An au pair is in charge of taking care of the children and usually lives within the home of the family. The au pair is provided accommodation and meals and a stipend of spending money. The family gains a loving caretaker for their children and an addition to the family.
Working as an au pair has traditionally been less popular in the United States then in other countries, but is gaining credence as an efficient method of childcare. There are 11 agencies designated by the State Department to run the Au Pair Program. Both the host family and potential au pair typically pay these agencies an application fee and a program fee which varies from $4,990 to $6,955, depending on the agency used. Au pairs pay fees which vary depending on the US agency and the home country agency they use (if they do not apply directly to the US agency).
This job is often combined with an education requirement in which the au pair is required to complete 12 hours of academic credit. Au pairs placed with families who have children under 2 years old must have at least 200 hours of child care experience with infants under 2. Au pairs may only be placed in a family with an infant under 3 months old if a parent or other adult caregiver is also home and fully responsible for the infant.
The Au Pair Program is administered by the US Department of State. Au pairs enter the United States on a J-1 Visa. A typical 12-month program may have fees that resemble these from Au Pair USA:
|Program Fees||Amount||Due||Au Pair USA Services Covered|
|Application Fee |
|$250||With application||Processing of the host family application and program approval|
|Deposit||$2,500||Upon matching with an au pair||Recruitment and screening of au pair, police clearance report, medical history, interview, matching and placement|
|Program Fee Balance||$4,400*||Upon the au pair's arrival or according to payment plan||Au pair's visa, most of the au pair's round trip transportation, year-long support services of a local coordinator, a portion of the au pair's medical insurance and the au pair's training and orientation program|
Basic application criteria vary from agency to agency, but there are a few typical requirements:
In addition to these requirements, it is common for families to ask for non-smoking, responsible or non-drinkers, and for females.
The family has to welcome the au pair in thinking that she is not an employee but a home help for the children. Therefore they will make sure:
The designated US agencies are:
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