.

Welcome an Au Pair Into Your Home; Welcome the World to Your Doorstep

Go Au Pair has added a cluster to the Northern Chicago Suburbs and Southeastern WI. Learn how hosting an Au Pair can be an amazing experience.

 

Go Au Pair has added a cluster to the Northern Chicago Suburbs and Southeastern Wisconsin. With this blog, I hope that you get to know me, my community and most of all, how hosting an Au Pair can be an amazing experience.

Our cluster is relatively new. We used to be part of the general Chicago area group of Au Pairs and Host Families. The U.S. State Department regulations require that a local representative for an Au Pair agency must be within a 60 minute drive - so,with a growing number of host families north of the city a new cluster was formed.  

What is a cluster you say? Well it is just what it sounds like. It is a group of families and their Au Pair who come together in a group. We do several get togethers throughout the year. Many are Au Pair only events which give them a chance to make new friends who have similar experiences. Still others involve the whole family. These are fun for all. Not to be missed.

Intrigued? Why not check out the Go Au Pair website.

I am sure that many people think that an Au Pair is just a nanny with a funny French name - a live-in domestic servant, meant for the rich only. That is certainly not the case.

Let's start at the beginning. The title comes from the French term au pair, which means "on a par" or "equal to". The relationship between Au Pair and host family is meant to be one of equals: the au pair is intended to become a member of the family, albeit a temporary one, rather than just live-in help.

The emphasis of the Au Pair program is on cultural exchange. The Au Pair is actually in this country on an exchange visa and not a work visa. Many families who bring an Au Pair into their home do so as a way to introduce their children to a different language and/or culture. Au Pairs become part of the family.

They live in the Host Families home, they often eat with the family, go on trips with the family etc...  There is an education component  as well. Au Pairs must complete six credit hours at an accredited school of high learning while in the USA.

What makes an Au Pair similar to a nanny is the emphasis on childcare. In exchange for room and board, an Au Pair is permitted to work 45 hours a week , but no more than 10 hours in one day caring for children.

Au Pairs do not need to have the same schedule each day and Host Families can change this regularly, provided it stays within the 45 and 10 hour limits. She (or he) can also perform light housekeeping as it applies to the care of the child. She can make their lunches and do their laundry. She can walk them to the bus and meet them on their return from school. Many Au Pairs are college educated and can help with homework or school projects. They can prepare dinner for the children and do  baths and bedtime.

But they are also allowed to have plenty of time for fun and to explore the new area in which they live. Au Pairs receive 1 and 1/2 days off each week. During that time, or any time that they are not watching children or are in school, they can take in the culture of the new country they are now living in. Concerts, museums, shopping, lunch with their friends...

Being a Host Family or Au Pair is a memorable adventure in comforts of home.

The Au Pair program is overseen by the U.S. Department of State, which has designated agencies to match families with Au Pairs. Go Au Pair currently has over 300 Au Pairs available and you can review their profiles for free. View Available Au Pairs With Go Au Pair you will experience peace of mind by working with an agency that has supported Host Families and Au Pairs for more than 20 years.

You can contact me by email at khaverkampf@goaupair.com or by phone at (847) 655-9111.

For more information about our program and local support system, stop by the Go Au Pair North Chicagoland blog or like us on Facebook

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sarah Jones May 10, 2012 at 03:42 PM
We have enjoyed many wonderful Au Pairs from multiple agencies over the years, however the intention of many of these candidates seems to have shifted. After paying for long distance phone calls to screen applicants, and the fees associated with bringing someone to our home, too often we found our Au Pairs looking for higher paying jobs once they got here. They left on short notice to work illegally for another family who didn't pay any of the fees to bring them to the US. I finally called my local IL state reps to help me out since the INS Immigration Department wasn't responsive... too many other more urgent matters to deal with than Au Pairs who break their legal contract. Host family be warned! Some come with great intentions and are willing to accept the stipend, yet others use that inroad to get to America to stay in America to work for higher wages illigally. The good ones can remain a life-long family tie... but it is hard to know who will stay the year until they arrive, get trained by the host family, work a few months to use that experience to move on for more pay. The experience can be very frustrating especially if you have two working parents who rely on that help, and then suddenly loose it. Finding a replacement means starting the process all over again.
Kristin Haverkampf May 10, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Sarah I am sorry that you did not have a great experience with your au pair. I have not run into that situation yet with the agency I work for. We encourage our host families to really take the time to skype with the au pairs before choosing them. One of the pluses of using Go Au Pair is that we do mutual match. That means that the au pair also chooses the family and really wants to be with them. I feel that significantly cuts down on the people who are trying to get lost in the system. Good luck with your childcare search.
Sarah Jones May 11, 2012 at 03:06 AM
We did extensive searches to find mutual matches with our Au Pairs, and in the first few years using these services, several stayed with us for the entire contractual year. Unfortunately, the more recent pool of applicants seem to use the Au Pair agencies to "get to America" at the host families expense... both financially and emotionally, and then there is all of the time it takes to try and find another "good match." Our family has always treated our Au Pairs with respect and appreciation, so it is unfortunate that so many have ruined the program by coming to America under fraudulent pretenses... and the Au Pair agencies do NOTHING about it! I guess it doesn't make good business sense (to the Au Pair Agency) to spend the time and money to track these people down and send them home. So, they keep coming to America!
Brad Faxton May 11, 2012 at 10:26 AM
Sarah - I'm curious which agency you used?
Kim Zilch May 22, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Sarah, I too am an LCC for Cultural Care Aupair. I can see what you are saying. However, my company is very closely monitored my the government. We have monthly contact reports to complete and submit, audits are done both on the Local Childcare Coordinator and the main headquarters. I could never imagine any of my girls (au pairs) doing something like that. Not to say it couldn't happen. I am sorry it has happened to you, and I hope you have since found childcare that works for you and your family. Kim.Zilch@lcc.culturalcare.com
Brad Faxton May 23, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Do some googles on Cultural Care.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »