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Who Can Advocate for the AuPair Program? And, Who Will?

It’s been quite some time since I posted, but when this email appeared in my box I had to respond. The issue that this Host Mom raises is a very important one to ALL of us who’ve enjoyed the Au Pair Program in one way or another:

There is no one — no Agency, no Agency Group, no vocal Local Community Counselor, no cadre of former Au Pairs, no lawyers, no government officials, no advocacy groups — no one advocating for the Au Pair Program.

In the absence of anyone official who could or would speak on behalf of Au Pairs, Host Parents, the Agencies or the overall community, people interested in the program (journalists, prospective parents, prospective LCCs) have reached out to me. I’ve offered my opinion as both a host parent and as a management professor, so you’ve seen me a few times in newspaper articles or in TV news segments. And you haven’t seen the number of hours of “background” information I’ve supplied, trying to set the record straight about what happens in the program, how many an what kinds of problems really exist, and why the program is important.

I think one of the reasons I stopped posting on the blog was (not only that I was writing a book, moving, working, no longer hosting and au pair, etc. but also) that I’ve just grown tired of the “Au Pair industry’s” in ability to advocate for. itself.

Here’s the original poster’s question — what would you suggest to her?

I have been reading your blog since we matched with our first AP in February 2018 and just saw you in the CNBC “Why au pairs are paid only $4.35/hour” video (Everything you said was spot on!!). This is a random question but I don’t really know who else to ask.

I feel like the au pair program is largely misunderstood, including in any mainstream press I see about it. I wanted to participate in the au pair program before I even met my husband and I am always excited to spread understanding to those around me for what the program actually is (and isn’t).

I’m wondering if you have any suggestions of how my husband and I could do this on a larger scale: the au pair program and its survival is very important to us.

I know it’s very important to a lot of families– though I feel like the economics is a big reason for a lot of families (and a totally valid one at that), it truly is a cultural exchange for us (i.e. if, for some reason, the au pair program ceased to exist [God forbid!], we would do everything we could to sponsor an international nanny).
I would love to hear your thoughts, because I feel like families like us need our voices heard!!

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