‘Tis the season…to find your Au Pair. While au pair agencies welcome new families and au pairs year round, the majority begin their search between February and June to welcome au pairs between June and September. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing an agency and hosting an au pair. Below is a comparison of the three largest au pair agencies in Charlottesville. While I represent Cultural Care Au Pair, I have hosted three years with Au Pair in America, and know other au pairs and families that currently host with Au Pair Care. Below, you will find a bullet comparison of the largest agencies that currently service the Charlottesville area.
Cultural Care Au Pair
- 2016 fees: $75 registration fee that is often waived, $300 processing fee, $8495 agency fee, $195.75 stipend paid weekly to au pair x 51 weeks (actual 49 weeks of childcare as two weeks are paid vacation), $500 stipend paid towards the au pair’s education requirement for a program TOTAL=19,278.25
- Cultural Care Au Pair is a division of Education First. What is Education First, you ask? Educational First is the world’s largest educational organization that was founded over 50 years ago in Sweden. It now has presence in 112 countries.
- Cultural Care Au Pair/Education First uses its own company to screen potential au pairs. No other agency does this entirely. Most agencies solely rely on third party screening of it’s au pair candidates. CCAP has an office in each recruitment country with full time staff.
- Cultural Care Au Pair was established in 1989.
- Cultural Care’s matching process assigns each host family a placement manager (matching expert) and allows host families to search and select au pair candidates using their online tool. Unlike other au pair agencies, CCAP allows host families to exclusively hold au pair candidates for a limited amount of time before releasing them for other host families to interview.
- Cultural Care Au Pair does not charge “extra” for au pairs that have completed post-secondary education or for au pairs that have additional training with infants or children with special needs.
- Cultural Care Au Pair values its host families and rewards them by offering the largest discount of any au pair agency for renewing with the program…$1,125 discount for welcoming a new au pair. For other discounts see here.
- Cultural Care Au Pair medically insures their au pairs via Aetna student health. Aetna student health is widely accepted in the Charlottesville area
- Cultural Care Au Pair currently has two local childcare consultants serving the Charlottesville area and approximately 20 au pairs and families. Both LCCs are host parents to au pairs and one is a former au pair!
Au Pair In America
- 2016 fees: $425 processing fee, $8495 agency fee, $195.75 stipend paid weekly to Au Pair x 51 weeks (actual 49 weeks of childcare as two weeks are paid vacation), $500 stipend paid towards Au Pair’s education TOTAL=$19,403.25 + $35 SEVIS fee (Extraordinaire=23,295, Educare=$16,397.31)
- Au Pair in America is a division of the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS), a leader in the educational and cultural exchange arena with more than 50,000 participants each year.
- APIA was the first au pair agency in the United States in 1986.
- Au Pair in America offers three programs to host families to meet different needs:
- Extraordinaire is a program of choice for families who seek au pairs who have a formal educational child care degree or two years full-time experience
- Au Pair is a program comparable to other agencies that offers families up to 45 hours of flexible childcare
- Educare is a program of choice for families that need 30 hours or less of childcare per week, these Au Pairs must complete 12 credit hours of education instead of the usual 6 credit hours per year (educational stipend increases to $1000 for host families)
- Au Pair in America screens approximately 20% of their au pairs through AIFS offices while the remaining au pair candidates are screened through third party agents charging a commission.
- Au Pair in America’s matching process allows three host families to interview one au pair at a time. Au pairs are not exclusively held by one family.
- Au Pair in America is the only au pair agency in the country that offers a “pilot” online post-secondary education course accredited through UCLA. The cost is $500 and the au pair completes her 6 credit education requirement online. It is the only online program allowed by the Department of State.
- Au Pair in America medically insures their au pairs through Cisi travel insurance which has very limited coverage in the Charlottesville area.
- Au Pair in America rewards their repeat host families with a cost savings of $425 if they repeat with the program. For other discounts see here.
- Au Pair in America has one community counselor serving the Charlottesville area and approximately 15 au pairs and families.
Au Pair Care
- 2016 fees: $50 processing fee, $8150 agency fee, $195.75 stipend paid weekly to Au Pair x 51 weeks (actual 49 weeks of childcare as two weeks are paid vacation), $500 stipend towards Au Pair’s education requirement Total=$18,683.25 + $35 SEVIS fee (However, if you have children 0-24 months of age you will need to add an additional $950).
- Au Pair Care is part of Intrax, a globally-oriented company that provides educational and work programs that connect people and cultures.
- AuPairCare was established in 1989.
- 100% of Au Pair Care’s au pair candidates are screened through third party agents earning a commission.
- Au Pair Care charges an additional $950 for infant qualified au pairs (for host families with a child/children under the age of 2 years).
- Au Pair Care’s matching process gives host families access to their “family room” (online tool) to search entire au pair candidate pool. Matching expert is assigned to the host family to assist with the matching process.
- Au Pair Care medically insures their au pairs through First Health Network, which has limited coverage in the Charlottesville area.
- Au Pair Care values their repeat families and offers $800 discount for families that chose to welcome a new au pair with their agency. For other discounts see here.
- Au Pair Care has one representative in Charlottesville and currently serves 14 au pairs and families.
There are other expenses to consider when hosting an au pair no matter what agency you choose. These include private room and board, domestic transportation fee (cost of transportation from the training school to your home), and car insurance (if your au pair will drive your vehicle). Other costs might include phone and/or phone plan (to be able to contact you), gifts (birthday, holidays, etc.) and additional vacation costs if your au pair vacations with your family.
No matter what agency you choose to host your au pair, the benefits of having an au pair far outweigh the costs. So, will you be getting an au pair this season?
For more information about hosting an au pair, contact me or visit my Cultural Care Au Pair website.