How To Share Information About Rematch Au Pairs, When the Agency Won’t

by cv harquail on October 18, 2016

We all believe that Au Pair Agencies should be as transparent as possible about what sends Au Pairs and Host Families into rematch.

We don’t want to recycle problem Au Pairs and problem Host Families, hoping that they can make some kind of barely adequate rematch that avoids anything illegal or unsafe, just so they can finish out their contracts.

4069384258_686874d560_mCertainly, there are a lot of concerns about what information to share.  With some rematches, both sides get angry or frustrated and want to present their side of the story in the best light.   How would we know — and how would an Agency know– who’s version of the story is actually true?

But, Host Parents need more details. We need to know if the rematch was really triggered by a “personality conflict” or by the third driving accident. We need to know if the previous Host Family was really unreasonable and broke the rules, or if they asked their Au Pair to work two Saturday nights in a row.

SameMistakeTwice Host Mom writes about this situation as both a remathcing Host Mom and a Host Mom looking at transition / rematch Au Pairs.

Is there a way to get the information she needs, where the information is reasonably reliable, without her having to go to some private Facebook group filled with vitriol?


Dear AuPairMom —

We are supposed to be in rematch or transition with our Au Pair Agency and I am extremely concerned.

It seems that we have to take the Agency’s word about the au pairs in rematch. After the initial process and experience with our first au pair. I am not convinced that the Agency does a good job screening and representing their au pairs.

We do not get to see the actual exit form of a transitional au pair but rather a summary. So, we don’t know if the information is accurate.

On the other side, we were told yesterday that our au pair would enter rematch. Based on our experience with this Au Pair, I would not want another host family to end up with her, only to have the problems repeat.

Is there a forum where the names of rematch au pairs can be disclosed, along with the reasons for rematch, so that we do not have to rely on what the agency tells us?

(We are seriously considering getting a lawyer to investigate this company and contract. If we Host Parents assume all of the risk of a potentially bad match, then what’s the purpose of an agency?)

As it stands we essentially take all of the risk in getting the au pair without even having access to the full interview (video, training etc) from her original application, much less complete information about the rematch situation.

Anyway if any of you know of a forum where the truth is disclosed I would like to join before bringing another stranger into our home.

Thanks for any help you can give.

 

 

 

 

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Mimi October 18, 2016 at 10:22 pm

Ok, I’ll bite…

I’m not aware of any group like the one you’ve described. I’m also not sure it’s really a solution to this issue (or to the issue of rematch at all, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue…). If you are with an agency that allows you to contact the previous HF or LCC, then take advantage of that but remember that there are two sides to every story and the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. Just as there are unsuitable APs out there, there are also unsuitable HFs.

You say that you would not want another host family to end up with your AP, only to have the problems repeat, but there’s no guarantee that a repeat is what is going to happen. Many times, there are matches that don’t work out but both the HF and AP are successful with other matches. Without any details of your situation, it’s hard to tell if your problem was a result of a bad match, or if you have expectations of the AP program that aren’t appropriate or realistic.

Your best bet is to screen thoroughly any candidate you are considering and there are lots of tools on this site to help you do that. If you don’t trust the agency you are with, then change agencies. (I can’t comment on going without an agency, but perhaps someone else here could.)

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HRHM October 19, 2016 at 10:05 am

I’ll second the emphasis that the AP that was a disaster for you may be perfect for another family. Maybe she’s had 3 car wrecks, but there is a family somewhere that needs a driver. Maybe her English prevents her from understanding or being understood, but there is a family somewhere who already speaks her language and wants her to talk her native tongue to their kids. Maybe she can’t change a diaper or handle a baby, but there are plenty of families who need a soccer playing big kid lover. Unless it was an issue of lying, safety or mistreating children, there is a pot for her lid out there. Be honest and generous in your assessment and help her find them.

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HRHM October 19, 2016 at 10:05 am

Needs a non-driver

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No name, no trail October 19, 2016 at 10:56 am

This seems like the heart of the issue: When is it “an issue of lying, safety or mistreating children”? There certainly seem to be instances (including our own experience) in which an agency uses the euphemism of “personality mismatch” or “expectations mismatch” or “lack of bonding” to obscure what were deeper, more serious problems. In our case, we sent photographic evidence of the lying – and the au pair was still allowed to rematch, ultimately twice more, before leaving the program (and her third family, after just two weeks) to remain in the country illegally with the guy she’d met during the two months she was with family #2. She was an au pair for less than six months and left three families in the lurch. Had the agency trusted our assessment, all of that upheaval could have been avoided.

