The following information details some of the most frequently asked questions about the program. However we invite all families considering our service to contact us for a detailed introduction and so we can answer your questions relevant to your location, age of your children and any specific requirements.
How long does it take to find an Au Pair for my family after I apply?
Generally, we require 4-8 weeks notice to find an Au Pair for your family. Au Pairs coming from countries other than Germany normally can arrive in Australia at much shorter notice.
The matching process is highly time-intensive to ensure that the Au Pair matches the needs of your family, and that you are the family that will suit the profile the Au pair has given us. AIFS' Au Pairs are living in their respective home country when we are matching them with a Host Family. After the placement is finalised, flights and visas must be arranged.
Why should we use services of AIFS Au Pair when we can use find an Au Pair through social media or the internet?
We believe it is important that an Au Pair is thoroughly screened and vetted before caring for children in Australia. AIFS invests in training our global network to identify suitable candidates. AIFS screening includes the verification of references in an Au Pair's home country, medical and police checks and a one-on-one interview by our trained interviewers who can assess an Au Pair's suitability to the program. Screening also includes the use of our ChildWise approved child protection and safeguarding framework.
In addition to our password protected online database, AIFS Au Pair delivers a tailored matching service to offer Au Pairs with the appropriate experience for your family. Our service continues after your Au Pair arrives with a dedicated after-hours counsellor and 24/7 emergency support.
AIFS is an Australian registered company and operate in accordance with Australian laws. Our families have access to our policies and procedures and we encourage families who reside in Sydney to visit our centrally located centre that services all AIFS Australia programs. We are bricks and mortar and a team of trained professionals - not an automated website.
AIFS is strongly committed to our mission of providing the highest quality educational and cultural exchange programs and to enrich the lives of people throughout the world. Our service delivers an immersive, mutually rewarding cultural exchange.
Can AIFS Au Pairs drive in Australia?
Yes, almost every AIFS Au Pair has an International Driver's License and can assist for example with the school runs or with driving the children sporting or other afternoon/weekend activities. It is the responsibility of the Host Family to assess the driving ability of the Au Pair before granting permission to operate a vehicle and we reccommend that you enrol your Au Pair in at least one driving lesson. Please be aware that most Au Pairs come from right-handside traffic countries. Please be mindful that some Au Pairs, depending of their home country, don't have experience with driving automatic cars.
If the Au Pair is required to use a motor vehicle, the Host Family will provide comprehensive vehicle insurance coverage for the Au Pair, and have the Au Pair listed as a driver on the insurance policy of all vehicles which the Au Pair will use.
The Host Family agrees to limit any claim against the Au Pair for uninsured damages resulting in the negligent operation of a motor vehicle to a maximum of AUD$1,000. In the event of an insurance claim, the Host Family will be responsible for paying any excess relating to the claim. The Host Family will be liable to pay 100% of any damages if the Au Pair is not listed on the vehicle’s insurance cover.
What is the age range of most AIFS Au Pairs?
AIFS Au Pairs are between 18 and 30 years of age although most Au Pairs are around 18-20 years old and participating on the program under a gap year. No matter what age, all AIFS Au Pairs have at least 200 hours of verified childcare experience and they have been carefully screened and interviewed before being accepted onto the program. Please remember that even with the relevant experience, as a young adult they will need your instructions and guidance, particularly in the first few weeks of the placement.
What kind of childcare experience do AIFS Au Pairs have?
Au Pairs must have a minimum of 200 referenced hours of childcare experience. This may include internships in kindergartens, as midwives, children's nurses, camp counsellors, sports coaches, babysitting, tutoring or caring for younger siblings. You can expect a motivated young woman or man with a genuine interest in children.
I want an Au Pair for a longer period of six months. Can you help me?
Yes! Many Au Pairs prefer an initial placement of 6 months however an increasing number of Au Pairs are registering for 9 months. Changes to the Working Holiday visa means that Au Pairs can be placed with one family up to 12 months. Please contact us for details about placements longer than 6 months.
To ensure an uninterrupted level of care, many AIFS Host Families choose their next AIFS Au Pair before the placement ends. In this way your new Au Pair receives a ‘handover' and helps a smooth transition. Click here if you are a returning family.
