The 9 Best Au Pair Agencies of 2020

Find the top au pair for your little ones

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Au Pair in America

"As the very first agency to open up in the U.S., Au Pair in America offers competitive rates and decades of experience."

Best Budget: Expert AuPair

"It might be the best fit if you’re looking to spend the least amount of money on agency program fees while also receiving quality services."

Best Customer Service: Au Pair International

"Personalized support staff is available to walk you through the process and assist you after placement."

Best for Support: Agent Au Pair

"Offering customizable au pair arrangements, the service provides extensive screening and matching services and state-based resources to assist you."

Best Searchable Database: Go Au Pair

"You can sort through the agency's candidates, filtered by everything from childcare and driving experience to specific personality traits."

Best for Special Needs Families: PROaupair

"The agency has training and experience in physical and occupational therapy, medication administration, and developmental milestones."

Best International: EurAuPair

"It is a perfect fit for families that live or travel abroad frequently, with partner offices in almost 30 countries."

Best Matching Process: Au Pair 4 Me

"The agency has a multi-tiered approach to screening and selecting the best possible au pair for your family’s needs."

Best Resources: Cultural Care Au Pair

"It boasts a variety of support staff, from matching specialists and account managers to local childcare consultants."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Au Pair in America

Au Pair in America

Au Pair in America

Sometimes, the best way to receive a top-notch service is to go straight to the pioneers. In the case of au pair agencies, that means choosing Au Pair in America.

This was the very first agency to open up in the U.S. back in 1986, which means it's been offering au pair placement services longer than any other option on this list. With competitive pricing (program fees are about $9,000 and include standard training, transportation, and insurance services), Au Pair in America doesn’t charge more for its long-standing expertise in the business.

What’s more, the agency has had time to establish an extensive screening and training program, comprehensive matching services, and even partnerships with other organizations like AAA, Red Cross, and the American Institute for Foreign Study.

If you’re at all squeamish about the safety of hiring an au pair to care for your child, Au Pair in America has perfected the art of placing foreign caregivers with families—their experience can put your mind at ease.

Best Budget: Expert AuPair

Expert AuPair

Expert AuPair

If you’re looking to spend the least amount of money on agency program fees while also receiving quality services, Expert AuPair might be the best fit for you.

Unlike many other agencies, Expert AuPair doesn’t charge an application or match fee (although it should be noted that you are primarily in charge of searching their database for potential au pair matches). This brings the program fees to about $7,200, which includes the standard background check, psychometric screening, visa application, airfare, childcare training, and local support.

Expert AuPair doesn’t state upfront what parts of the country it is located in—the company is based in Florida but services families in other states as well. As long as there's a local representative stationed within a one-hour drive from your home, Expert AuPair can provide services to you.

Although its smaller reach as a business could be a downside if you’re not located in one of the service areas, this can also be a big benefit: A smaller agency often means more personalized care and attention, with staff members who have the time to get to know you and communicate with you individually.

Best Customer Service: Au Pair International

Au Pair International

Au Pair International

All au pair agencies are required by federal regulations to provide host families with a local representative who lives no more than one hour from their home.

This is to ensure that local support staff can be present in the event of an emergency and that someone can provide in-person, face-to-face support as the host family and au pair get to know one another, sort out scheduling, and work through any challenges.

Au Pair International understands the importance of host families feeling like they have a personal relationship with their local representative, which is why it prides itself on having a high ratio of support staff to families. Most of its area directors only serve about 15 families at one time, which means they can really get to know the au pairs and the families with whom they're staying.

In terms of cost, Au Pair International charges roughly $7,700 in program fees (not including the mandatory weekly stipend paid to your au pair). That fee also doesn’t include international travel or car insurance, so by the time you fill in the gaps, the price is comparable to other agencies.

Best for Support: Agent Au Pair

Agent Au Pair

Agent Au Pair

If you’re looking for an au pair arrangement that’s somewhat unique or customized to your individual needs, you might want to consider Agent Au Pair.

The agency offers several different program options, including one featuring more experienced caregivers and a TutorCare model geared toward families of school-aged children that primarily need early morning and after-school care.

What’s more, you don’t have to worry about sacrificing the quality of service as you search for an au pair to fit your individual needs. In every other way, Agent Au Pair fulfills the expectations of a reliable agency: It provides extensive screening and matching services, state-based resources, and local support staff to assist you.

Agent Au Pair also emphasizes educational opportunities for its au pairs and is competitively priced at about $9,000 for its program fees (plus the weekly au pair stipend).