As CV noted, though, the problem is how can the agency know which party to believe, particularly when it’s a new family (or LCC) without a long track record? For that reason, total and complete transparency is a must. Any transition/rematch document should allow both parties to explain – in their own words – what went wrong, or why it wasn’t a good fit, and absolutely must include contact information for everyone – family, au pair, LCC, director. Let the chips fall where they may, but make sure everyone has a chance to be heard. If a host family was unreasonable in its expectations, I think that’s extremely likely to show through in their comments, at least in the vast majority of cases.

And there are absolutely groups on Facebook where au pairs go to discuss host families. I know of several rematch groups, some of which have host parents, LCCs, and au pairs in rematch as members, and others where it’s just au pairs. The former groups tend not to have much vitriol, but there are certainly instances when au pairs post negative things about their families, albeit without any identifying info in the post itself. Au pairs have active networks for getting the scoop on host families in rematch – not all may take advantage of it, but it’s far easier for them to contact each other than it is for the host families to do it, unless the agency shares the contact information.

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LuckyHM#3 October 19, 2016 at 12:03 pm

I second this. Unless its a safety issue, a disaster AP for one family may be a rockstar for another. We’ve hosted 2 rematch APs, one was a rockstar for us and the other, I knew it wasnt a good fit by the end of the 1st week and we managed till we decided that life was way too short and sent her into rematch by month 2. German, great driver, follows rules to the letter, didnt want all the touchy-feely member of the family crap and was way too rigid for my family and never spent any time with us and in my view was a taker and never gave. She preferred being an employee, we wanted the opposite.

I’ve talked to a few other HMs and i find that my rematch AP would have been a God-send for them. They wanted someone who was okay with an employee relationship as long as they followed rules and could drive

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AlwaysHopeful HM October 19, 2016 at 6:45 pm

I’m sure that part of the reason the wbole story doesn’t always get in the report has to be the LCC’s desire for balance. An LCC, particularly a seasoned one, has seen a wide range of situations and –removed from the emotions of the rematch– tries to lend perspective in his or her writeup. In addition, just as you have been providing info to the LCC, the au pair likely has been also, and may have enlisted friends or even former au pairs to support her cause. Do you really want all of whatever may have said in anger to be a part of the rematch report?

One thing I came to understand from my rematches is that the writeup basically is a watered down version of the exit interview. All of the other info is available to other LCCs though, so you can ask your LCC or placement coordinator to tell you what’s in the notes from monthly check ins and any other background info for an pair you are considering. But, as others have said, nothing replaces talking to the LCC, talking to the HF and talking to the au pair. If the au pair has gone to live with another LCC during the rematch period, talk to her as well.

You have advantages in rematch : 1) you can ask targeted, direct questions to find out not just how someone “might” perform as an au pair, but how they HAVE performed in all of the areas of particular importance to you. And, 2) you have a very keen sense of what you absolutely cannot abide, and you can screen that out effectively.

I’ve gone into rematch twice. With the first, I panicked, and quickly grabbed someone OOC because the rematch arena seemed too fast and too frightening. Big mistake. When we rematched with THAT au pair we scoured the rematch applications, bombarded folks with questions and hoped for the best. Importantly, we listened carefully to the answers all around, and compared them to our family’s needs. The au pair we selected received a terrible review from his HM. She may have even asked him to stop working (I dont remember). She really wanted him out of there, and I believe was surprised I matched with him. But her complaints were not about things that were priorities in our family, so while I can see in him some of the traits she mentioned… he’s actually kind of a rock star in our home. We extended with him and have felt lucky every day to have him as our au pair. As someone said…lid for every pot.

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Mimi October 20, 2016 at 9:44 am

In addition to looking for balance between sides in a story, I think the LCC is also able to give context to the situation. It’s hard as HPs to put aside anger and frustration in a situation to see something from the perspective of the person who has angered or frustrated us. A struggling AP who is experiencing conflict with her HF is vulnerable and likely to engage in behavior outside the norm because she’s extremely vulnerable being away from her support system and dealing with stressors outside her cultural norms. I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty of APs that lie or manipulate independent of problems, but there are many situations where that is going to become a byproduct for a young adult under duress.

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Brit AP November 11, 2016 at 6:01 am

This!!

Mimi’s response is perfect. There is no guarantee that the same problems will reoccur. Nobody will admit, or often cannot even see when they are in the wrong, or just difficult to get along with. Sure, there are issues with this girl. But not two host families are the same. The things that annoy you, might not annoy another family. Also be mindful that you are not perfect. I’m sure this girl has many issues or annoyances about yourself and your family. But on the same page, another au pair might not mind your quirks.

