Au Pair agency brings child care providers from abroad
April 7, 2009
With escalating childcare costs pinching some families’ budgets, a less-expensive and worldly alternative is finding its way to Summit County. Cultural Care Au Pair, the nation’s leading intercultural exchange and childcare provider, recently placed a new childcare coordinator in the area in order to provide support for families looking to join or already involved with the program.
Cultural Care Au Pair is a cultural exchange program regulated by the U.S. Department of Sate that pairs young adults from across the globe with local families to provide a live-in alternative form of childcare for one year.
“Children have an au pair from a different part of the world and they learn a lot about the culture, food, language and traditions of their au pair’s country,” said Cultural Care Au Pair local childcare coordinator Juliana Piscitiello. “Children are then exposed to different cultures at a young age, along with the parents as well.”
Being an exchange program, the benefits are not one-sided. Many au pairs join the program to experience a different culture, meet new families and broaden their horizons as well. Along with their childcare responsibilities, au pairs must also enroll in school during their stay to fulfill the program’s objectives.
Piscitiello sees many more advantages to the au pair program than a traditional childcare center.
“This program is more beneficial to kids because they have the same person taking care of them every day rather than at a daycare center,” she said. “It’s really great, the au pairs become more like a big sister or big brother to the kids and are a welcomed part of the family.”
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This camaraderie has lead to 70 percent of host families repeating the program once their au pair’s time is up.
Aside from the personal connection, Piscitiello sees the program as economically beneficial as well.
“This program is way more affordable than the average nanny and is really good for families with multiple kids,” Piscitiello said.
The program has an average cost of $320 per week, which includes up to 45 hours of childcare, insurance, transportation, education and stipend for the au pair. Compare this to the average of $600-$700 per week for a traditional nanny or $800 per child a week at a daycare center and the program can look pretty attractive. That $320 per week includes care for all of a family’s children, so the savings really add up.
Since the program is affordable compared to other forms of childcare, Piscitiello says they have a diverse pool of host families.
“It’s not reserved for the upper class,” she said. “In fact, our program is actually doing a little better in this economy because of the savings with an au pair.”
Piscitiello’s job in the area will be to interview potential host families and support current host families as well as the au pairs.
“My job is to keep people informed and make sure the families fully understand their role as well as check in and make sure everything is going okay,” Piscitiello said.
Families hosting an au pair must be U.S. Citizens, speak English and have a private bedroom for their au pair. Those interested in the program may contact Piscitiello at (507) 313-4112 or go online to http://www.culturalcare.com by April 15 in order to take advantage of a waived application fee.