool has exceptional candidates, I guess at least with APIA I’m not sold that they are better. Of the 2 extraordinaires I knew about both got rematched quickly (one couldn’t drive at all, other had a lot of demands and unrealistic expectations) but I know several girls with APIA standard pool that are teachers, nurses, etc.

Host Mom X September 3, 2013 at 10:30 am

I’m not sure that I put much stock in the “Infant Qualified” designation that APIA uses. It just means the AP told the agency that she had a certain number of infant hours – doesn’t say anything to the quality of those hours. Could just be that the AP spent a lot of time hanging out with her sister’s new baby – at least from what I’ve seen in the IQ profiles that I’ve been checking out this time around.

Host Mom in the City September 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

That’s a good point, Host Mom X. The au pair we matched with for this year is infant qualified, but only because she babysat a friend’s baby frequently. That doesn’t tell me much about whether she’ll actually be good with babies, and we don’t have a baby anyway, so it didn’t matter to me.

The issue though is that they won’t even let you match with someone who isn’t “infant qualified” if you have an infant.

Host Mom X September 9, 2013 at 1:48 pm

HMitC – I think APIA will match a family with a non IQ AP if the family wants – I asked them specifically about this (since we will have an infant next time around), and the APIA rep said we did not need to limit ourselves (though she seemed surprised that I would consider a non IQ AP for our impending infant).

Host Mom in the City September 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Oh interesting. I guess I assumed they wouldn’t since they ask you and then only show you the ones that are IQ. Goes to show you should always ask if you want something!

Julie September 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I’m surprised they would match with a non-IQ, as that is a State Department requirement that they must have at least 200 hours of working with infants, thus making them “infant qualified.” I agree that how they received those 200 hours can be significant in how well they do. Just because someone has been with an 18 month old for 200 hours does NOT mean they know how to handle a new born. I recommend and look for au pairs with significant newborn (0-6 months) experience.

Emerald City HM September 9, 2013 at 5:27 pm

I am also surprised they would match with a non-IQ au pair because of the state department regulations.

I asked about matching with a non-IQ au pair and if they would be able to obtain infant hours while I was home on maternity leave for 3 months (since I would be home showing the au pair how to do things anyway). The answer was no.

Anna September 7, 2013 at 9:39 pm

I’ve had a regular au pair from GoAuPair, and she was a preschool teacher, infant qualified, and very good. I think many au pairs who would qualify for these programs may not register for them because it makes it so much harder to find a family

Host Mom in the City September 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm

This is definitely true, Anna. I’m a big proponent of the extraordinaire program, but I have heard of people finding candidates that have been preschool teachers for years who have childhood education degrees in the regular pool. It’s just that I’ve never seen these candidates when I’m looking! And if they are few and far between (because most of them are extraordinaires), it means that if that’s the level of experience I want, I can’t do a lot of interviewing around looking for someone that’s a good personality match as well. It means I may get experience, but be a total mismatch in other ways.

Because of our experience this year, I will never have an inexperienced au pair again. I will never match with someone who doesn’t have full-time experience with kids. With the extraordinaire program, I only see the candidates I would talk to based on that requirement and then I have twenty or so to interview to find someone who is a good match for us on the other things that are important.

FutureAP August 31, 2013 at 11:03 pm

As for myself, I am with APC for the second time, I loved the US agency but one thing I have seen, both times; none of my references have ever been checked by my local agency.
The second time the HF just asked if they could do it themselves but be careful of that, even a great american agency can have quite bad partners…

Host Mom X September 3, 2013 at 10:27 am

I would believe that with APC, even just based on how they present the AP candidate profiles. APIA, for instance, posts write-ups of their reference-check conversations with each AP profile. APC does not do this – I assume because they did not have those reference-check conversations.

au pair agency September 1, 2013 at 2:57 am

AIFS Au Pair in Australia offers quality home-based childcare for Australian families. We pride ourselves on the quality of our service and the calibre of the Au Pairs that participate on our program. Our families appreciate knowing that AIFS Au Pairs have been thoroughly screened and interviewed in person prior to being accepted onto the program. If you are seeking peace of mind and a smart child care solution for your family please contact us by phone or email or drop into our centrally located shopfront Sydney customer centre to speak directly with our team.

cAupair September 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I’m with apia too and thanks to fb groups I know about 10 au pairs that are infant qualified, some of them are in extraordinaire program some not, apart from spanish speaking au Apair on the extraordinaire program I don’t know what else you’re looking for: +21, good driver, good English skills, ever had a real job, able to cook… ????
you are on your rights to be piky because you pay good money for it but then you might not find your perfect candidate because might not be there, apia is the larger agency with the best reputation, that’s why I signed with them.
Maybe you should hire a regular ap… Have lots of friends aren’t infant care qualified but they could be because they have a lot of experience and might be a candidate to consider.

Hope you find the right match for your family :)

Dorsi September 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I can’t see APs that are not infant care qualified. I am willing to compromise on a lot of issues — we have taken very poor English skills, no cooking skills, and no real job. I just reactivated my APIA application — there are 13 extraordinnaires that I can see right now, 1 Spanish speaking. None of them are available for 2014 (I’m early in the process, but not as early as many people on here match).