So unless your AP purposely put your children in danger, or it ‘accidentally’ happend several times, then give her a chance to live out her one or two years abroad. She’ll find her match, and you will find yours. Don’t ruin her experience with bitterness, if the reason is merely just because of a few minor annoyances. Afterall, you have kids. Imagine if one of them were dead set on a year or two abroad, only to be sent home because somebody had an issue with them.

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2 kids and a cat October 19, 2016 at 6:02 am

I do think that the agency has an obligation to disclose new information it may have on th AP – they are the visa sponsor and we pay the fees. CC has a new format that gives no information and makes screening a rematch all the more cumbersome. Watching them repackage our AP as stellar was infuriating to me and I don’t really trust anything that comes out of their office anymore.
The best thing you can do is interview the AP, the LCC and the host family. I talked to a potential host mom who gave an excellently thorough interview – from asking about the rematch situation, to the APs characteristics, and finally a series of hypothetical scenarios and asked how the AP had or would handle the situations.

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Mimi October 19, 2016 at 2:28 pm

I’ve seen the new format and although at first I didn’t like it, more of them are expanding on the details that support the rematch reason. I suspect that the new format is going to allow them to track rematches by category which would make it much easier to identify and address trends in problems.

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NewAPMom October 19, 2016 at 8:14 am

With my agency (CC) the LCC can pull the profile based on their number, and the information provided on the transition there is often more detailed than the transition document. Also, check references. Speak with the previous HF to see what the issues were.

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Texas6TimeHostMom October 19, 2016 at 10:05 am

The best thing you can do is to talk to the previous host family. Ask the au pair during interview for their contact information if the agency won’t give it to you. If you can’t get this, move on to another candidate.

We have had two au pairs picked up through rematch. One was stellar, one was decent.

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PacNWHostMom October 19, 2016 at 1:20 pm

I felt similarly that I REALLY wanted to be able to honestly share information about our last AuPair as she interviewed with other families. She lied, there were safety issues, she didn’t show up for work at times, and she pretty much totaled our car. She had major communication issues and our LCC was well aware of those and even told us if we were honest she’d never find another family. Yet, she rematched in a hot minute and that host family never once contacted us or our LCC. Worse yet, she blatantly LIED about the entire situation (she openly interviewed with other families in front of us). As much as I wanted to reach out to the future host family to warn them, it was their decision to not get the facts from us. And I realized after she rematched they only cared about having someone that would match with them. They really had no other criteria other than a warm body and a driver. Sad.
I would say to anyone in this situation interviewing a rematch AuPair to ask tough questions of the AuPair, use resources on this website and always reach out to the LCC/AD and prior host family.

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Taking a Computer Lunch October 20, 2016 at 8:39 pm

I’ve only been in rematch once (and ended up going with an out-of-country AP because the venn diagram of special needs willing APs with actual special needs experience AND who could drive was nil), but I have temporarily hosted several APs in rematch because they were besties with my AP.

If you are interviewing, then ALWAYS, ALWAYs, ALWAYs, ask the AP for the name and phone number/email/Skype of the LCC or HF you may contact (it may not be Her HF – it might be the HF who was willing to take her in). DH and I have willingly served as contacts for APs living under our roof when a) they actually pitch in and act as family members and b) we see them actually interact with one of our children. [Au Pairs – if you stay with a friend while you’re in rematch and want to go home in a hurry – refuse to help around the house, eat all the food, and complain. Not every AP in rematch actually gets to stay in the U.S., although we all know undeserving examples who do.]

Not every HF situation was fair just like not every AP is great. You’ve heard some stories from the AP whom you just interviewed and you’re shocked. If you can’t speak or email with the HF, then demand to have a conversation with the LCC (your LCC should be able to connect you).

Quiz your own LCC. Maybe she’s privy to information you are not. If she asks, “Are you really sure you want to make a match with this AP?” be assured you do not.

When you are called by a HF be honest without being mean. If you can’t, then tell your LCC, as I did, “You know I’m going to throw her under the bus.” No one should contact you when you are so angry you can’t say anything positive. If you really can’t say anything positive – do you have grounds for a lawsuit, or is the vibe so bad that you can’t see straight? (btdt)

Bottom line – we’re all human. We all put our best foot forward during the interviewing process, and sometimes that’s not good enough. Vent and let go!

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nina October 21, 2016 at 9:32 pm

I agree: I always asked for a reference LC and HF. If the ap doesn’t share those then just move along.