Best Searchable Database: Go Au Pair

Go Au Pair

Go Au Pair

For host families wanting to choose their own au pair—rather than being matched with one via the agency—Go Au Pair has the most user-friendly database around. You can comprehensively sort through the agency's pool of candidates, searching and filtering by everything from childcare and driving experience to specific personality traits.

For example, if you’re looking for an au pair who has more than 500 hours of experience caring for infants between the ages of three and six months, you can search by those metrics in the Go Au Pair database. On the other hand, if personality is more important to you, you can view photo and video collages of many au pairs, read a self-penned “Dear Host Family” letter, and see how they describe their own character traits, likes, dislikes, and talents.

Chances are, you’ll get a very clear idea of who you’re hiring and bringing into your home when you work with Go Au Pair. And, with program fees coming in at less than $9,000, you can do it affordably.

Best for Special Needs Families: PROaupair

PROaupair

PROaupair

Do you have a child with special needs at home? There’s an au pair for your family, too. Working with PROaupair means you’ll be hiring a professional with plenty of experience caring for children with physical and behavioral health needs.

As the only agency in the U.S. focused on matching special needs families with qualified au pairs, PROaupair has created a network of candidates with experience caring for children with autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, neurological disorders, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Down syndrome, diabetes, and more.

PROaupair professionals have training and experience in physical and occupational therapy, pediatric nursing, medication administration, feeding tube care, and developmental milestones. Since many families of special needs children also have neurotypical or typically developed children in the home, au pairs from PROaupair are more than comfortable managing the everyday needs of all children in the family.

Overall program fees are not included on the website, but PROaupair does indicate their average rate for an au pair is about $20 per hour. That’s significantly higher than the standard au pair hourly rate, but remember that you’re receiving specialized care often not found when you work with other agencies. You can inquire directly with PROaupair for more pricing information.

Best International: EurAuPair

EurAuPair

EurAuPair

For families who move around frequently or live internationally, it might be worth establishing a relationship with EurAuPair.

As an agency with origins in Europe that eventually expanded to the U.S., EurAuPair maintains partner offices in nearly 30 other countries, including China, Canada, France, and Italy. That means it has quite the international reach and is able to serve families across the globe.

You can be as personally involved with the match process as you want, from selecting and interviewing your own au pairs to asking the agency for help finding a good fit for your family. EurAuPair also takes a leadership role in assessing the compatibility of the host family and their au pair; if after 60 days of placement in the home a match between a host family and au pair is not compatible, a EurAuPair community counselor will work with the family to find a replacement as soon as possible.

Logistically, EurAuPair includes the standard fare within its pricing packages, from interviewing and training to visa applications and medical, travel, and liability insurance. The agency offers many discounts for repeat and military families, as well as new host referrals. The average program cost is $9,000.

Best Matching Process: Au Pair 4 Me

Au Pair 4 Me

Au Pair 4 Me

If you’re intimidated by the process of finding the right au pair for your family, Au Pair 4 Me has a three-pronged approach to help guide you to your best match.

The service not only gives you full access to their database of au pairs, it offers individualized insight from a placement representative trained in matching au pairs to families and allow you to “reserve” up to three au pairs at a time for a 72-hour exclusive access period.

That means you can interview your top three choices without worrying about another family snapping up one of the au pairs you’re considering hiring. Not competing with other families or rushing through the interview process makes matching with an au pair much less stressful.

Au Pair 4 Me is widely available across the U.S. and ballparks the annual cost of hiring an au pair through its agency at about $19,000 (with almost $9,000 going toward program fees that cover recruitment, screening, orientation, health insurance, and international airfare for your au pair).

Best Resources: Cultural Care Au Pair

Cultural Care Au Pair

Cultural Care Au Pair

Cultural Care Au Pair has been in the business for more than 30 years, using that time to expand its pool of au pair candidates into one of the largest in the U.S. The agency also personally selects, screens, and matches au pairs by hand, and provides specialized training to each one. (That training includes household safety, CPR and first aid, and U.S. driving laws.)

It also boasts a variety of support staff, from matching specialists and account managers to local childcare consultants, ensuring that there’s always someone on staff to help you with your unique needs. The agency runs like a well-oiled machine, making the process of hiring an au pair a total breeze for families.

Cultural Care Au Pair charges approximately a $75 registration fee, a $300 processing fee, $9,000 in program fees, and $10,000 in stipend payments, bringing the grand total to somewhere around $19,500. This is competitive with other agencies similar in scope and covers most of the typical expenses associated with securing an au pair costs.

