AU PAIR QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER
FEATURED ARTICLES IN THIS EDITION:
A Message from Au Pair in America
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day (March 8, 2021) is “Choose to Challenge.” The word “challenge” has several meanings, two of which are very appropriate for the world we have been living in since 2020 and the world which we are moving towards.
The first definition — “a task or situation that tests someone’s abilities.” The past year has challenged au pairs and families in so many ways: remote work, illness, home schooling or not having the exchange experience that was expected. In addition, the visa and travel restrictions continue to challenge all exchange programs and our host families, au pairs, community counselors and partners throughout the world. And yet, there have been so many amazing stories of strength, creativity and caring around the world and in our own backyards! Take the Au Pair of the Year award nominations, for example! We had more nominations than in any previous year, and each essay told a unique story of how the host family and au pair not only managed the challenges, but how they came together to embrace the time together, grow with and for each other, and make the very most of a very difficult year. Stay tuned as we share these stories and celebrate our nominees and selected winners.
To “dispute the truth or validity of; take issue with” is another definition of “challenge” that has significant meaning for our world and program as we move forward into 2021 and beyond. Our Chairman, Bill Gertz, recently formed an organization-wide diversity task force to ensure that AIFS’s policies, processes and programming fully embrace and promote diversity of all kinds. Our APIA team are working on curating resources on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to educate ourselves and share with our participants, as part of our commitment to challenge cultural stereotyping, unconscious bias, and racism of any kind. We believe that international exchange is a powerful tool, and as a program that welcomes au pairs from all around the world, it is our mission to challenge thinking that does not allow for a just and safe society for all. In the words of the late Chinese-American social justice activist Grace Lee Boggs: “You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it.”
So, as we move forward into 2021 and begin to see the world open again, Au Pair in America celebrates the host families and au pairs who faced the challenges of the past year, and we challenge ourselves to be vigilant in our commitment to the pillars of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Jean M. Quinn
Au Pair in America
Social Distancing Guidelines
We are continuing to allow virtual meetings for all community counselors and program participants at this time. As things change, we encourage host families and au pairs to discuss social distancing rules for their household together on a regular basis. Good communication is essential to avoid any misunderstandings.
Our updated social distancing policy is linked below:
Learn Today, Use Tomorrow: How an Au Pair’s Exchange Year Can Impact Their Future Career
Learn today, use tomorrow – this is one of the philosophies that shapes the Au Pair in America program. Au pairs know they’ll remember their time as exchange participants for years to come, but how can they use that experience in their next chapter or career?
Au Pair in America helps au pairs begin thinking about “learn today, use tomorrow” as soon as they arrive to the US. Au pairs are encouraged to take time to plan out college classes, volunteer opportunities, and additional trainings and certifications – all of which can help their resumes or CVs stand out from the pack.
Orientation and Beyond
At Au Pair in America, we not only provide education for au pairs as part of their orientation at the beginning of the program experience, we also offer valuable ongoing training throughout the year. Every week, webinars are offered on a wide variety of child care topics, cultural adaptation, personal growth and cross cultural challenges. We encourage au pairs to expand their learning opportunities and to connect with our program trainers and each other.
Au Pairs can view the selection of upcoming webinars being offered and register at any time.
Visit our Au Pair Webinar page.
As the world has changed in so many ways over the past year, our Department of State regulations have not changed. Au Pair in America is designated by the Department of State to sponsor au pairs on an Exchange Visitor Program intended to provide participants an opportunity to “learn about American culture, improve English language skills and to assist host families with child care while living with American families as a guest member ‘on par’ for a 12 month cultural exchange.” The government has issued regulations that establish the framework for monitoring of au pair and host family relationships. Some of the key regulations include:
- Au pairs may provide children care assistance no more than 10 hours in one day.
- Au pairs may provide child care assistance no more than 45 hours in one week.
- Au pairs must be given one full weekend off each month.
- Au pairs must be give one and a half days off each week.
- Au pairs must be given two weeks of paid vacation during a one year placement.
- The minimum weekly stipend for au pairs is $195.75 and tied to the Federal Minimum Wage. Should the Federal Minimum Wage change, the minimum stipend will change. The U.S. Department of State accounts for costs associated with weekly room and board and other Fair Labor Standards Act considerations when establishing the minimum weekly stipend. Host families and au pairs are free to agree to compensation higher than the legally applicable minimum. A host family may not pay less than the weekly minimum stipend.
The full list of regulations can be found on the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations website. The Code of Federal Regulations; au pair regulations are sited at section 62.31.
Restore Our Earth
As an international program supporting a global mission to bring the world together, Au Pair in America supports Earth Day on Aril 22nd. The theme this year is to restore our earth. Stay tuned for information from your community counselor about cluster events and activities that support Earth day’s mission.
Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earthday.org is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 75,000 partners in over 190 countries to drive positive action for our planet. Earthday.org’s mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. For more information about how to participate, visit their website!
As always, we’re here to support you! Your Community Counselor is your first contact. At Au Pair in America, we take great pride in being able to provide 24-hour support to our program participants. If you cannot reach your Community Counselor and the office is closed, there is always a Regional Program Manager on call for urgent situations. To reach our after-hours emergency line, call 1-800-928-7247 and follow the prompts at the end of the message.