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Au Pair Program in USA

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US Au Pair Program under BridgeUSA, a Department of State initiative for private sector exchange visitor programs.

The US Au Pair Program falls under BridgeUSA, used by the Department of State for the private sector Exchange Visitor Programs.

Is there an Au Pair Program in the USA?

Yes, qualified Exchange Visitors can participate in the US Au Pair Program through designated Au Pair Agencies, such as GreatAuPair USA, authorized by the US Department of State to provide au pair services to American host families.

See How the GreatAuPair USA Au Pair Program Works

GreatAuPair USA Program: Young global individuals live with American families, offering childcare under US State Department oversight.

GreatAuPair USA's Au Pair Program, backed by the US Department of State, allows global young individuals to join American families, providing childcare and cultural exchange, ensuring well-being under government oversight.

What is the Au Pair Program?

The US Department of State Au Pair Program is a cultural exchange program that allows young individuals from around the world to live with American host families and provide childcare assistance. The program is regulated and overseen by the US Department of State to ensure the well-being of both the au pairs and the host families.

Under the program, au pairs are granted a J-1 visa, which allows them to enter the United States legally and work as live-in childcare providers. The program aims to promote cultural exchange and understanding between different countries by facilitating cultural immersion and the sharing of customs and traditions.

What Are The Host Family Requirements For Au Pair Program Participation?

To participate in the program, both host families and interested au pairs must meet certain requirements. Host families must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, have a designated adult caregiver to supervise the au pair, provide a private bedroom for the au pair, and offer a weekly stipend that meets federal, state and local wage requirements. Each adult family member must also complete a comprehensive application and undergo a background check.

What Are The Requirements For Au Pair In America?

Au pairs, on the other hand, must be between the ages of 18 and 26, have a good command of the English language, hold a high school diploma or equivalent. Au pair's prior experience must include at least 1,200 hours of verifiable childcare experience and if caring for infants, at least 600 hours of prior infant care experience. Au Pairs also undergo a thorough screening process, including background checks, reference checks, evaluation for spoken English proficiency, and medical examinations, to ensure they are qualified to participate in the program.

How Does the Au Pair Program Work?

Once selected, au pairs are matched with host families based on their preferences, skills, and interests. They typically live with the host family for up to two years and provide childcare assistance for a maximum of 45 hours per week. Au pairs receive a weekly stipend, room, and board from the host family and have the opportunity to attend classes and engage in cultural activities during their free time. Each host family and au pair have a local childcare coordinator who works for the au pair agency and maintains regular contact with the au pair and the host family to ensure the placement is going well and that all Au Pair Program regulations are being met.

Throughout the program, the US Department of State monitors the compliance of both host families and au pairs with program regulations. Through designated au pair agencies, the US Department of State provides guidance, resources, and support to ensure a positive and enriching experience for all participants, while monitoring agencies to ensure ongoing compliance.

Why Does the Au Pair Program Exist?

The US Department of State Au Pair Program provides a unique opportunity for cultural exchange and childcare assistance for both host families and au pairs. It allows families to have reliable childcare while exposing their children to different cultures, languages, and perspectives. At the same time, au pairs have the chance to improve their English language skills, gain valuable childcare experience, and develop lifelong connections with their host families.

How Long Can An Au Pair Stay In The US?

An au pair can stay in the US for up to two years on an Au Pair J-1 visa upon which time, the au pair must return to their home country. After two years, if the au pair still meets the requirements, they may reapply to be an au pair again.

What Child Ages Can Au Pairs Care For?

Qualified au pairs care for infants to 18-year olds, with work hours tailored to host parents' requirements.

With appropriate au pair experience, qualified au pairs may care for infants up to 18-year olds. Au pair work and hours per week depends on the host parents' au pair requirements.

According to 22 CFR § 62.31, which governs the US Au Pair Program, au pairs are authorized to provide childcare for children who are under the age of 18. The specific age range that an au pair can care for is determined by the individual host family's needs and preferences. Some families may require assistance with infants and toddlers, while others may need help with older children. It is important for host families and au pairs to discuss and agree upon the specific age range of children that the au pair will be responsible for caring for, ensuring that it aligns with the family's requirements and the au pair's abilities and experience.