I think if you have never been through the process and required an IQ, you may not understand how limited the pool is.

I was also taking a look at proaupair — I have heard people mention them before. I couldn’t find anything about fees — are they substantially more expensive? We are really looking for a well qualified candidate for the next go round (and are willing to pay more for it).

Host Mom in the City September 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Dorsi, we tried to match early this year too (also looking for an extraordinaire or at least very experienced) and found that the pool was very limited early. I’ve heard about host families matching 6+ months in advance because they wanted to find the prepared plan-ahead type candidates and they wanted to take their time. When we tried to match at that point, there were so few candidates that wanted to come when we need them to come that we gave up (but only after repeatedly being told by candidates they were very interested in us, but wanted to come months earlier than we needed them). Went back to searching in the normal range (3-4 months ahead) and found lots more candidates. There were so many candidates I saw that we were interested in that wanted to arrive as soon as possible! Even now although we’ve already matched, I sometimes go on my accounts for other agencies just to see who’s out there and more and more candidates come every day that want to come in my arrival month. I just think there aren’t that many au pairs who sign up way in advance. If you don’t find someone early, don’t get discouraged.

I also want to add that for three years now, we’ve looked for a Spanish-speaking au pair who had the level of experience we wanted and never found anyone even close to being in the running. It might be a cultural thing – I don’t think South Americans (speaking very generally here) have the same kinds of childcare training and babysitting opportunities that western Europeans might get, so the number of candidates that would rise to the extraordinaire level was minimal. When we asked Cultural Care for a Spanish-speaking candidate who had experience working a full-time job in a school or as a nanny, they pretty much told us to forget it. Each year we had to give up on the Spanish-speaking since the experience was more important to us.

I asked about ProAuPair earlier in the thread, but no response. I know one friend who uses them and has been happy, but nothing specific.

Taking a Computer Lunch September 9, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Many APs have plans for what they will do after their year, especially Europeans – if they want to attend university, participate in an Ausbildung or other training program, they have to return to their home countries by a specific date. I think that’s why Europeans, especially, favor the summer to summer window. IME South Americans and Asian APs are more likely to want to extend. APIA applications have an arrival window – I don’t know about other agencies. If you see that an AP’s arrival window does not match what you want, it bears asking why. It will also help you get a sense of her long-term goals. (I want to start university is non-negotiable. My best friend is getting married may mean a late vacation home.)

Boys Mama November 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm

I’ve been reading for an hour trying to find something about Pro Aupair, I see you’ve asked twice but this was a long time ago. Did you ever find anything? We are very seriously considering switching from CCAP after 5 years. It will cost a full $5k more for the year, but WOW, the AP candidates are from another planet and may be worth every penny. I wonder how it’s different than “extraordonaires” with whichever agency offers those.

Host Mom in the City November 20, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I never did find out anything about pro au pair. That said, we had a miserable experience last year with CCAP, and have had one complete excellent experience with an APIA extraordinaire and are so far (three months in) having another excellent experience with another APIA extraordinaire. It’s about $4-5k more expensive for the year, but in my opinion, beyond worth it. We will never go back to a regular au pair, and definitely not with CCAP.

Boys Mama November 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Thanks, HM! I haven’t looked at that agency yet, ProAupair is local to us so I’ve met some of their APs and the woman who runs the agency. What qualifies someone as an extraordinaire? Are they professionals, also?

Host Mom in the City November 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm

They’re not “professional” necessarily, but the requirements are as follows:

“Extraordinaire candidates either have completed a full-time, two-year academic course in child care or are at least 20 years old and have two years full-time experience as a nanny, child care provider or nursery school teacher.”

There’s been some discussion on here about whether extraordinaires are worth it, but based on my two experiences, they have been MORE than worth it. But remember that an extraordinaire designation has nothing to do with match with your family or driving skills or anything like that. Thorough interviewing is still important. But these are candidates that have lots of experience with kids, which shows itself every minute I’ve seen my current au pair deal with my kids as compared to my last. There are really some skills that come with education and experience.

Boys Mama November 21, 2013 at 11:04 am

Thanks so much, very helpful. I’ll keep you posted about Pro Aupair also. Their candidates are literally all childcare professionals. There are far far fewer options and yet you get the feeling you only need to see a few when they are so high quality. An actual German Kindergarten teacher with years of experience in my house? Ummm… Yes, please.

Taking a Computer Lunch November 23, 2013 at 12:04 am

I’ll second that Extraordinnaires are worth the extra money. I’ve hosted 9 APs. The only reason I’ve been so positive about the program is that 6 were Extraordinnaires. 2 of the 3 regular APs gave me a lot of head-aches. The difference? Maturity and prior work experience plays a huge role in AP expectations!

Host Mom in the City November 24, 2013 at 9:00 am

Agree completely on the two deal breakers – immaturity due to lack of life experience I suppose, and au pairing as a first job. Our last au pair (and only regular) had not had a full time job before. She didn’t quite get what having a job meant. She also acted like a college freshman who was allowed to go totally crazy for the first time in her life. So did her friends. Totally turned me off of the program because it looks from the applications like most candidates are in this “gap year” phase if their lives or at least “need to move out of my parents house” phase and that few of them have experienced working full time and what it means to be committed to and engaged on a job. Both of my extraordinaire shave spent time working toward a goal (a degree) and have worked in a year-long or more full-time job with kids. They knew that kids aren’t always fun or easy and they had developed the skills to understand them and handle them in both the fun times and the difficult times.

