We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Regan Flaherty, Development Director for Cultural Care Au Pair. She visited DSM to inquire about making our DLP learning program available to members of the au pair community. "Many of our au pair's are interested in playing music and I'm intrigued about the possibility that they could share in this activity with the children of their host families."
Several DSM families have had au pair's and Regan would like us all to be more informed about this option for childcare. “In this current economic climate all families are looking for flexibility as well as affordability. Parents need to be very creative with their childcare solutions and Texans are not as inclined to consider an au pair as an option. We need to change that!"
The au pair program is attractive because it allows parents to set a schedule that works for them on a weekly basis at a cost that remains the same whether a family works 9 to 5 or has the au pair work non-traditional hours. "Having an Au Pair can go a long way toward helping families reach that critical 'work-life' balance. And contrary to popular belief, families with more than one child find the au pair program to be one of the most affordable options available."
There are other benefits to opening your home to an au pair. Studies have shown that exposing your children to a second language enhances language and cognitive development. Au Pair's are also willing and eager to teach their native language and share their culture with your family.
Unlike daycare or a babysitter, an au pair can perform all household duties associated with children, so they can vacuum a playroom, prepare and clean up after meals, do children’s laundry, make the children’s beds and organize their toys/closets/playrooms. An au pairs’ assistance with these day-to -day tasks allows you to spend more quality time with your children and spouse.
And Regan wants us to know most of all that the au pair program is "regulated by the State Department and last year we became the only agency in the world to use our own staff overseas for recruitment, screening, and orientation, rather than relying on third-party agents."
During our screening process, every candidate is personally interviewed, tested on English competency, takes a personality profile, and submits to a criminal background check as well as personal and professional reference checks. Acceptance into our program is highly competitive. Only 1/3 of the people who apply are accepted into our au pair pool, and out of thousands of applicants in the pool, only about 1/3 actually match with a family.