In the mid-80’s, women were entering the work force in record numbers and were in need of quality live-in child care. At the same time, young people from abroad were eager to come to the U.S. to learn more about American culture and customs. People were becoming more globally aware.
In response to this changing landscape, we proposed a new type of cultural exchange program - one for child care - to the U.S. Department of State. The goal was to bring carefully screened young people to the U.S. to live with families and assist with child care, while also participating in a culture and education program. These young adults would attend a three-day training orientation including a child care safety course upon arriving in the States and would be supervised by local Community Counselors while staying with an American family for one year. It was an enhanced version of the traditional European Au Pair concept.read article »
In February of 1986, the State Department granted us a “test program” and that summer we brought our first 200 au pairs over from Western Europe. The program was an instant success and was featured on Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and hundreds of other local publications in the pre-internet age.
Over the years that followed, we worked closely with the State Department to enhance and expand the program worldwide giving families more choices to fit their unique lifestyles. Along with offering au pairs from more than 60 countries, au pairs can now stay with their U.S. family for a second year, allowing for greater child care continuity. We also created the specialized EduCare and Au Pair Extraordinaire programs giving families even more options.read article »
Au Pair in America’s track record was so strong that it was instrumental in Congress and President Clinton’s decision to make the au pair program permanent in 1994.
Since that time, we continue to innovate and strengthen our program to provide more opportunities for both au pairs and families. Being the first organization to offer a Red Cross safety program and a customized AAA driving course are milestones and initiatives we are very proud to have pioneered. Our original structure included a comprehensive au pair selection and screening process, cultural and educational activities for families and au pairs and expert, local support services that families can depend on. These were hallmarks of the original program and they continue to this day, enhanced by the experience and knowledge we’ve gained by connecting more than 95,000 families with au pairs for nearly 30 years.
We invite you to experience this unique and outstanding child care program. It will be a rewarding experience for you and for your children. The best is yet to come. The first should do more. It’s only right.
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