All local Community Counselors are trained in the fundamental, general issues that are relevant to each and every au pair – host parent relationship. Community Counselors (CCs) must know the US State Department au pair regulations, the contract details of the agency they represent, and the au pair contact, support & rematch practices of their agency. Many CCs are trained in issues like helping with culture shock and recognizing eating disorders. Also, most are trained in the foundations of mediating conflicts between host families and au pairs.
1. Fulfilling the Education Requirement in your community
2. Getting the Driver’s License that’s necessary to meet your state’s requirements
The truly great local CC arrives at the host parents’ house bearing two gifts of expertise, (1) his or her own wisdom and (2) accurate, timely, printed materials.
1. Fulfilling the Education Requirement in Your Community
Your CC should be able to provide you with a package of information that covers “All About Fulfulling the Education Requirement in a Cost-Effective Way”. This information would include a handout comparing the local community colleges & universities, with contact information and phone numbers. It would include a list of classes that Au Pairs in the community like to take (for example, ESL classes) that also fill the requirement. This package of information might even include the latest catalog & course listing for the school that the majority of au pairs use.
2. Getting the Driver’s License that’s Necessary to Meet Your State’s Requirements
The other set of information your LCC should provide you with is “Everything You Need to Know about Driving Legally in ThisState“. This would include a handout with web page addresses to the DMV, an outline of the official requirements (and the online page where these can be referenced), and a booklet of driving rules and regulations in your state.
(One of our early CCs went to the Virginia DMV and gathered driving regulation pamphlets in several languages– not only English but also Spanish, German, French, Chinese and Portuguese. These were available free at the DMV, so she kept a stash in her car so she could give one to ever new au pair.)
Note: Questions about what your insurance company requires are up to us Host parents. Every policy has its own requirements, and we each need to be aware of what our policies cover and what they require.
Why should this be the Counselor’s job, and not the Host Parent’s (or Au Pair’s) job?
As host parents, it can be very hard for us to be up to date on either license/driving procedures or education options. When you have only one au pair at a time, the information you search for is specific to that au pair (e.g., language, interests) and to that particular year. In contrast, the local counselor is being asked all the time about driving and education, and must assist 20 or more au pairs each year. It just makes more sense for the community counselor to keep up to date on what’s necessary and what’s working. S/he should be the go-to resource for these sorts of questions.
We get a lot of questions here are AuPairMom about licence requirements and about education requirements, but we can really only tell you what has worked in our own *individual* situations, which may or may not be helpful to you.
in contrast, your local counselor should develop and maintain her or his expertise as a resource in these areas– not only does this make sure that au pairs fulfill requirements and drive legally, but also it is a HUGE help to each and every host family.
These are my personal, unofficial thoughts about how a counselor can be a resource to every host family. Are there other areas where you wish your local counselor was an expert? Please share….