I got phone number once from a LC and she was shocked to find to that this au pair was even in the system as she advised the agency to send her home.

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Nikki October 22, 2016 at 3:31 pm

Hello,

I can completely emphasize with you! We had somewhat of a rematch disaster. We matched with an Au pair and it didn’t work out. Had it been a personality difference it wouldn’t have been a major issue however there were some very concerning components of our experience with her that were very sugar coated over when she was placed into rematch. Mainly she spoke poorly of our very young children, had never worked before and didn’t at any capacity see this as also a job, and also admitted that she has a dislike for children. She then tried to rematch herself down the street with a family she called with no notice because they didn’t need someone to work many hours and she could tolerate it.

After Having 2 months of difficulty (I had really wanted to make it work initially) she said things about my toddler and baby that Were terrible and I determined I was done. we agreed to let her stay in our house for part of the rematch process. In conclusion, she was mean, rude, trashed her part of the house leaving chocolate granola bars on the rug and left without telling us she broke the toilet weeks earlier. Going into rematch was anxious because I lost faith that there would be an accurate depiction of Au pairs in rematch.

We ended up meeting someone amazing and are now having a great experience. This is not thanks to our agency at all as we also get the sense they misrepresent the situation. Our agency initially left an account that we reccomended our Au pair and that she possessed neatness, cooperation and other qualities that I would not attribute to her.

The only real difference between the first match and the second for us was that the first time we picked someone who seemed to be a good candidate logically and on paper. The second time we picked solely on personality and experience watching her Skype with our children. We also gave preference to someone who was more seasoned in caring for others with experience volunteering. I felt it would be a good indicator of someone who would be less self-concerned and more caring for children.

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WarmStateMomma October 23, 2016 at 7:51 am

My AP’s friend went into rematch. I knew this AP well as she had traveled with us and stayed at my parents’ house. She ended up staying with the LCC because she didn’t feel safe with the HM after pulling the trigger. This HM had a history of bizarre lies and the LCC was surprised at how bad the situation was. The AP did not find a new HF and went home early. It would be awful if the HM’s spite is what kept her from matching with another HF.

Another LCC told me about an HP that chased her away when she arrived for the arrival meeting – telling her not to bother them ever again. The stories from the LCCs are bad enough and I know the APs don’t share everything.

I plan on looking for a rematch AP with just a few months left when my current AP’s term is up. We will ask to speak to the HPs and LCC but I will have a hard time trusting what anyone has to say and the whole idea makes me nervous. We are in a big enough city that we may luck out and get to meet candidates in person, but still….

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Host Mom X October 24, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Our experience is to view rematch as an opportunity to do the sort of due diligence you CAN’T do when you are interviewing out-of-country APs. But it is true that the agency is not the facilitator of your diligence; the same way they are not really the facilitator of your diligence for out-of-country APs. The “fresh” AP applications for the most part all look very much the same, and it’s hard to get a real sense of the APs’ actual experiences. It is hard to know if the references are actually real, or if real, honest.

Yet with a re-match AP, you can: (1) maybe meet the AP in person; (2) get in touch with the prior host family (if the AP won’t give you the contact info, that’s a pretty big warning sign; you don’t need the agency to get that info); (3) get in touch with your LCC and the AP’s old LCC; (4) ask the AP to give you the phone numbers of anyone else you think you might need to talk to; (5) ask pointed questions after reading between the lines of whatever info the agency DOES give you; (5) on top of all that, also see the original application (to the poster: we’ve been in rematch with two agencies and have always been able to see the original applications in addition to whatever paltry additional material the agency puts together).

Anyway – none of this is perfect, but we at least have had a lot better luck getting the full picture on rematch APs than we have with “fresh” APs! (And we’ve have great rematch APs.)

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HMof2 October 24, 2016 at 4:12 pm

In interviewing rematch AP, I also pay attention to how the LCC behaves as it relates to the AP. During one rematch, I had an LCC who was housing an AP and actually asked to talk to us. This AP was up to her 3rd rematch which can be perceived as negative. This LCC was extremely concerned about the future of the AP. She was very protective, like a mama bear. The LCC interviewed us and asked us very pointed questions. The action and effort this LCC gave to screen us for fit with the AP was better than any reference that we could have had. It told us that someone cared enough and thought well enough of this young woman to go the extra mile to make sure that the AP had a good rematch. This AP turned out to be one of our best.