My big “duh” moment with our switch bCk to an extraordinaire three months ago after an 20yo with the maturity of a 16yo that we barely got through – it’s a little thing, but it was indicative of how much less work this is costing me this year as compared to last. On ocassion (well every day practically with our or AP), my now 5yo would cry when I left. Old AP would stand there awkwardly and wait for me to unravel him from my legs and just watch him melt into a puddle in the floor and the most she would muster is “come on, mommy will be home later.” No matter how many times I explained to her how I would prefer it go, she never “got” it.

New AP (former preschool teacher), swoops right in on the first day, scoops him from my arms. “Bye mommy!” And starts doing something silly.

She just gets it. I realized I don’t have the time or patience to be a first-job coach all through the year. “When we work in a job, we don’t use our cell phones unless necessary.” “When your start time is 7:30, that means I need you to be downstairs ready at that time and not waking up at 7:29 and rolling downstairs half-asleep and still taking time to eat your breakfast while the kids fuss.” I’m not saying there arent regular au pairs who don’t get this, but I’m not taking the chance again. It was that bad.

Should be working November 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm

The story of the preschool-trained AP “swooping in” with some cheerful distraction brings tears to my eyes! Frankly my kids’ preschool teachers were not always that good.

Anyone know if extraordinaires, which I’ve never considered, might possibly have training for preteens and older kids? I know TaCL uses them but I’m not sure the professional experience applies to the teens.

Taking a Computer Lunch November 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

My current extraordinnaire AP prefers older children. Because we have a special needs child who lives at the infant-young toddler level and our other teenager is a teenager, we always ask candidates what age of child they prefer. No sense in matching with a candidate that loves, loves, loves infants when you have two teenagers in the house! (We also look to make sure experience matches our expectations. And quite frankly, my younger teen needs a chauffeur, anything else is icing on the cake.)

Julie September 3, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Dorsi, send me an email and I’ll help you out–even if you aren’t with my agency. I have reviewed thousands of au pairs, and I’m a host mom, and the fact their there are so few IQ au pairs you’re seeing is strange. Cultural Care doesn’t have extraordinaire au pairs–everyone is the same. But I can tell you, I have had 1 doctor (full on emergency room doctor), 3 nurses, and 5 teachers in my group. Please don’t spam me anyone, I’m here to help: julie.dye at Drop me a note and I’ll help however I can.

Dorsi September 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Thanks — I am still early in the process. We may extend with the current Au Pair. However, if we don’t, I will contact you — I am trying to cast a broader net this time.

Julie September 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I’m here for you anytime–regardless who you’re with. Just let me know! :)

New hp September 6, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I am a new HP and would have loved this post a few months ago! We weren’t sure what agency to use but signed up with APC,CC, and APIA. We ended up using APC. We picked them bc there were a large number of families in my town that use them (about 40 families) and the ones I spoke with were happy. Also the lcc is great and has been a lcc for about 20 years and was an au pair. I liked their screening process and we were able to see rematches. They would post the reasons and we were able to get the lcc’s help in contacting the local lcc of the AP to find out if there were any other reasons for rematch. We actually matched with this AP and she is great. We are happy and so is she.

TexasHM September 7, 2013 at 9:39 am

She’s only looking at IQ extraordinaires, that’s why the pool is smaller. Our current AP told me in brazil you can only get that designation if you have a college degree in education or psychology. Yes, you heard me correctly. Had nothing to do with experience. I had an AP tell me years ago that in her country they didnt need any degree, just X number of hours so again as you can see, I’m not at all sold on the extraordinaire designation. My friend got one recently here that arrived completely unable to drive and could not manage her one school age child. My current non extraordinaire AP speaks 3 languages, is teaching my kids to play the piano and guitar and a college degree in marketing and watches my 3 like she had them! I’m not saying I wouldn’t consider an extraordinaire candidate, I just take that designation with a grain of salt (not unlike the IQ designation others noted above). I happen to be friends with the previous LCC for our cluster and she told me she didn’t see any difference in the extraordinaire candidates and the first thing she did when they went into rematch was change them to regular AP status.

Host Mom in the City September 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Certainly not saying that extraordinaires are all going to be amazing or that you can’t find regular au pairs who are fantastic, but I do have to say that APIA is pretty clear on what qualifies an au pair for the designation (see site below). You’re right – it doesn’t have anything to do with experience, it has to do with child-related degrees and certifications, many of which do require experience, but not all.

Extraordinaires have to meet the hourly experience levels that regular au pairs have to meet though. It also doesn’t say anything about driving of course – if you’re a host family that needs a driver, you still need to look for that specifically. I think the extraordinaire designation is more rigid and confirmed than the infant-qualified designation is. The IQ only requires you to say you’ve been with an infant a certain number of hours, which could be fudged or could be not quality time spent. Extraordinaires have to prove they have the degree or certification that qualifies them.

