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Frequently Asked Questions
The Au Pair Program is an educational and cultural exchange program with a child care component. Au Pairs come to the United States for one year to provide up to 45 hours of child care per week for their host family while pursuing educational credits. Sponsoring organizations in the U.S. have the responsibility for administering the program, within the regulations set by the Department of State (DOS). Although DOS authorizes these sponsoring organizations to conduct Au Pair programs, the responsibility for choosing the right organization rests solely with the host family and the Au Pair.
CHI carries out the day-to-day operation of the Au Pair program. We identify, screen, select, and match Au Pairs and host families. We ensure that background investigations, including criminal history checks, are performed on Au Pairs, and that host parents
have adequate financial resources to participate in the program. CHI staff interview Au Pairs for spoken English proficiency and suitability to participate in the program. We also interview host parents to ensure spoken English fluency and suitability to communicate with an international visitor. CHI provides Au Pairs with a detailed profile of the host family and community into which they will be placed, as well as the educational institutions available in the community. We ensure that Au Pairs have all the training required by DOS and must monitor the Au Pair / host family relationship throughout the year. We maintain monthly
contact, through local and regional counselors, with Au Pairs and host families to ensure compliance with the program.
Local and Regional Administrators maintain ongoing contact with, and support, Au Pairs and host families. They are required to report to CHI any unusual or serious incidents involving Au Pairs or host families. Any incidents involving or alleging a crime of moral turpitude or violence are immediately to be relayed by CHI to DOS. Moral turpitude is defined to include, but is not limited to, acts of theft, sexual misconduct, and child abuse.
Yes. Sponsoring organizations must annually submit to DOS copies of their advertisement and recruitment materials. We must submit summaries of the annual survey we conduct of host families and Au Pairs, all complaints received and their resolutions,
and all situations that result in the placement of an Au Pair with more than one host family. We are audited annually to ensure compliance with the procedures and reporting requirements set forth in the DOS’ regulations.
Au Pairs are required to enroll in an accredited post-secondary institution for not less than six semester hours of academic credit or its equivalent. Its equivalent would include the recognized trimester or quarter hours. Two-year community colleges are eligible institutions.
As a condition for American families to host an exchange visitor under the Au Pair program they must agree to (1) facilitate the enrollment and attendance in an American ‘post-secondary’ educational institution (2) ensure that the Au Pair has adequate transportation to attend and (3) pay the first $500 toward the costs of required academic course work. Any additional costs associated with acquiring the six academic credits are to be absorbed by the Au Pair.
The Au Pair program is worldwide; Au Pairs can be from any foreign country except those with which the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations.
Au Pairs must be proficient in spoken English and have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Host families are to interview prospective Au Pairs by telephone or Skype, before they leave home, prior to accepting the candidate as their Au Pair. Before being placed with a host family, Au Pairs must receive at least 8 hours of child safety training and 24 hours of child development instruction. At least 4 hours of the child safety training will be infant related and at least 4 hours of the child development instruction will be devoted to the care of children under 2 years of age. The child safety training, provided by CHI, includes topics such as stress management, shaken baby syndrome, and CPR. Au Pairs responsible for children under 2 years of age must have at least 200 hours of documented infant child care experience. Au Pairs may not be placed with a family having a child less than three months of age unless a parent or other responsible adult is present in the home. Au Pairs will NOT have specialized training in nursing. They are NOT to provide child care services related to the care and protection of infants and children performed by such trained personnel, as registered or practical nurses.
Costs include program fees to CHI, a weekly stipend to the Au Pair, an educational allowance, and room/board.
Au Pairs are entitled to a private bedroom, meals, a weekly stipend, one and one-half days off each week, a full weekend off each month, two weeks of paid vacation, and the first $500 toward the cost of the required academic course work.
Host families are entitled to a maximum of 10 hours a day / 45 hours a week of child care, and they have the benefit of someone from another culture living in their home.
Either a parent or responsible adult must be present in the home for the first three days that the Au Pair is with the host family, which may include a weekend. The host family and Au Pair must attend at least one of their family day events during the Au Pair’s stay. There must be a signed written agreement between the host family and the Au Pair outlining the obligations of both parties. In addition, CHI generally requires the host family and the Au Pair to sign written an agreement that outlines the obligations of each party to CHI.
Au Pairs may stay with their host families in the U.S. for one year. After that time they are required to either return to their home country or extend for six, nine or twelve months. The Au Pair arrangements cannot be extended beyond two years.
CHI has Community and Regional Administrators who are available to help and counsel one or both the host family and Au Pair. You can contact CHI at any time for assistance.
Both the host family and the Au Pair have options if they are not happy with their placement. Since the terms of these options may vary from one to another, it is suggested that you check your contract with CHI for specific information on cancellation conditions or talk with us directly.