Through the Au Pair program foreign nationals between 18 and 26 years of age participate directly in the home life of a host family by providing limited childcare services for up to 12 months. Childcare is limited to no more than 10 hours per day, and to a maximum of 45 hours per week.
Au pairs are compensated for their work according to the Fair Labor Standards Act as interpreted and implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor. Participants in the Au Pair program must be proficient in spoken English, and are required to complete at least six hours of academic credit or its equivalent at an accredited U.S. post-secondary educational institution. Host families are required to pay up to $500 toward the cost of the au pair’s required academic course work.
Au pair participants may not be placed with a family having an infant aged less than three months unless a parent or other responsible adult is at home. Neither may au pairs be placed in homes with children under two years of age unless the au pair has at least 200 hours of documented infant childcare experience. Au pairs are not to be placed in families with a special needs child, so identified by the family, unless the au pair has specifically identified prior experience, skill, or training in caring for special needs children and the host family has reviewed and acknowledged the stated prior experience, skills, or training in writing. Please refer to the regulations for details.
Sponsors are required to screen and select both host families and au pairs as program participants according to selection criteria stated in the regulations. Interested parties should contact the sponsoring organizations directly to obtain additional information regarding their program. All au pairs are to receive specific orientation and program information from the sponsor prior to departure from their home countries for the United States. Please refer to the regulations for details. Pre-arrival information for all exchange visitors is defined at 22 CFR 62.10(b)(1-8) and specifically for au pairs at 22 CFR 62.31(f). Orientation material (post-arrival) is defined at 22 CFR 62.10(c)(1-7). Selected host families also receive specific information from the sponsor. Orientation for host families is discussed in the regulations at 22 CFR 62.31(i)(1-4).
The sponsor is to provide au pairs with training in child development and child safety prior to their placement with a host family. A minimum of eight hours of child safety instruction, of which at least four relate to infants, and a minimum of 24 hours of child development instruction, of which at least four relate to children under two years of age, are required.
Host families and au pairs must sign a Host Family-Au Pair Agreements prior to the au pair’s placement in the host family’s home. In the event of questions regarding refunds or other adjustments host families and au pairs should refer to their agreements. The Department of State does not have jurisdiction over contractual obligations.
The Au Pair program includes the EduCare component. The EduCare component is only for families who have school-aged children and require childcare before and after school hours. Accordingly, au pairs participating in the EduCare component may not be placed with families having preschool children, unless alternative, full-time arrangements are in place for their supervision. The EduCare au pair may work no more than 10 hours per day, and a maximum of 30 hours per week. Au pairs participating in the EduCare component receive 75 percent of the weekly rate paid to au pairs. EduCare au pairs must complete a minimum of 12 hours of academic credit or its equivalent during the program year. The host family is required to provide (up to) the first $1,000 toward the cost of the au pair’s required academic course work. Please refer to the regulations for details.
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