How We Chose the Best Au Pair Agencies

The primary element we used to decide which au pair agencies to include was approval from the U.S. Department of State (DOS). The DOS has implemented regulations for au pair agencies that ensure foreign participants are carefully selected, screened, and trained before being placed with host families. Once the DOS has confirmed an agency is meeting the federal regulations, the agency receives a J-1 Visa designation for exchange visitors, which signifies it’s being supervised by the government.

All of the agencies included here appear on the DOS website as a designated sponsor organization. From there, we selected the top picks based on how widely available their services are in the U.S., how unique their business models are, and their relative costs and associated fees.

What Is an Au Pair Agency?

An au pair agency is an organization that helps match host families with foreign au pairs. Because there are a lot of hoops to jump through before an au pair can travel to the U.S., live in your home, and care for your children, it’s difficult for families to navigate the process alone.

When you work with an au pair agency, staff members will handle many of the logistics of bringing an au pair safely into your home. Services vary among agencies, but most provide the following for their host families:

  • Screening potential au pairs with extensive background checks and interviews to find the best fit.
  • Providing au pair orientation and training, especially regarding childcare and safety.
  • Providing administrative support to the host family before and during the au pair placement.
  • Obtaining visas or other international documents needed for travel.
  • Arranging round-trip travel for the au pair.
  • Setting up liability, automobile, and healthcare coverage for the au pair.
  • Handling any rematching or replacement services, if needed.

How Do I Know If I Should Be Working With an Au Pair Agency?

Essentially, if you want to hire an au pair in the U.S., you need to work with an agency. It’s actually illegal to pay for an au pair’s services here without having gone through an approved J-1 Visa agency, according to the Department of State.

Beyond the legal requirements in the U.S., it’s in your best interest to work with a set of professionals who know how to place au pairs with families. With most agencies, you’ll have local and emergency support staff on hand to help you should you experience any conflicts with your au pair. If it simply doesn’t work out, they can help you find a replacement.

What Requirements Do I Need to Work With an Au Pair Agency?

Host families often feel vulnerable when bringing a stranger into their home to care for their children, but au pairs are at risk of being taken advantage of, too—and a good au pair agency will also carefully screen their host families to ensure they can provide a safe and supportive living arrangement.

For host families, the DOS requires:

  • Both parents to be U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents.
  • That English is the primary spoken language in the home.
  • A private bedroom for the au pair.
  • Sufficient financial capabilities to pay for agency fees and additional au pair fees, such as the weekly stipend.
  • Compliance with the maximum number of working hours allowed (45 hours per week and 10 hours per day).
  • Family members to meet their own set of screening measures, like in-home interviews and background checks for adults.
  • A willingness to comply with all DOS regulations for the duration of the au pair’s residence.

How Do I Know If an Au Pair Agency Is Reliable?

First, make sure that any agency you work with is being monitored by the DOS and appears on its list of sponsor organizations; this ensures that an agency is meeting, at least, the bare minimum federal regulations to safely match au pairs to families.

Beyond that, there isn’t much guidance—there are no other official certifying or regulatory boards for au pair agencies, so you’ll have to be a responsible consumer.

  • Do research online to see if an agency has been flagged by the Better Business Bureau or consistently receives negative reviews on consumer sites.
  • Contact the agency and ask questions about its business model, how long it has been operating, and how it handles customer support. You want an agency that’s well-staffed enough to have a dedicated employee working on your case in the event of any problems. It may be especially important to you to have a local representative in your area for in-person assistance, if needed.
  • Consider consulting with an outside service, like AuPair Clearinghouse, for unbiased reviews, tips, surveys, and recommendations about the existing J-1 Visa au pair agencies. Keep in mind that while this organization isn’t affiliated with any agency, it’s still a for-profit business, so make sure you know what you’re getting for your money.

How Much Does It Cost to Work With an Au Pair Agency?

Costs vary from agency to agency, but generally it costs about $18,000 to $20,000 for a year of au pair services. That includes agency program and application fees (typically between $8,000 to $9,000) as well as international travel and insurance costs, an approximately $500 education stipend, and a mandatory weekly stipend for your au pair (a minimum of around $195.75 set by DOS).  

Though most agencies require payments to be made upfront, many also offer payment plans or special financing opportunities. When you break the total amount paid into hourly payments for your au pair, it usually amounts to about $8 to $10 per hour—which is significantly lower than the average hourly rate for a babysitter in the U.S., so although the total seems steep, it can be cost-effective for some families to go this route based on their overall childcare needs.

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Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Department of State. "CFR § 62.31 - Au pairs." Accessed August 14, 2020.

  2. Smith, Tiffany. Care.com. "Want to hire an au pair? Ask yourself these 5 questions first." Accessed August 14, 2020.

  3. Sittercity. "How Much Should You Pay Your Babysitter or Nanny?"