Of course, having a diploma or bachelors in childhood education doesn’t mean an au pair is going to be great with every age child or that she will be a great housemate, but it definitely lets me know that she’s interested in spending time with children and wants the au pair experience at least partially to be with kids and not just to have fun partying in the US for a year with some childcare on the side.

Host Mom in the City September 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Here is the brief description of what an extraordinaire is:

“In addition to standard requirements to be an au pair, Extraordinaire candidates either have completed a full-time, two-year academic course in child care or are at least 20 years old and have two years full-time experience as a nanny, child care provider or nursery school teacher.”

I’ve looked at every single extraordinaire candidate that was available when I was matching for three years and never saw one that snuck by without a full-time degree or two years of full-time nannying or teaching.

Leaving a Comment September 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm

In some countries a degree in childhood education doesn’t necessarily mean the person is interested in childhood education, but it could be that they simply did not qualify for majors which were harder to get etc. In some countries pedagogy is simply often a second choice for those who would actually prefer to study something else. I spoke to a candidate who could easily qualify for Extraordinaire, as she had a MA in childhood education, but she told me openly how she actually did not see herself as a teacher and how she would prefer to work in HR, people management maybe. So… really, a degree doesn’t necessarily mean anything, especially for countries with “free” public universities, where is just very common to get a degree, so pretty much everyone tries to get one. If they can’t make it to something they would really like, they go for majors which are easier to qualify for. And then many of them simply increase the pool of unemployed. Or they take up jobs which have nothing do to with their education or don’t even require any higher degree.

LookingForwardToBeAP September 10, 2013 at 12:23 am

Oh! I am sorry but I had to chime in here. I come from a country were University is FREE. I dont understand the ” ” you put on it. I am very proud of our (my) Public University.

Here it is much much easier to get a degree on a private university simply because people pay for it. Many who don’t do well in public sistem go to private to get a degree. Our public universities are high standard Universities.

Here it is ABSOLUTELY NOT COMMON to get a degree. You have to work REALLY HARD to get one in a Public University. (I think it is pretty much the opposite as in the USA)

There are young people who get degrees in private universities that are rather “easy”, because they are short, like 2 or 3 years, such as Hospitality, Tourism. I have not seen child related degrees that would be “easy” to get.

Leaving a Comment September 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm

LookingForwardToBeAP, I think I got misunderstood. I put it in quotes, because in reality it sometimes/often is not so free. That’s what I meant. I apologize for creating ambiguity.

I’m very proud of my public university too, and I agree it’s usually easier to get a degree in a private school there.

Now, I do think it is common to get a degree when universities are more affordable. I do think that pretty much everyone gets Master’s in my home country. The sad truth is that later on huge amount of graduates can’t find jobs which would satisfy their high ambitions and they cannot understand why their awesome major doesn’t guarantee a job other then one which you could get having an elementary school in your resume only.

But, yes, I’m very proud of my public university too. Getting my degree was not easy for me. Luckily, I studied what I really wanted to study and luckily it helped me get a great job. I did not choose my major by coincidence, which is often a case when people pick a major which they don’t want and don’t need (in the sense that it won’t help them to find a job anyways), because the school is free anyways and all their friends study too.

Basically all I wanted to say in my previous post is that Extraordinare doesn’t mean the person has any sort of vocation for caring for children. It can be pure coincidence, especially if the person comes from a country where getting a degree in childhood education is relatively easy.

Leaving a Comment September 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I guess maybe we come from different countries, if in your country getting a child related degree is not relatively easy. Say comparing to a medical degree, law, engineering. In my home country a bunch of people who are not accepted to some faculties pick things which require less effort at start to produce crowds of unemployed later. Or crowds supplying job market in Western Europe, performing jobs which they would never do in their home country. That’s the case in my motherland. But the situation may be different in your country, I don’t know.

Host Mom in the City September 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I appreciate all these perspectives, and do want to clarify that I don’t think simply being in the extraordinaire program means an au pair is going to be excellent. Even though we only looked at extraordinaires this time around, I still scrutinized every application, interviewed extensively, and only found two candidates that I thought would be good matches for us within the extraordinaire pool at the time. It’s just easier for our family since I already know I am literally not going to talk to anyone that hasn’t had full-time childcare experience. Eliminates the need to look for that first.

LookingForwardToBeAP September 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I just didn’t want it out there that because it is free it’s easier. It really isn’t.

Arround here, any degree requires work, I don’t think any of them are easy. Some are easier than others, maybe. But all require hard work.

I have seen people start careers due to lack of something else to do but they hardly ever finish it.

TexasHM September 7, 2013 at 9:43 am

Sidenote – the extraordinaire AP my friend got here had no college degree and was Spanish speaking. My friend also looks for Spanish speakers and her first AP was not great either (long story but completely blind in one eye and didnt disclose helps give perspective). She also said there are not many well qualified Spanish speakers. Good luck!

TexasHM September 16, 2013 at 12:52 am

That was my point, just because they are not extraordinaires does not mean they haven’t been employed full time as a nanny or daycare provider. I was just pointing out that you might be prematurely narrowing your pool of candidates if you use that designation as an experience or interest marker. You mentioned having trouble finding candidates, I would think slashing the pool to 10% of the population off the bat might be the issue. Just trying to help!

