Becoming a host family means welcoming an au pair—who becomes an extended family member—into your home. It means relying on her to provide trusted care for your children and helping with household duties, and in exchange, providing a private room and setting a place at the dinner table for her each night. It means exposing your children to other languages and cultures while helping them to appreciate their own. Being a host family also means considering your au pair’s needs and goals and supporting her while she is far from home.

“I had hoped having an au pair would be an enjoyable experience, but I had no idea we would grow to adore Aline so much and see her as such an integral part of our family. Aline helps our family thrive.”

– Allison, Cultural Care host mom


An au pair can provide up to 45 hours per week of childcare (up to 10 hours per day) on a schedule you decide, including early morning, evening and weekend coverage. Au pairs can also care for your children when they are sick, out from school on snow days and during school vacations. Families with busy schedules love hosting au pairs!


Because an au pair lives with you as a member of your family, your relationship with her develops quickly and mutual trust happens much faster than with a daycare provider or live-out nanny. After an initial period of adjustment, our host parents describe feeling a deep sense of comfort knowing their children are cared for by someone they know and respect.


Au pairs come from many countries all over the world and can expose your entire family to their language and culture. Your children will learn words in your au pair’s native tongue and well as songs and games from her home country. Au pairs also help children gain a renewed appreciation for their own environment and a desire to see more of the world.


Cultural Care Au Pair is a government-regulated program, meaning there are guidelines in place designed to protect both families and au pairs during the exchange year. It also means that au pairs travel to the U.S. on a legal J-1 visa, allowing them to stay in the country (and with your family) for up to two years.

Family Stories

Cultural Care host families live all over the country and come from a variety of backgrounds but all share a need for childcare and a desire for more than just a casual relationship with their caregiver. We invite you to meet some of our current host families to find out how au pair childcare works for them.

Common Questions

We know that most families aren’t as familiar with Cultural Care Au Pair versus daycare or nannies—but don’t let the “mystery” of our program discourage you from considering an au pair! Below are some of the common questions we frequently hear from parents.

I’m worried about losing privacy. How do families handle this?

This is a common concern, but one that usually disappears after an au pair arrives. Because an au pair becomes an extended part of your family—many families liken their au pair to an older niece or daughter—it will soon feel “normal” for her to live with you. Au pairs are entitled to a private bedroom so that they have their own space during off-duty time. (Privacy is important for them as well.) They also tend to spend much of their off-duty time with friends, taking classes and exploring new places.

What happens if it doesn’t work out with my au pair?

Cultural and personality differences account for the majority of conflicts and can usually be resolved through better communication and with the help of your local childcare consultant (LCC). If your incompatibilities cannot be worked out, you may decide to continue the program with a new au pair, in which case we will work with you to find a better match as soon as possible.

What is expected of me as a host family?

In addition to the qualifications required by the U.S. Department of State and Cultural Care Au Pair, host families should be prepared to embrace the cultural exchange spirit of the program. This means welcoming your pair as you would an extended family member and helping her adjust once she arrives. You may need to explain household rules and routines not all at once but more than once. Asking how her day was, being thoughtful on holidays and her birthday, and including her in family meals will go a long way to making her feel welcome and supported in your family. While the needs of your children are of the utmost importance, it is also important that au pairs receive the benefits of an exchange experience.

What type of household duties can au pairs help with?

Au pairs can help with household duties related to the children including the kids' laundry, meal preparation and tidying their rooms. Your au pair can also pitch in, as any family member would, with chores that everyone shares, like helping to load the dishwasher after a family dinner and picking up after herself around the house. Au pairs’ responsibilities around the house should be reasonable and should not include heavy duty cleaning.

Have more questions?

We would love to hear from you. A member of our team is available to take your call Monday through Friday, 7:30am to 8:30pm EST.

CALL NOW 1-800-333-6056