HomeArticlesKeep Childcare Close to Home and Host an Au Pair

Keep Childcare Close to Home and Host an Au Pair

Choosing childcare is one of the most challenging and important decisions for families. As parents, we want a stable option that will provide a safe and nurturing environment for our children. In today’s world, we also need flexibility because our jobs quite often go beyond the traditional nine to five. It’s a tall order!

Most families look at daycare centers or hire a nanny, but waitlists can be long, and rates are increasingly unaffordable. There is also a less well-known childcare option that families across the United States have been utilizing for over thirty years: the au pair program.

What is an au pair?

An au pair is between the ages of 18-26 and from another country. They come to the U.S. on the Department of State’s Exchange Visitor program to live with a host family. The program is federally regulated and allows au pairs to provide up to 45 hours per week and up to 10 hours per day of childcare while experiencing life as part of an American family.

For host families, it’s a reliable, flexible, and trustworthy childcare solution that brings culture and fun to the home. For au pairs, it’s a chance to see a new part of the world, improve their English, and broaden their horizons.

Benefits of hosting an au pair

Hosting an au pair offers flexibility that other childcare options can’t provide. Since au pairs live with their host family, they can provide childcare before and after school, during snow or sick days, and on some weekends. Living with you leads to a sense of mutual trust, and your au pair comes to know your kids’ needs and schedules as well as you do. They truly become an extended member of the family, and these relationships often last a lifetime.

Qualifications of au pairs

The State Department requires au pairs to be high school graduates or the equivalent, and pass a screening process that includes verification of their education, a criminal background check, and a personality profile. Finally, they must provide three personal and professional references.

Family commitments

Families who host an au pair must provide a suitable private bedroom for their au pair, be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, and pass a criminal background check.

Costs vary by agency, but typically the yearly expenses are less than full-time daycare or nannies, especially when more than one child is being cared for.

Want to learn more?

Families must use one of the 14 official sponsor organizations to arrange their au pair program experience. Cultural Care Au Pair is the largest agency in the U.S. with almost 35 years of experience and offering au pairs from more than a dozen countries. It covers the Phoenix and Tucson areas, working with families and au pairs throughout Arizona.

To find out more about the program, visit culturalcare.com



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