Host Mom X September 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Some info on the “Infant Specialized” designation that APC uses:
We are looking at au pairs with APIA and APC right now. APC has an “Infant Specialized” designation, which, from what I could see on the website, means nothing except that the host family has to pay an extra $950 to APC in order to cover some extra training (i.e. has nothing to do with the candidate’s actual experience, and no extra stipend is paid to the AP, as with APIA’s Extraordinaires). We will have a new infant that our next AP will need to care for, but because I could see no difference in applications designated “Infant Specialized,” I emailed APC to ask what this meant, and whether we could ask to have the designation removed if we were interested in a particular candidate so that we wouldn’t have to pay for the extra training.

APC clarified that indeed “Infant Specialized” means nothing except that the AP has signed up to do the extra training. So for $950 more, this is what you get, according to the email I received from APC:
“The Infant Specialized au pair is not paid an extra stipend. If an au pair is already designated as Infant Specialized, they have to attend the training. The fee to AuPairCare covers the five day Infant Specialized training. The IS au pairs are in orientation for one extra day, but for the entire week the au pairs attend a separate program, devoted to baby care and infant development.

Training highlights include:
* Certification in infant CPR and first aid by the American Heart Association [CPR Certification by the American Heart Association]
* Hands on instruction in infant massage benefits and practice through nationally certified and skilled trainers.
* Training and practice in infant sign language using the Baby Fingers™ method, a leading infant sign language learning organization”

This is soooo not worth $950 to me! First of all, we could pay for our own infant CPR and First Aid course for the AP for MUCH less (I’m sure we could sign her up for a free one too). Not really interested in paying for “infant massage” training. And my baby won’t be ready for sign language yet when the AP arrives. We have used sign language with our first two children and found it really helpful – but again, no need to pay $950 extra for that (especially when the AP won’t be using it right away and will probably forget it; they retain so little from the training anyway, particularly when their English isn’t great yet). We ourselves learned baby sign language from some helpful websites, and we shared the signs we felt were useful with our APs, and directed them to the same websites.

Also – we have two non-infant children, and if the infant-specialized APs aren’t being sent to the “regular” training, does that mean they aren’t learning as much about older children? Honestly, baby-care is something that can be fairly easily taught (we all learned!) – diapers, bottles, eat-awake-sleep patterns, don’t shake the baby, etc. And the care changes dramatically over that first year of life – so we all have to learn each step together (introducing solids, what happens when baby becomes mobile, etc.). On the other hand, toddlers – in my opinion – are a lot trickier. So are pre-schoolers. The moods, tantrums, odd behaviors – these are a lot harder to deal with than a crying infant, for whom there is a limited menu of solutions, one of which will eventually work. Our first AP – our worst AP – was just fine with our infant, even though the AP had never cared for one before. But this AP was just awful with our then-toddler; just couldn’t understand or get into the toddler mindset.

Anyway – when I asked (1) how the APs got designated (i.e. if they chose it); and (2) if we could have the “Infant Specialized” designation removed from a candidate if we were otherwise interested, but didn’t want to pay $950 for the training, this is the response that I got:
“The IS training is offered to certain au pairs and they have the option to accept or decline. Typically once the au pair is designated to be IS, it is not removed. If you give me the name of the au pair in whom you are interested, I can look into it though.”

Hopefully APC would actually bend on this if we become serious about a candidate that is designated “IS,” because I REALLY don’t want to pay for what to me seems like a fairly useless training.

Anyone have experience with “IS” APs from APC and feel differently?

JJ Host Mom September 9, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I was under the impression that APC’s IS au pairs had to have a certain number of hours caring for infants. If this is not the case then wow, I agree with you that it’s not worth it. FWIW we had an APC IS au pair and were not thrilled. I am surprised to learn that they learn baby sign language and infant massage because we did that and I tried to teach her how, and no dice. So clearly the training isn’t all that effective. We ended up rematching with that au pair after a long 8 months after she made a really poor choice in a medical situation, so clearly the First Aid training didn’t sink in either.

Emerald City HM September 9, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Our first year we did actually pay extra for the IS training (mostly because we didn’t know any better). In fact our au pair was not IS, and we asked her to do that program. She seemed to enjoy it, and spoke highly of the training, but she also worked with us and learned from us too on how we do things.

Our second au pair we decided to put her in the IS training too, because the first spoke highly of it and the second already had less experience wiht infants, so we wanted just a little extra since I was due with our second a few months in. I’m not sure it was worth it at all since by the time the baby was born, I ‘m sure she forgot all of that anyway. She did not seem as interested in learning how we do things, so when we started baby led weaning for our youngest, we only did that ourselves until our 3rd au pair arrived and only had her give bottles during the day.

We had some weird thing where au pairs (particularly from Germany) were marked as IS, but then would say they really wanted older children too, because taking care of an infant all day wouldn’t be exciting enough.

We’ve never actually found a match with an au pair that was already IS (selected by them) and this year we skipped paying for the extra training. She had plenty of experience with children from 0-3 years old and didn’t figure she was going to get much of anything her first week in the US in a class taught in English.

Should be working September 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Host Mom X, I couldn’t agree more that infants are not the only age group for which APs could use specific training. In fact, I think a designation for “teen specialized” would be HUGE and I might even be willing to pay for it, if it meant the AP had had substantial teen experience and perhaps some training with “How to talk so Teens will Listen” or something like that.