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TexasHM October 27, 2016 at 3:49 pm

We had a similar experience – our rematch AP was staying with the LC, the family had been kicked out of the program so they wouldn’t give me contact info and when I told the LC that was a dealbreaker for me she went above and beyond to have me consider that AP (including offering to let her drive her car so LC could do a driving assessment for us). That LC interviewed me very hard with smart, direct questions to determine if she thought we would follow the rules and treat the AP well and once her inner mama bear was satisfied she did whatever she could to convince us this was the best AP ever and she had been an LC and hosted for a decade. We did match with that AP and she was a total rockstar!

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Chi Host Mom October 25, 2016 at 10:15 pm

I was in a similar situation after having to go into transition within the first 3 months of our first au pair being here. There were definitely personality conflicts, but she also lied to us about a few major things, one being that she had a boyfriend here in the US that she wanted to be with, and even told my MIL that she had no intentions of going back to Columbia. She then would never communicate with us directly, told the LCC some stretched truths about her hours and us not following the rules, when she pointedly asked if she could get another job to make extra money and so we gave her a few extra hours a week….only to have her tell the LCC that we were overworking her. There were a series of miscommunications, reviews of the schedule and rules, repeated talks of what we needed her to do with our one son, which she struggled to get it together for the 1st 5 weeks, on top of her lieing about her ability to drive. The last straw was I had come from the hospital after giving birth on a Saturday, and she booked a trip to go to NYC, without checking our schedule, 3 days later. A week after that, she lied about a family reunion in NYC and so we let her go (even though I really needed her help at home to take care of my toddler while I had the newborn), and she really went to Mexico with her boyfriend. She was also in NYC 6 of the 8 weekends she was here with us, which made it impossible for us to ever consider her for weekend work. The Program Director wrote a very vague transition letter stating it was personality conflicts and that we didn’t embrace her into our family. She then rematched with a mom who had two young kids and a stay at home Dad who died suddenly. She didn’t contact us as she needed someone immediately, but then the AP lost car privileges since she proved to not be able to drive the kids safely, and therefore, couldn’t use the car to go to NYC on the weekends. Two months later, she was in rematch again and then had to go back home. There was also a series of “miscommunications” and lies with her new HM, which I read in the transition doc.

Looking back, I feel like our LCC was super supportive, but the program director sided with the au pair, and ultimately painted a picture that was not truthful, and put another family in a bad situation, just like ours. So there were no abuse or mistreatment, but these other issues are just as harmful.

We now have one a German au pair who loves the big city and enjoying her independence, and it couldn’t be a better fit for us! She’s extremely caring and has made me have trust in the AP/HF relationship. We hope to get as lucky the next time!

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RematchAgain October 27, 2016 at 12:42 am

I’m pretty ticked off at our agency right now. We just went in to rematch because of a safety issue. We were able to see our au pair’s rematch bio and it says nothing about the safety issue (says it’s a personality issue). It really bothers me that new families will be considering her without the full info of the safety concern. I just reached out to them to ask whether they plan to put info of the safety concern in the bio.

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sleepytime October 28, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Our three best APs have all been from rematch, and for all of them I managed to either talk to the host family or a host parent that knew the situation well. For all three, I could sort out that what were deal-breakers in that home would not be problematic for us.

That said, the agencies absolutely lie. The lie about whether a prior host family is willing to be contacted. Each and every rematch au pair out there should be willing to give the host family as a reference or be willing to say- I can not give you their phone number but It is the ___ family in ___ town. They should be willing to give you enough information that you can figure out how to get in touch with them. IT is a very rare host family that isn’t at least willing to hint on the phone what issues led to rematch, even if they feel they can not go on record with a letter. If an au pair can’t give that much information it is a huge red flag, and I would move on.

The main reason that the host family facebook groups exist is for dealing with rematch. It is fantastic that au pairs have their own groups for the same reason- after all they are in a very vulnerable position as they move in with families.

Families don’t realize that they too are vulnerable, though. An au pair has the opportunity to get to know your family well and then besmirch your reputation in your community for years while they move on to other opportunities and countries. Even on a minor level this happens. We treat our au pair like family and she is allowed to have over any guests as if she were my niece or an older daughter. As 7 or 8 au pairs traipse though the house, I wonder if they think of themselves as guests of a family member, or whether they would discuss our private household matters online in facebook groups when we are in a matching process. There is a whole “upstairs-downstairs” aspect to having au pairs, where a whole network of people now can know an awful lot about your family.

In any case, the agencies often do not do due diligence on either end. I am very grateful that there are social facebook groups that can help me out with advice and consolation when I need it, or I would have left this program a long time ago.

While the au pair groups often serve a social function as well, the host

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