Host Family Screening
Families must complete the following steps to become a host family:
- Complete a detailed application about their childcare needs, lifestyle and job requirements
- Provide two references which are verified by our staff
- Have all adult family members pass a criminal background check
- Be personally interviewed by the local Area Director
In the USA, the personal interviews are conducted at the family home, allowing the Area Director to see the home and your private bedroom. In Australia, the local Country Director does in person host family interviews in Sydney and Skype interviews in other locations.
Additional USA Requirements
American host families must also meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of State, which oversees the J-1 au pair program that facilitates the visa.
These requirements include:
- Both parents must be American citizens or permanent legal residents
- The family should speak English as the primary language in the family home
- Submission of two references and employment verification
- The family participates in an in-home interview with a local Area Director
- Have the financial resources to cover expenses associated with hosting an au pair
- The family provides the au pair with a comfortable, private bedroom
- Welcome the au pair as a family member
- The family agrees to comply with all U.S. Department of State guidelines
Luisella of Baltimore, Maryland is a full-time lawyer and vocal advocate for autism education. She and her husband have two children – eight-year-old Ella and seven-year-old Mikey. Mikey was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was about a year old.
After extensive research, Luisella and her husband decided to hire an occupational therapist through apex social (known as apex PROaupair in the USA). Their first experience was positive and when it came time to find a replacement, they hired another occupational therapist, a twenty-three year old Julia, a graduate of the occupational therapy program at Voelker-Schule e.V, a college for health professionals certified by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.
“Julia gets as excited as I do when Mikey or Ella accomplish something they’ve been working on,” said Luisella. “We really admire Julia’s dedication, work ethic, and the drive she has to help both of our kids succeed. Julia’s background as an OT has been very beneficial when I have sought advice on how to help Mikey with certain behaviors. She also works with his OT on helping generalize at home what he is learning at school.”
In addition to working 50 hours per week and taking care of the family and household, Luisella also does significant volunteer work as an advocate for autism education – work that helps all children affected by autism.
“There are a lot of challenging things that come with having a child with autism,” she said. “But, having someone else there with you who is not a parent but a professional that can provide you support and understanding, it makes a huge difference. There are times when I’ve felt overwhelmed and ready to throw in the towel and then here comes Julia and she says ‘I’ve got it."