Curious if you should use a designated au pair agency versus arranging an au pair or nanny directly? This is one of the most frequently asked questions of au pair agencies in the United States and here are the benefits of working with an agency!
Above all, an agency with a designation as an official J-1 Visa exchange sponsor gives you the comfort of knowing that there are rules and regulations protecting all participants, but that isn’t the only advantage of an agency. Below find 5 more reasons why au pairs and host families should choose an au pair agency.
1. Au Pair Program Costs
Direct agencies will sometimes charge a monthly fee to use their search au pair function and then require additional fees of au pairs and host families before they can communicate with one another. That is in addition to program fees once there is a match. With an au pair agency there is usually a one-time application fee charged to participants, for au pairs it covers the assistance they receive in completing their program application and for host families it allows them full access to search and interview au pairs. Our agency is dedicated to transparent pricing and we make our program fees readily available for both au pairs and host families.
2. Au Pair & Host Family Matching
Outside of an au pair agency the matching process can be impersonal, with match suggestions made by computer algorithms instead of human interaction. With our agency, participants have access to the personal guidance of a matching expert, whether it is criteria based recommendations to host families or insight into the American style of interviewing for au pairs, agencies are an invaluable resource in helping participants make the right connection.
3. 24/7 Program Support
One of the biggest differences between a direct placement and an agency is that at an agency, support doesn’t end when the placement begins. Agencies offer Area Directors, staff members who live within an hour’s drive of every placement, who are there to guide both host families and au pairs through the entire program. In addition to fostering the spirit of cultural exchange, Area Directors offer 24/7 support for any question or concerns that arise. Many of our Area Directors are host parents or former au pairs themselves, so they know the program firsthand!
4. Screening & Training
Companies that advertise direct au pair placements do have screening protocols; however an agency has the benefit of human resources and multiple check points which allow for a great deal more depth in the screening process. Host families in an agency must go through an in home interview by an Area Director, submit references, and sign a host family contract. Au Pairs must also have an in person interview, submit references and proof of childcare experience and attended mandatory au pair training in the United States. Creating a family unit with someone new is a big step and we understand that, so we do everything we can to facilitate a safe, seamless process.
5. Paperwork, Travel and Contracts
Imagine having to handle U.S. Department of State forms, foreign Embassy forms, visa appointments, flights, costs and contracts with someone you just met halfway across the world. Direct agencies can place that burden on their participants whereas at an agency we simplify the process. Once the host family and au pair have decided on a date of arrival for the au pair, the agency facilitates the rest. This means travel paperwork, logistics and contracts are managed by us. Au pairs and host families can then focus on what is most important, cultural exchange and live-in childcare!
Now that you are informed, learn why AuPairCare is the agency of choice for au pairs and host families.