Thursday, September 01, 2005
Placement with Host Families
Just days after the USIA merged into the State Department in 1998, the State Department issued new rules on the selection and orientation of both host family and au pair participants.
The State Department indicated that the purpose of the new rule was to provide greater consistency in the au pair program (and presumably in response to a highly publicized au pair murder trial in New England involving a British J-1 visa holder). The rules break down into four general categories: placement of the au pair, requirements for selection as a host family, orientation to the program, and reporting requirements.
The following are requirements related to the placement of au pairs:
· A parent or other responsible adult must remain in the home for the first three days the au pair is there.
· An au pair is not to be placed with a family with a child under three unless a parent or responsible adult is in the home.
· An au pair is not to be placed in a family with a child under two unless the au pair has at least 200 hours of documented infant care experience.
· An au pair is not to be placed in a family with a special needs child unless the au pair has documented prior experience and the family has reviewed it.
A written agreement between the au pair and the host family is required, and must spell out that the au pair will provide no more than 45 hours of child care per week. EduCare participants may provide no more than 10 hours per day or 30 hours of child care services each week.
· The au pair must be provided with a private bedroom.
· There must be a telephone interview between the au pair and the host family before the au pair leaves home to come to the United States.
· The requirements for a host family are as follows:
· The host parents must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
· The host parents must be fluent in spoken English.
· All adults living in the host family must be interviewed by the program sponsor.
· All adults living in the host family must pass a background investigation, including employment and personal character references.
· The host family must have financial resources commensurate with its obligations as host.
· The host family must be provided with a copy of the au pair's application, including all references.
The au pair must be provided with copies of all rules and regulations that govern his or her participation in the au pair program, as well as a detailed profile of the family and community where he or she will be placed and any schools in the area, including costs of attendance. The host family must attend a host family conference, and must be provided with copies of regulations governing the au pair program.