And I have had candidates reject me because they don’t want teens, just little kids, so a teen specialization would mean they are teen-willing.

Momma Gadget September 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Yes, Please!
I actually had matched with a bro pair who had extensive experience mentoring and tutoring ADHD and troubled teens in a volunteer outreach program…Alas, his visa was denied. :-(
Though our current AP is good, I wish there were more TQ candidates.

Host Mom X September 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm

The website says they have at least 200 hours of infant care – but this doesn’t really mean anything to me. (Like APIA’s infant qualified designation.) From what I can see from the applications, this can just be hanging out with AP’s sister’s new baby. And I have looked at many non-IS applications that seem to list much more “quality” infant experience than that. What would be more meaningful would be documented ACTUAL infant care experience in a more structured setting, like a daycare, or that the AP was a full-time nanny for an infant. But that is not what the APC (or APIA) designation requires. APC seems to really tout the training as the reason why a family would want one of these:

Julie September 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Just FYI–CC has partnered with the Red Cross so that all au pairs are now first aid/CPR/infant CPR certified. There’s no extra cost as we don’t have an extraordinaire program (even though many au pairs would qualify as that under other programs). Seems like just a way to get more money to me.

Host Mom in the City September 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Julie, I’ve seen you say elsewhere that CC has many APs that would qualify for the extraordinaire program but that CC doesn’t charge extra for them. That would be great, except three times now I’ve tried to match at CC too, rarely found anyone through the Search and Select feature and both times I explained that I only wanted to be matched with an au pair with full-time childcare experience to my match coordinator, I was basically laughed at and once was matched anyway with our current AP who has been very mediocre.

Am I doing something wrong? What should I ask for to be matched with the level of candidate I want?

Julie September 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Host Mom in the City, there are so many candidates on the search feature, I think it’s overwhelming. Send me an email of what you are looking for–how many kids you have, ages, any countries or skills (julie.dye at and I’ll send you some applications of available au pairs that as an LCC/host mom, I would talk to. Consider me your go-to person now.

Host Mom in the City September 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Thanks, Julie. I agree that the Search and Select feature is overwhelming and I think that’s why I haven’t found it very useful. I put in my basic requirements and get ten pages of potential au pairs that I have to click through to see what their experience level is. But I can’t seem to express what I want to my match coordinators either. We’ve already matched with an extraordinaire who is arriving next month, but I’ll keep you in mind for next year if we match again. I appreciate your proactiveness.

Dorsi September 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Our first AP was IS from APC. I am not convinced the extra training was useful at all, and did not enthusiastically pick an IS AP. The only convincing thing I heard about the IS designation is that it really is a marker that the AP wants to spend the year caring for an infant — many Au Pairs are “infant qualified” because they have some time with toddlers, and have the designation in order to maximize their chances at matching. The IS designation pretty much guarantees that they will take care of an infant, and I think they know that going into the process. I found that there were few APC APs who had substantial infant experience without the IS designation, but it was quite a while ago; things may have changed or my memory is off.

Emerald City HM September 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I think it might be foriegn agency specific on whether or not they are “sold” on this as an increase in match chances. Our first was from Mexico and our third is from Japan and both of them had more infant hours than a number of the German au pairs that were IS.

I was extremely surprised to see IS candidates that had the bare minimum number of hours to be IQ, without some saying in their dossier that while they don’t have a lot of experience, they really love babies or something to that effect. I do wonder if APC does give some sort of bonus to the foreign partner agency for some (but not too many) IS candidates.

Julie September 9, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Do agencies other than CC document that they call all references to confirm the hours an au pair includes and what the referral thought of the au pair’s work? Just curious what you see…

Host Mom in the City September 9, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Au Pair in America does document and transcript references.

Emerald City HM September 9, 2013 at 5:21 pm

APC has signatures of an official from their foreign counterparts, but only on the minimum required, not on every reference or experience the au pair lists.

We see the referral form as the reference fills it out. So we do get to see handwriting. This can have plusses and minuses, sometimes this means it is not legible. Other times when the handwriting and words are just too similiar for our taste we pass. APC told us that was likely because the references did not know english so the agency person wrote it for them, however, the writing didn’t match the agency representative signature.

I take all references with a grain of salt. Honestly, anything from the foriegn agency too.

Host Mom X September 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Agreed. Though at least in presentation, APIA’s reference forms seem more legit – and actually checked – than APC’s do.

Momma Gadget September 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm

A fellow skeptic!(;-))

Host Mom in the City September 9, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Agree that APIA’s seem legit and both times I’ve matched with them, I’ve personally spoken with the references too and felt assured. But I’ve posted before that I don’t count references highly in my choice – easy to fake and to ask only people that adore you. Also, most references won’t be able to tell me anything about living with the candidate.

Julie September 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I look for words that are repeated in references (like friendly and outgoing–similar characteristics), but if I see every reference saying the au pair is “reliable, patient and open-minded,” I think the au pair told them to say that and I’m skeptical. I do read all the notes from the overseas office who verified the reference. There are sometimes some “golden nuggets” of information in those comments. I have had families contact references. I do also always pay attention to the interview with the CC office–they interview each au pair and are looking for ways to differentiate. If the interviewer says “she was shy at first, but warmed up after a while,” I think it’s a fair assessment to expect the exact same response when she arrives to your home.