What Does an Au Pair Do?

Au pair contract entails live-in childcare as part of the exchange visitor program.

The au pair contract requires au pairs to provide live-in childcare as part of the exchange visitor program.

According to the requirements outlined in 22 CFR § 62.31, an au pair is responsible for providing live in childcare assistance to the host family. The specific duties and responsibilities of an au pair may vary depending on the individual host family's needs and the age of the children they are caring for. However, the primary role of an au pair is to ensure the well-being, safety, and development of the children in their care.

Here are some typical responsibilities that an au pair may be expected to fulfill:

  1. Childcare: Au pairs are responsible for supervising and engaging with the children, ensuring their safety and well-being at all times. This includes activities such as playing with the children, organizing age-appropriate games and educational activities, assisting with homework, and providing emotional support.

  2. Meal Preparation: Au pairs may be responsible for preparing meals and snacks for the children. This can involve planning and cooking nutritious and balanced meals, taking into account any dietary restrictions or preferences of the children or family.

  3. Transportation: Depending on the family's needs, and the au pair's driving experience, an au pair may be required to transport the children to and from school, extracurricular activities, playdates, or other appointments. This may involve driving the family's vehicle or accompanying the children on public transportation.

  4. Light Housekeeping: While the primary focus is on childcare, au pairs may be expected to perform light housekeeping tasks directly related to the children. This can include tidying up their play areas, doing their laundry, and keeping their bedrooms and common areas clean and organized.

  5. Cultural Exchange: One of the key objectives of the au pair program is to promote cultural exchange. Au pairs are encouraged to share their language, customs, and traditions with the host family and children. This can involve engaging in activities that showcase their culture, teaching the children phrases in their native language, or participating in cultural events together.

It is important for host families and au pairs to have open communication and discuss expectations regarding the specific tasks and responsibilities involved. By having a clear understanding of the duties required, both parties can work together to create a positive and harmonious au pair experience that benefits the children and enhances cultural exchange.

Do Au Pairs Cook and Clean?

Au pair arrangements often include cooking and cleaning, especially related to childcare.

You au pair arrangements may differ, but the au pair concept includes cooking and cleaning related to the kids.

Yes, as it relates to the children. Au pairs may be in charge of cooking meals and snacks for the kids. This might include planning and preparing nutritious and balanced meals while keeping any dietary restrictions or preferences of the children or family in mind. Light housekeeping duties involving the children may be required of au pairs. This might involve cleaning up the children's play spaces, washing their laundry, and maintaining a clean and orderly environment in their bedrooms and common areas.

Do Au Pairs Need Their Own Room?

According to the regulations outlined in the US Au Pair Program, it is a requirement for host families to provide au pairs with their own private bedroom. A private room means that au pairs should have a designated space within the host family's home that is exclusively for their use. Providing an au pair with their own room is important for their comfort, privacy, and well-being during their stay.

Having a private bedroom allows au pairs to have a space where they can relax, unwind, and have personal time when they are off-duty. It also provides them with a sense of privacy and autonomy within the host family's home. Having a dedicated room helps to ensure that the au pair has a comfortable and secure living environment during their time with the host family.

In addition to a private bedroom, it is also important for host families to provide au pairs with appropriate amenities, such as access to bathroom facilities, storage space for their belongings, and a comfortable bed.

Can Au Pairs Babysit?

Yes, au pairs can babysit for their host family (but not others) as part of their responsibilities. Child care or "babysitting" is typically included in the duties of an au pair, as they are responsible for providing child care assistance to the host family. However, it is important to note that the primary purpose of the au pair program is not solely for babysitting services, but rather for cultural exchange and providing live-in childcare support.

Au pairs are generally expected to provide regular childcare during specified hours as agreed upon with the host family. This may include daytime care, after-school care, or occasional evenings and weekends. The specific babysitting schedule and expectations should be discussed and agreed upon between the host family and the au pair prior to their arrival.

It is important for host families and au pairs to have clear communication and mutual understanding regarding the hours and expectations for babysitting. Host families should provide the au pair with a schedule outlining when they will need babysitting services, including any additional compensation or specific requirements for those times.

Can Au Pairs Look After Infants and Babies?

