- access our pool of au pairs (see article “3 Ways To Match”)
- benefit from our matching service with a dedicated placement manager and myself
- reserve up to 3-4 au pairs you are interested in
- schedule phone interviews and correspond with selected au pairs
- final with your au pair match after at least 2 phone interviews
Note: after you apply, there is no obligation to final with an au pair if you are unable to find the correct match at the time or if your situation changes in the meantime. Your application can be put on hold and reactivated up to 1 year from your application date.
Once you have selected your au pair, you and your family can begin to get excited for her/his arrival. The following are the required next steps as well as some suggestions for how to prepare for your au pair’s arrival. Required preparations include the following:
- Complete application paperwork
- Schedule an In-home interview with your local childcare coordinator
Suggested steps to prepare for your au pair include:
- Additional phone calls or emails
- Welcome letter
- Au pair room preparation
Complete application paperwork
Consistent with U.S. Department of State regulations, Cultural Care Au Pair requires host families to submit a complete application, including all references and agreement forms, before an au pair can travel to the home. A complete host family application, including pictures and a letter, not only gives your au pair a preview of life with your family, but it can also assist the au pair in obtaining her/his visa. Consular officers at U.S. embassies may ask the au pair about the family she/he will be joining in the U.S., and they may request to review the host family application.
You will also be required to participate in an in-home interview with your Local Childcare Coordinator (LCC) prior to your au pair’s arrival. This interview must occur each year you welcome an au pair into your home, and all people living in the home must be present for the interview. Your LCC will ask you to sign and date the interview form, which will be submitted to Cultural Care Au Pair’s Boston office for review. Host families also have an opportunity to ask any questions they may have about the program.
The in-home interview, conducted by your LCC, will include:
- Discussion of current host family situation and any anticipated changes
- A tour of the home and the au pair’s bedroom
- Review of the U.S. Department of State regulations
- Discussion of car use expectations
- Cultural awareness information
Additional phone calls or emails
We suggest a follow-up calls, Skype chatting/ video-conferencing, or email after your au pair has received your family’s application and has had time to think of some questions. Typical questions your au pair may have include: “What types of clothing should I bring? Is the schedule for the summer going to be different than during the school year?” The au pairs can be so excited during the initial call that they may forget to ask these questions.
As soon as you have confirmed your choice of au pair, you should send her/him a welcome letter or email. Correspondence will help put your au pair and her/his family at ease about the approaching year. Your au pair will read the “family essay” that is part of your application packet, but this letter can be much more personal. You can include maps of your area, a catalog from local colleges and anything else that will help introduce your au pair to the community. Our experience has shown that the more contact you have with your au pair before her/his arrival, the more comfortable the initial stages of her/his stay will be.
Au pair room preparation
Before the arrival day, you will want to make sure your au pair’s room is ready and welcoming. The room should have a bed, a dresser and a closet. A small television, telephone and bulletin board are optional amenities. Small gestures will go a long way in making your au pair feel at home. Flowers, balloons, brochures describing local attractions and a welcome sign on the door will be appreciated (have the kids participate in drawing a welcome banner if they are old enough). You could also put a few photos from your au pair’s application in frames around the room. Imagine your au pair’s surprise to arrive and see some familiar faces! If you know your au pair’s favorite food, you might want to prepare a special welcome dinner.
Making your au pair feel welcome and ensuring great communication before her arrival will ensure a smooth transition into your home, as you will all feel like you already know each other and what to expect.
And remember… “There is only one opportunity to make a first impression.”