What does it cost for our next Au Pair?
Many Families choose to become "Returning Families" to ensure a continuous level of care for their children. AIFS values your family's support and offers a $200 discount on the program fee when you apply for your next Au Pair. Click here for Returning Family Fees.
Does AIFS have a Child Protection policy?
At AIFS Au Pair, we believe that adults in all aspects of children’s lives, whether parents or other carers have a moral and ethical responsibility to keep children safe and to protect them from harm and child abuse.
As Australia's only Child Wise accredited Au Pair agency, AIFS Au Pair actively supports measures towards child protection and child abuse prevention. AIFS Au Pair always considers and acts in the ‘best interests of the child’ principle as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and this principle forms the basis for this AIFS Au Pair Child Protection Policy and Reporting Framework.
As an organisation in the Cultural Exchange sector offering in-home services, AIFS Au Pair has a place in ensuring that children are protected from harm and believes that all children have a right to be safe from abuse and neglect.
AIFS Au Pair child protection and safe guarding practices include:
For a copy of our Child Protection Policy please contact us on 1300 889 067
Are AIFS Au Pairs happy to help with housekeeping too?
All AIFS Au Pairs are happy to help with light household duties when those chores are childcare related, such as tidying the children's room, making their beds, preparing light lunches, cleaning up the kitchen after the preparation of meals or doing the children’s laundry. Au Pairs are not a substitute cleaner so ironing of parents clothing or house cleaning cannot be included in an Au Pair's duties.
I need more than 35 hours per week or care for my children. Can the Au Pair care for my children for more hours and if so what does it cost me?
AIFS Au Pairs may work up to 35 hours per week for a weekly stipend depending on their childcare experience and hours.
How many social activities do we as the Host Family have to offer the Au Pair?
Au Pairs join the AIFS program to complete a cultural exchange so it is expected that your Au pair will join in family activities when possible. This not only helps the Au Pair to get to know the family and your children, but to learn more about their new surroundings and Australia. Au Pairs are encourged to make friends in their local area and will normally use their days off to catch up with friends and explore the area/city in which they live.
If it doesn't work out, what happens?
There is no warranty as to the satisfaction or the compatibility of any particular candidate as an Au Pair for a Host Family. AIFS will make endevour to resolve any difficulties regarding the placement. Please refer to our Terms & Conditions for details about our replacement and cancellation policy.
How much flexibility can I expect from an Au Pair?
As part of the AIFS Au Pair Application every Host Family is asked to complete a sample schedule so an Au Pair can understand what will be expected from them. Schedules frequently change so Au Pairs understand that flexibility is a key component to a successful placement, but also need some time to plan personal activities.
I know a young woman who would like to live and work as our Au Pair in Australia. Can you help if we both sign up with AIFS?
Yes, AIFS can assist with a pre-match situation. Please contact us for further information.
What happens if the Au Pair gets sick or injured?
The Au Pairs are fully covered by medical and liability insurance for the duration of their stay with your family, however, if the Au Pair is unfit to help for a day(s), you will need to still pay the Au Pair a weekly pocket money according to the hours, most likely the minimum amount. If the Au Pair is seriously ill or injured for a longer period of time (weeks) and can't do anything and won't be able to resume her duties in a reasonable time frame, AIFS will assist with finding a replacement.
Who is AIFS?
The American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) and its family of companies organises cultural exchange programs throughout the world for more than 50,000 students and young people each year. Since we were founded in 1964, more than a million people have participated on an AIFS study or working-travel program.
AIFS opened in Melbourne in 1999 and in 2005 AIFS opened its Sydney office and student centre which also serves as the base for AIFS' regional headquarters. Each year, around between 3,000 young people will participate on an AIFS program to or from Australia. AIFS currently offers young Australians the opportunity to participate on Camp America or Au Pair in America. Our inbound options include Work & Travel, High School and Au Pair programs attracting young travellers from over 20 countries. For more information about AIFS in Australia please visit www.aifs.com.au. For more information about AIFS around the world please visit www.aifs.com.