Yes, properly qualified and trained au pairs may provide infant and baby care as part of their childcare responsibilities. However, it is important to note that caring for infants and babies requires a high level of skill, experience, and attention to detail.

When selecting an au pair to care for infants and babies, it is recommended that host families consider candidates who have previous experience and training specifically in infant and baby care. Au pairs who have experience with this age group can bring valuable knowledge and expertise in handling their unique needs, such as feeding, diaper changing, soothing, and ensuring their safety.

Host families should communicate their specific requirements and expectations regarding infant and baby care during the matching process. This includes discussing the feeding schedule, nap times, hygiene practices, and any other specific instructions related to the care of the infant or baby.

It is also important for host families to provide proper guidance and support to au pairs who will be caring for infants and babies. This may involve demonstrating proper handling techniques, discussing safety precautions, and providing information on any specific health concerns or medical conditions related to the child.

Additionally, host families may want to consider discussing the au pair's comfort level and experience with infants and babies during the interview process. This will help ensure that the au pair has the necessary skills and confidence to provide quality care for the youngest members of the family.

Can Au Pairs Provide Special Needs Care?

Trained au pairs offer specialized care for young people with special needs, fostering experience and growth.

Young people with special needs can receive specialized care from trained and experienced au pairs. Au pairing for a special needs young person is an opportunity for greater experience and personal growth. Such care may be subject to additional agency fees.

Yes, au pairs can provide special needs care depending on their qualifications, au pair experience, and comfort level. Some au pairs from the European Union have experience or training in caring for children with special needs and can offer valuable support to families in need of such care.

If you are a host family with special needs children, it's important to clearly communicate your specific requirements and expectations during the matching process. This includes providing detailed information about the child's condition, any specific medical or therapeutic needs, and any additional training or certifications that may be required.

Host families should also consider discussing the au pair's previous experience with special needs care and their comfort level in handling specific challenges or situations. This can help ensure a good match between the au pair's skills and the family's needs.

It is important to note that while au pairs can provide live in childcare for children with special needs, they are not trained medical professionals or therapists. They can provide support with daily activities, personal care, and general supervision, but they may not have the same level of expertise as specialized healthcare professionals.

Host families may need to provide additional training or guidance to the au pair to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to care for a child with special needs. This can involve sharing specific care plans, demonstrating techniques, and discussing any safety considerations.

How Do I Get An Au Pair In The USA?

Eligible au pairs are available through sponsoring au pair agencies like GreatAuPair USA that recruit, screen, vet and train their au pairs for participation in the US Au Pair Program. As a US Department of State Au Pair Program sponsor, GreatAuPair USA is able to issue the form DS-2019 to qualified au pairs who may then arrange for a consular interview. If accepted, the au pair will receive a non-immigrant Au Pair J-1 visa good for one year, extendable for a second year. The au pair agency will arrange and manage the travel and logistics of the au pair's arrival to your home city and provide the au pair with healthcare coverage and local support.

What is Au Pair 2-Year Rule?

An au pair may request a visa extension for a second year either with their existing host family or with a new host family but they cannot change au pair agencies during this time. After the completion of the au pair's second year, they must return to their home country and wait two years before reapplying to the au pair program through one of the sponsoring au pair agencies. The au pair must still meet all requirements during the reapplication period.

What if My Au Pair Quits?

If your au pair quits before the agreed-upon end of their contract, it can be an unexpected and challenging situation for a host family. However, there are steps you can take to handle this situation:

  1. Communicate and mediate: It is important to have an open and honest conversation with the au pair to understand their reasons for wanting to quit. This can help you gain insight into any concerns or issues they may have and determine if there is a possibility of resolving them.

  2. Review the Contract: Consult your host family agreement and program guidelines to understand the terms and conditions regarding early termination. The contract may specify notice periods or other procedures to follow in case of early termination.

  3. Contact the Au Pair Agency: If you have engaged the services of an au pair agency, reach out to them and inform them about the situation. They can provide guidance and support in handling the transition and may be able to assist with finding a replacement au pair.

  4. Make Alternate Arrangements: While finding a new au pair may take some time, you will need to make alternate arrangements for childcare during the transition period. This can include utilizing temporary childcare services, seeking help from friends or family members, or exploring other childcare options on the GreatAuPair website.