Host Mom X September 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm

And then of course there are the words from the partner agency interview that tip you off that the partner agency is making it all up! For example, in a recent application I looked at the au pair rated herself as a new, inexperienced driver who rarely drives. Meanwhile, the partner agency comments stated, “excellent, experienced driver.” Hmmm….

And I have seen a few partner agency comments use the wrong name….careful with the cut-and-paste!

Emerald City HM September 10, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Now that you mention it… My husband and I noticed that a lot of applicants specifically say they are open-minded. What does that really mean to these girls and why is that character trait something they feel is important to point out?

That’s one I always find strange, because who would actually describe themselves as a close-minded individual?

Should be working September 10, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Emerald City, we had a go-round with “open-minded” on here awhile back!
I think we concluded that the APs mean that they are open to new experiences and able to hear feedback.

Here’s one that kills me: I think it is CCAP that has a button for “learn about this AP’s culture”, and when you look at each one, they ALL say, “Family is very important in this culture”. Can you imagine a culture for whom it could be said, “Family is not important in this culture”?

Julie September 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

German au pairs are all “open-minded” in their applications. I lived there, and yet I am still not sure why they all list themselves as that. It must be a common phrase they use, but do not translate from English. I don’t think it really means anything other than they want to have a different experience (but not that different) from home!

Should be working, excellent point! All cultures love families!

Should be working September 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Here’s another take on ‘open-minded’: young Germans today have been educated by teachers who are largely post-1968 former hippie types and, in general, people who are very sensitive to post-Nazi German consciousness. So in mainstream Germany things like tolerance and open-mindedness are stressed as virtues (whether or not someone actually has these qualities, they know they are supposed to).

Also honesty. Germans think honesty is really important. Of course it is, when it is something that matters. But in my experience German au pairs don’t believe it is right to pretend to be cheerful when they aren’t, because “it’s not honest”. I make a point of explaining that in the USA it is considered a virtue to be pleasant and appear cheerful even when it is not how you really feel. So no need to be “honest” every morning at 6am, I’d rather you be “dishonestly” cheerful.

Host Mom X September 16, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Just posted an anti-APC-IS mini-rant on the more recent post about the infant-qualified regulation. It does seem to be all about collecting more money for APC. They tried to tell me that the $950 IS fee covers not only the extra class, but “extra screening and recruitment.” By “recruitment,” they must mean fees paid to the partner agency to convince unwitting APs that they will have a better chance of matching if they choose to be IS. Meanwhile, we are interviewing a wonderful candidate right now who is IS, but is really “pre-school/kindergarten specialized” – she trained as and has been a kindergarten teacher. But I believe she will miss out on matches now because of the BS extra $950 families have to pay for her.

Anna September 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm

I had the same experience with APC when I was working with them four and three years ago. I came away convinced that it is just a clever way to fleece families for more money. Families like me who like to get to the bottom of things may leave, but I am sure many would not look at it too closely and swallow this hook and sinker.

Host Mom X September 17, 2013 at 10:16 am

Yes, APC’s last response to me was along the lines of “go F- yourself; we have a huge amount of families [first time, I imagine] willing to pay that extra money because they don’t know any better and it’s their first infant and first au pair. And now we’re going to purposefully place the AP you are interested in as a “recommended match” in every new family’s “favorites” list – and recommend her as a driver even though she is not – just to spite you and show you that we can “sell” her for however much money we want.”

WestMom September 15, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Consecutive days off…

We are with InterExchange and my LCC just sent us a note that the 1/5 days must be consecutive… This is the first time I ever hear of this from IE. Anyone else? Thx.

Anna September 16, 2013 at 8:40 pm

When I was with IE they didn’t have this rule.
I think you should call the main office and verify.

Seattle Mom December 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I just got an email from they are now a State department authorized au pair agency, and they are hiring a bunch of LCCs and gearing up their program. I would be tempted to apply if I hadn’t just paid my whole program fee for the next year to Cultural Care… they are offering a substantial discount on au pair program fees for LCCs.

Anyway I wonder what this agency will be like. It looks like they are in limited markets, but all the major US cities on the coasts and a few in the middle. Program fees are comparable with the big agencies, maybe a little less. It’s really hard to tell from their website.

Should be working December 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Fascinating news! Why, pray tell, are there not MORE agencies than just the dozen or so? I’d love some more niche options.

