By Kathy L. Collins

Parents with young children have many decisions to make; one of the most difficult deals with childcare. One option that is often overlooked due to many misconceptions and misunderstandings is the Cultural Au Pair Program.

Francine DiGiorgio, a Personal Au Pair Consultant, explained what an Au Pair offers. “The literal translation of ‘au pair’ is ‘on par.’ This is based on the idea that an au pair becomes a member of the family.”

DiGiorgio further explained, “Au pairs are typically young adults ranging in age from 18 to 26. They come to the U.S. on a J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa. They stay for one to two years and hope to acquire a better understanding of American life while living with a family.”

The cost of an au pair is approximately $360 per week which equates to $8 per hour for 45 hours of childcare regardless of the number of children. In addition to childcare, au pairs perform all household duties associated with children. This includes preparing meals, cleaning, laundry, making the children’s beds and organizing toys. They also enrich a child’s playtime through exposure to another language and culture. They offer freedom to families to spend quality time with their children because the mundane chores are taken care of.

DiGiorgio wants all parents to know that this is a viable option for their childcare needs. According to DiGiorgio, “The Au Pair Program is highly regulated by the Department of State. All candidates must have significant childcare experience. They complete a lengthy application process which includes English competency, a personality profile, a criminal background check and personal and professional references.”

The Cultural Care Au Pair program provides ongoing personalized support the entire time the au pair is with the family. DiGiorgio is the local Personal Au Pair Consultant. Cultural Au Pair has been in business for 25 years and has staff in all 20 countries from which au pairs come. DiGiorgio will be glad to come to an interested individual’s home to discuss the program with no obligation.

For more information on the Cultural Au Pair Program, visit www.AuPairs4Kids.com or e-mail DiGiorgio at info@aupairs4kids.com or call 446-8948.