  5. Maintain Open Communication: Stay in touch with the au pair agency and keep them updated on your situation. They may be able to expedite the process of finding a replacement au pair and provide assistance in managing the transition.

  6. Assess Future Options: Consider your future childcare needs and reflect on the reasons behind your au pair's departure and determine if any adjustments or changes need to be made in order to ensure a more successful match with a new au pair.

While it can be inconvenient and disruptive when an au pair quits, it is important to remain flexible and adaptable. By staying proactive and seeking assistance from the au pair agency, you can navigate this situation and find a suitable replacement for your family's live in childcare needs.

What are Au Pair Care Requirements?

Au pairs undergo screening and background checks for live-in care and child development, receiving a minimum stipend.

As a young person interested in child development, and cultural exchange, au pairs go through a screening process and receive a criminal background check covered by agency fees. Au pairs live with their host family to provide live in care and child development and the au pair receives at least the federal minimum au pair stipend.

In order to be considered for the US Au Pair Program, in compliance with the US Department of State, our au pairs are required to:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 26 years old

  • Be a non-US citizen and live in a country serviced by GreatAuPair

  • Love children and have at least 1,200 hours of experience caring for them

  • Have at least 600 hours of verifiable experience caring for children under the age of two (if the au pair will be working with kids under the age of two)

  • Speak English proficiently

  • Have no criminal background

  • Have completed secondary school

  • Have a valid driver's license

  • Be in good health

  • Be a non-smoker

  • Be willing to come to the US for at least one year

  • Successfully complete the 32+ hour GreatAuPair Training Academy prior to arrival

Hosting an Au Pair through the Official Au Pair Program: A Cultural Exchange

Families enjoy a flexible schedule with au pairs, fostering cultural discovery between au pairs and host children.

Many families enjoy the flexible schedule while the au pair and host children discover unique aspects of a new culture.

Hosting an au pair through au pair programs is a unique cultural exchange experience that benefits both au pairs and host families. This concept brings together young people from different parts of the world, allowing them to live in a foreign country, immerse themselves in the host country's culture, and contribute to the daily life of their American host family. Let's explore how the program works for both au pair and host family, the responsibilities of au pairs, and the many advantages it offers.

How the Official Au Pair Program Works

The official au pair program is facilitated through authorized au pair agencies, which act as intermediaries between prospective au pairs and host families. These agencies play a crucial role in matching suitable au pairs with American families. The program is regulated and overseen by the U.S. Department of State to ensure the well-being of both the au pairs and the host families. GreatAuPair performs a criminal background check on both the au pair and the host family before supporting them to find their perfect match.

Au Pair Arrives in the Host Country

Upon the au pair and host family establishing a perfect match, your au pair arrives in the host country. Au pairs live with their host family. The au pair's role is to provide live in childcare assistance for your family, typically for up to 45 hours per week. The program promotes cultural exchange and understanding by facilitating cultural immersion and the sharing of customs and traditions. The au pair will receive pocket money and two weeks of paid vacation. Refer to Au Pair Costs for details on the weekly rate paid for pocket money.

Au Pair's Responsibilities

Non EduCare participants—au pairs participating in the official au pair program—have specific responsibilities. They provide childcare, assist with light housework related to the children, and sometimes even offer educational support. While their primary role is to ensure the well-being, safety, and development of the children in their care, they also become an integral part of the host family's everyday life.

Program Duration and Flexibility

The official au pair program typically lasts for one year, but it can extend to two years in some cases. During their stay, au pairs have the opportunity to engage in after-school activities, attend a language course, and successfully complete the required academic course work. This combination of childcare and cultural activities creates a rich and diverse experience for both au pairs and host families.

Benefits for Both Au Pairs and Host Families

For au pairs, the official au pair program offers a chance to live in a foreign country, learn a new language, and gain valuable childcare experience. They also have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the host family's culture and create lifelong connections.

Au pairs receive a minimum stipend as pocket money, two weeks paid vacation, and academic credit as au pairs must have successfully completed their language course.

Host families benefit by having a reliable childcare provider who can expose their children to different cultures, languages, and perspectives. The program allows for flexible working hours, enabling parents to balance their work and family life more effectively.

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