This post comes from Melissa Edelmann, an LCC supporting many of Cultural Care Au Pair’s Rhode Island host families and au pairs. She has a passion for travel and cultural exchange and brings the perspectives of both a previous long-term nanny, and a parent of toddler twins to her role as an LCC. Like many Cultural Care Au Pair LCCs, she finds that her families are sometimes surprised by the frequent contact they receive from her—that is until they learn why it is so important to stay in touch on a regular basis.
Many host families wonder why their LCC must be in contact with them every month. Families may be asking themselves, “Didn’t I just talk to my LCC a few weeks ago?” “Doesn’t my LCC trust me?” “Did my au pair complain about something?” But usually the truth of the matter is that everything is fine—your LCC is getting in touch so often because the Department of State and Cultural Care Au Pair require it.
For over 25 years, the U.S. Department of State has been overseeing au pair programs in the United States, and they have created a series of safety nets that help ensure that both host families and au pairs are safe, happy and thriving together. Cultural Care Au Pair also has a responsibility to protect the interests of our families and au pairs and, for this reason, compliance with the U.S. Department of State regulations is taken very seriously. One of the most critical government and agency-mandated safety nets is the LCC monthly check in. Your LCC is required to contact both you and your au pair once a month to ask: “Has the au pair been paid his/her stipend weekly?” and “Has the au pair worked 45 or fewer hours each week as is government-mandated?” These important (but redundant) questions are an important part of the hosting process, and help maintain the high standards and integrity of all au pair cultural exchange programs. This is especially true given the recent instances of exploitation of domestic help in the U.S.
Remember, your LCC monthly check-ins are for the protection of both you and your au pair. Here are some tips for making monthly LCC check-ins work for you:
Make sure your LCC knows the best way and time to contact you
Prefer an email at work? An evening phone call at home? Let your LCC know what works best for you so that a check-in is as easy as possible.
Respond to your LCC right away
Remember that your LCC is required to keep asking until they hear back from you so responding promptly means you will be less likely to field phone call after phone call, or email after email every month. Of course, we would love to actually have a quick conversation, but if you just want to move on with your day, hit reply or send a quick text message to avoid further attempts at contact.
Use the monthly contact as an opportunity to ask your LCC questions or bring up issues that you may have encountered recently, or even to put in a good word about your au pair
I make a habit of sharing a host family’s compliments with their au pair, and it can mean the world to an au pair to hear that their family is appreciative and happy.
Families, how do you handle monthly check-ins with your LCC? Do you prefer to be called or emailed? Do you use the check-in as an opportunity to share certain information with your LCC or to get questions answered?