Gianna December 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I am very interested to learn more about this development with Great Aupair. As far as becoming an LCC , it seemed to me that they want a lot of work for very little money . I had the impression, too, that you have to recruit your own families. I could not get a direct answer about reimbursement. It seems like a commission arrangement. But I will be eagerly following any news anyone has to share on this topic. The other question I have concerns the responsibility for housing aupairs transition. It seems to me that this could become very expensive emotionally and financially. This could be an exciting new agency – I have very little solid information

Seattle Mom December 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm

All I know is CCAP’s compensation structure (since I almost became a CCAP LCC- went through the training and then decided it wasn’t going to work for me, since I had a newborn at the time). Most of the compensation is based on commissions for signing up new families, but you also get (pretty small) lump sums for conducting orientation meetings with new HFs. There is also a monthly allotment per AP in the cluster- it’s not much. And I tried to find out what the discount for program fees for hosting an AP would be, but I never was sure- I think it was in the neighborhood of 15% for new LCCs, and that amount increased the longer you were an LCC. Great au pair said they give discounts of 40% off the program fee for LCCs. That would make it worth it to me at this point.. maybe… I would have some trepidation about becoming an LCC with a new agency that I knew nothing about, although I suppose most of the information would come out during the application & training process. I just worry that with a not-so-good agency you could end up with bad APs or bad HFs who don’t get kicked out of the program, lots of recurring drama & extra work in the form of mediation and stuff.

When I trained as an LCC for Cultural Care I learned from the other LCCs that housing transition APs is fairly uncommon, at least in that agency and in my area. Usually they stay with their HFs until they move on. I think my old LCC who has been at it for years has hosted only one or two APs in transition total. So that’s not a huge concern for me.

Returning HM December 16, 2013 at 11:53 pm

This seems like the right thread to post this on, since it’s about agencies (but also about male APs):

We switched from APIA to CCAP this year, in order to host a male AP. At the time, I was very clear with our wonderful APIA LCC about why we were switching and asked her to speak with the higher-ups at APIA about bringing male APs over. She told me today that APIA has decided to try having male APs on a trial basis, but that they will not recruit their own candidates but will just allow families who are pre-matched to have a male AP through APIA.

Since we are considering hosting another male AP (not decided yet but are thinking about it), I wonder what others think of this arrangement? I’m kind of unclear why any male AP would want to come through APIA rather than CCAP since APs don’t necessarily know the qualitative difference between agencies before they sign up. I’m also unclear how we are supposed to go about recruiting potential male APs to pre-match with? Last year when I posted on greataupair for a male AP, I got not one hit (and I usually get hundreds when posting for female APs). So I am curious how to go about doing this, if this is what we decide to do. We would MUCH rather be with APIA than CCAP due to an enormous difference in LCCs in our area and also our own preference for APIA as an agency over CCAP, but this super tentative toe-in-the-water approach APIA is taking to sort-of bring over male APs is making me wonder how seriously they are really taking the endeavor of making male APs feel welcome in their agency. Thoughts from anyone?

Thanks in advance.

NoVA Twin Mom December 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Wouldn’t the bropair have a major problem if they had to rematch? I mean, of course YOUR bropair wouldn’t have to rematch :), but what about a hypothetical future bropair brought over under similar circumstances? Would APIA be willing to put the bropair into the rematch pool, or would he be immediately sent home, as the “new” host family wouldn’t be prematched?

And when/if you had to send him into rematch, couldn’t APIA deny all responsibility for anything he did as they didn’t do ANY of the screening and recruiting – not even the minimal level we sometimes suspect takes place? I fully realize they don’t take any responsibility under normal circumstances, but this seems like a recipe for disaster – potentially for both sides – if something goes wrong.

I guess I’m pleased that APIA is actually listening to the demographic that wants the ability to have male au pairs through a legitimate agency, particularly their existing customers, but I can’t see this working out well for the guy in any case.

Plus, my impression (and I’d be happy to be wrong here) is that there don’t tend to be that many bropairs in any given place, so any given cluster may only have one at a time. Can you imagine being the ONLY bropair in your entire agency?

On the other hand, if you can find a guy that seems like a great fit, this would seem to be a good way to keep your preferred LCC.

Skny December 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm

They are out there. I know the brother of our favorite au pair is desperate and can’t find family I great au pair. Apparently very few families will take a male au pair

Momma Gadget December 17, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I agree that there are much fewer Bro pairs than female Au pairs, But there are actually 3 in our cluster now.

Our Bro pair used to complain about the girls in his cluster being “annoying”… By that I think he meant “falling all over him”… Must have been very tough. LOL

Momma Gadget December 17, 2013 at 7:53 am

I can not speak from experience with either of the agencies you mentioned, because We have only ever used interexchange.
We have stayed with this agency primarily because we have an awesome LC, and have not had any major issues with corprate to make us look elsewear.
I like you”toe dipping” description. I would have a hard time with this. It sounds like more of a reluctant accomidation to hold on to HF who might othewise leave, than a commitment to bringing great, qualified male au pairs. ” if you insist on a male au pair, we’ll be happy to take your money as long as you do all the leg work and screening your own darn self”- I’d also be worried how supportive they would be if there were problems.
Though we are a loyal bro pair family now , I feel having a good LC is really important to the success of a match. Not just when there are problems, but in supporting the AP, helping them get
Acclimated and feel like part of a community.
Are there other agencies in your area? I

Southern HM December 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm

We have hosted au pairs for many years, always with APC. We are not even in a major city, but every year there are at least 2-5 bro pairs in the cluster (in a cluster of 20-30). I remember when we had our very first au pair (10 years ago?), there were (already) a couple of bro pairs in the cluster. I never realized that that was somewhat unusual? We have never hosted a bro pair, but several of hour au pairs became best friends with a bro pair, so we got to see some of them a lot. Is APC in your area?

Comments on this entry are closed.