We haven’t talked in much detail about how to choose an agency — I’ve steered clear of that topic because I haven’t wanted anyone to think that I’m some kind of au pair agency secret agent, sent out to lure unsuspecting host families onto the rosters of agencies for an unspecified but generous kickback.
Also, I’ve wanted to maintain a community here where it’s not about complaining about agencies but is really more focused on relationships.
And, frankly, having had experience with just the one agency and been reasonably happy with them, I’ve never done any serious comparison shopping myself.
Much of the decision comes down to I work out of my home 3 days a week. After much thought, we’ve come to the conclusion that more flexible childcare would be a big help to us, as DH’s job is very demanding, and I have to travel a fair amount.
We’ve decided to go in the direction of getting an au pair.
We like the idea of exposing our children to a second language, the greater flexibility, and are open to participating in cultural exchange. (Our first nanny lived with us for awhile, so we have a little experience with the live in aspect of things).
I’ve been scouring your blog for advice and have found it very helpful.
I’ve searched the blog, but haven’t found extensive information on the following: What are the factors we should consider when choosing which agency to use?
In reading the responses, obviously the LCC is going to be important, and we should probably try to speak with those people before making a decision.[YES] Also, it looks like the match system is important-although it is a little unclear to me on which system is best. [YES] Potential Host Mom has so many of the right questions that I’d like to offer her some answers to questions that we in this community might be have some scoop on: 1.Are there policy differences between agencies that host parents should be aware of? How can we evaluate customer service prior to working with an agency? Please be sure to check out the "Welcome" tab to see how to navigate through all the goodies here.Use the two search boxes to find posts on specific topics, and Sign Up to get posts by email. For us, it came down to which agency provided au pairs with explicit expertise in children with special needs.DH called several agencies when it came time for him to return to work and his salary didn’t even cover the cost of a special needs child and an infant in day care (even if we could get a day care provider to take the special needs child).One agency had an “Au Pair Extraordinaire” category, and while the stipend was significantly higher (it no longer is, just moderately higher), the Au Pairs still come with significantly more child care experience.