by goAUPAIR 6. April 2010 02:32

When necessity calls for both parents to work, the first question that rises is, “What about the kids?” Today, there are many child care alternatives. Flexible schedules, quality and qualifications of care providers, and of course, price are some of the points to consider when choosing between all options.

Some popular child care options are nannies or babysitters. They are typically residents (legal or illegal) of the U.S. and are usually hired by word of mouth, nanny agencies and job boards. Although many of them have years of experience, they are not required to have any specific qualifications.

Au Pairs are young adults who come to the U.S. to live with a family while providing 45 hours of child care each week. Au Pairs initially come for one year, but can extend for a second. All Au Pairs speak English and complete an extensive application process which includes references, interviews, physician’s report, criminal background check and psychometric tests.

As part of our ongoing effort to improve customer service to our Host Families and Au Pairs, all of our Host Families have the option of having their Au Pair attend our live training held in New York. The training content is designed to help Au Pairs provide the best child care while having a successful year with their Host Family. Some of the topics covered in our live trainings include first aid, child activities ideas, common meals, driving tips, international calls and cell phone use, homesickness and culture shock.

Another benefit of hosting an Au Pair is that during the placement process our Host Families have the assistance of our dedicated Placement Coordinators who will review in detail, the preferences and qualifications of the Au Pairs for which you are looking. goAUPAIR developed the Mutual Match system based on our 20 years of experience to help Host Families find the best possible Au Pair for their unique needs. All Au Pairs participating in the goAUPAIR’s Au Pair program are required to complete a full application and screening which includes the following:
    * In-person interview
    * 2 child care references
    * 1 character reference
    * Physician’s report
    * Letter to potential Host Families
    * Clean criminal background check
    * Psychometric test
    * Personality test
    * High School graduate or equivalent
    * 32 hours of training on safety and child development
    * Pictures

Because of all the advantages Au Pairs have over other child care options, there is a misconception that they are not affordable for every family. The truth is that a weekly cost of having an Au Pair is less than most child care options. According to the National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies, child care providers charge on average $9.10/hr, the average cost of hosting an Au Pair’s is only $7.58/hr.

Hiring an Au Pair instead of a nanny or babysitter, gives young adults from foreign countries the opportunity to travel to the United States in order to work, study, and learn about a culture different from their own.  In addition, the Host Family is treated to the type of personal child care they are looking for. Host Families and children are given the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and learn about other cultures and learn a new language.

For more information please visit the New York Family Guide and our goAUPAIR.com.

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