Host Parent Clients of Au Pair In America received a distressing letter from the Agency this week, sharing information about the ongoing legal action against all 15 of the approved Au Pair Agencies in the USA. The letter updates parents on the current ...

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"AuPairMom" - 5 new articles

  1. Latest Salvo in Campaign to Shut Down USA’s Au Pair Program
  2. With Au Pair-Host Parent Problems, It’s Never Just One Thing …
  3. The Worst Thing an Au Pair Can Overhear
  4. Counting On-Duty Au Pair Hours When You’re In A Car or Plane
  5. Any New Advice About International Travel During an Au Pair’s Extension Year?
  6. More Recent Articles

Latest Salvo in Campaign to Shut Down USA’s Au Pair Program

Host Parent Clients of Au Pair In America received a distressing letter from the Agency this week, sharing information about the ongoing legal action against all 15 of the approved Au Pair Agencies in the USA.

The letter updates parents on the current status of the suit filed by lawyers from Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP, and alerts us to a few key issues:

Highlights from the letter include:

  • The federal court has ordered all 15 agencies to provide host families’ names and contact information to plaintiffs’ attorneys by March 31, 2017;
  • Au Pair in America (and other Agencies) fought to keep our family information private, but they lost this motion.
  • The plaintiffs’ attorneys intend to survey host families and/or to communicate with host families using telephone, email, and other methods.
  • If contacted, you are not obligated to respond to plaintiffs’ attorneys.
  • Plaintiffs’ attorneys are obligated to tell you that they are working for clients who are working against the Au Pair Agencies.

2889437201_71a56cd11a_mAs it stands now, there is the possibility that each and every host family active in the Au Pair Program between 2009 and 2014 will be solicited to share feedback on how they followed the US State Department guidelines while they had an Au Pair in their family.

I appreciate that APIA has taken the proactive step of alerting families about what’s coming. With a little advance warning, each of our families can consider whether or not we want to...

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With Au Pair-Host Parent Problems, It’s Never Just One Thing …

It’s usually a bunch of things, all tangled up in a knot, like when you put tights and long-sleeved T-shirts in the dryer.

Just as with a laundry knot, you can’t just pull on (or fix) one thing, and expect the all the little pieces to unlock, unkink, and fold themselves up into nice packets ready to go back in the drawer.tangled clothes

… So how do you decide where to begin? What problems to address first?

My working response is — start with the problem that has the clearest boundaries.

Usually, this would be the one where either the Host Family or the Au Pair was breaking or pushing the rules.

It’s easier to deal with “rule breaking” and its less black& while cousin, “rule-pushing” because we know what’s wrong and what’s right. Usually, the fix to this is for the Host Parents or the Au Pair to simply follow the rules.

If the Au Pair or the Host Parent doesn’t begin to follow the rules, you have grounds for a rematch.

If folks do begin to follow the rules, both parties have a “success” they can build on with the next problem or two.

This question of “where to begin” came up when I read the email, below, from an Au Pair in the southwest USA.

She’s got a bunch of problems — depression, homesickness, children who hit, parents who don’t seem to have her back, and on and on.

With emails like these, it’s really hard to know what kind of help to offer.

...

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The Worst Thing an Au Pair Can Overhear

Quick — what’s the worst thing your au pair could ever overhear?

You telling your Host Parent partner how much the Au Pair bothers you?

Some kind of grumpy food-related complaint you should be too adult to even have?

You announcing that  you’ve tucked a speed tracker into the Au Pair car, so now you’ll have proof?

Or, how about …  never mind.

There is really no way to introduce this TOTALLY CRINGE INDUCING topic.

342834523_a649d83821_mExcept to say, from a Host Parent’s perspective, this might be a nice problem to have :-)

Here’s the Au Pair’s email:

Dear Au Pair Mom — 

First of all let me say that I love your blog. I’m an Au Pair and your posts and all the commenters’ advice have helped me see a lot of things from my Host Parents’ perspective.

My host parents have been wonderful so far and I love taking care of their baby.

I am their first Au Pair and this is their first baby (them being my first host family) so everything is pretty new to us!

About a month ago, the baby started sleeping in the baby’s own room as opposed to the parents’ bedroom. Ever since, I can hear my host parents having intercourse. Their bedroom is right above mine and the walls are thin so I can hear them pretty clearly.  They’re really loud and it’s making it hard for me to sleep at night, not to mention awkward to face them in the mornings.

At first I noticed this only happened during date...

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Counting On-Duty Au Pair Hours When You’re In A Car or Plane

How does your family handle the Au Pair’s time spent with the family over a long car or plane trip?

Formally and officially, we are supposed to count all of this time as “on duty” hours.  

342704965_cd13b82918_mBut, if you have a long haul to get to your vacation destination, you can use up a whole lot of hours — so many that it might hardly seem worth it to bring your au pair along. And, if your Au Pair is off sitting in another row, watching a movie, it’s hard to feel like that’s really “work”, especially if s/he will be having some off duty days in your vacation destination.

This is one place where, I’ll admit, I’ve stretched the rules. I’ve counted the hours in the car or plane at a reduced rate.

(For example, I’ve taken the 7 hours from our house to Granny’s as 4 or 4.5 hours on duty, and counted the 5 hours on a plane as 3 hours.  I do not discount the time spent hanging in the airport, because I’ve always needed our au pair to watch kids while I went to the bathroom, got coffee, wrangled the luggage, etc.)

My logic here is:

  • The Au Pair is stuck in the car/plane with you and the kids and can’t be free, so technically s/he’s working.
  • But if the kids are sleeping/watching a movie/being cared for by you, s/he’s not full time working either.  S/he’s free to watch a movie, nap, and relax.  S/he’s just stuck in the conveyance with us.

In all cases, I’ve discussed this with...

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Any New Advice About International Travel During an Au Pair’s Extension Year?

There are some things I would never test.

—  Whether the rope bridge across the gorge could hold me.

— Whether that snake was was harmless.

19190121422_e25c2f7a68_mOr whether I could get my extension Au Pair back into the US after taking her with us on an international trip.

With Federal Agents inspecting documents of passengers deplaning in LA after just flying across the USA ,  even travel, with documents, that’s perfectly legal seems a little too risky.

In our current situation, with heightened attention (and animosity) towards non-citizens, and with Federal Agents both unclear about what to do and going overboard doing things they aren’t authorized to do (like unnecessarily detaining Mem Fox!) I’d recommend leaving your Au Pair in the U.S. of A. until you and s/he are sure they are ready to go.

Traveling Host Mom writes to check if there is any “updated” information about traveling abroad with an extension Au Pair:

I was wondering from the community if anyone has ever taken their Au Pair out of the country during the au pair’s 2nd year?

Here’s the specific situation:

We would like to travel to Mexico for spring break and take our Au pair with us, but since she’s in her extension year, her visa is expired. Although she does have the valid DS2019 extension form, I’m not sure that will be sufficient for her to gain admittance back into the US.

We have reached out to our agency (APIA) who only provided us a link to a page on their...

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