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Au pair and eighteen month old: agencies ok with this?

(14 Posts)
SeratoninIsMyFriend Mon 15-Oct-12 21:11:19

We have pretty much decided that an aupair is the only feasible option for us to cover four months of slightly hectic family life from January -April. We have two children, one nearly 4 and a baby who will be eighteen months old at the start.

He will be in nursery two full days but one morning we would need the aupair to look after him for the morning, probably by going to a play group or to the park. I have read that they should not have sole charge of an under-2, but they can babysit: to me if they are out and about and fully briefed on what to do in an emergency, I would see that as safe.

We would be looking for someone a little older, like 22 or over, and with some concrete childcare experience, albeit perhaps not formal training. I also have a great couple of neighbours who are at home with babies and would probably take the au pair along to a playgroup or park for a couple of weeks until they (and I) were more confident. I would also spend the first week with them assessing and training them as appropriate!

If we use an agency is this likely to be a sticking point? I can't find any legal refs for this 'rule'. Can anyone clarify, or recommend agencies who can help? (And who don't charge a fortune!!!).

Newtothisstuff Mon 15-Oct-12 21:27:19

My aupair will be looking my 8 month old not full time but a few hours a day ! She didn't seem to mind !! And the aupair world website asks you to say how old your children are. Mines 25 I definitely wanted one a little older

SeratoninIsMyFriend Mon 15-Oct-12 21:46:27

Can I ask how you went about finding her, did you use aupairworld? I feel it needs more time and energy than I have, and agency fees might be worth it, bit they seem quite variable!

Newtothisstuff Mon 15-Oct-12 22:47:40

Yeah aupair world.. I had over 300 applications it was mind numbing !! Took lots of effort and lots of conversations with different girls !! But hopefully I got there in the end !!

MrAnchovy Mon 15-Oct-12 22:50:25

There are no laws relating to au pairs in the UK (except for immigration laws for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals). You may find that an agency only deals with younger applicants for 'traditional' au pair roles. Plenty of older candidates on aupairworld but you will need to work hard to find one that is really interested in working with children rather than just desparate for any work in current economic climate. Well worth a budget airline flight for a trial weekend.

fraktion Mon 15-Oct-12 22:50:47

Remember that even with an agency you still need to do all the checks and messaging/interviewing. In terms of placement they will send you a shortlist which is no more than the excellent search filters on great au pair will do. Au paid world I am less keen.

As long as your expectations are clear and you are confident the AP can do it there's no reason not to. The main arguments against FT care are inexperience and interference with language development UNLESS you have a Romanian or Bulgarian under the AP agreement.

One morning should be fine, just be upfront.

bits120 Tue 16-Oct-12 11:59:53

We used Heathrowaupairs.com seemed to narrow it down to a couple of sensible options for us to chose from. Just be specific in what you want.

Aupairinbritain Tue 16-Oct-12 12:26:48

If you are going to entrust a very small amount of sole charge of a toddler under age 2 to an au pair she must have exceptional experience and good language skills and you will need to check references very carefully. Remember that the au pairs on Au Pair World have not been vetted and that they could be absolutely anybody ! Our site www.aupairinbritain.com invites au pairs to upload their ID and references to the site, so we can see that they are legitimate, and you can then ask your chosen au pair to email copies of these to you. Also the au pairs on our site only want to be placed in the UK or Ireland so you wont have to waste time wading through lots of Profiles from applicants who prefer to be placed in lots of other countries !

MrAnchovy Tue 16-Oct-12 13:03:57

"Our site www.aupairinbritain.com invites au pairs to upload their ID and references to the site, so we can see that they are legitimate"

Are you saying that you check their ID and references?

Are you registered as a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act?

If I use the aupairinbritain.com web site, who am I entering a contract with? Why does the web site not comply with the legal requirement to make this clear?

Is aupairinbritain.com connected in any way with any Au Pair or similar agency?

dikkertjedap Tue 16-Oct-12 13:22:19

I do go through agencies and the agencies I have dealt with certainly checked their references/CRB etc. Also, if it doesn't work out, you are more likely to get a replacement quite quickly.

I have very bad experiences with aupair world and would personally not use them. A good lot lie about their experience and a lot else. I wasted quite a lot of money letting them come over for a weekend, we thought we had a deal and then they never turned up when they were supposed to start. This did not just happen once.

However, it is true that agencies are much more expensive, but it is the safety of your child which is ultimately at stake so I think it is money well spent.

I don't know aupairinbritain - never used them.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 16-Oct-12 13:32:05

I think it will be really dependent on the individual au pair of the ones I have had the youngest at 18 was the one I would have felt most confident leaving a baby with.

SeratoninIsMyFriend Tue 16-Oct-12 20:17:05

Wow thanks for all your thoughts, very helpful to get the various points of view. I think the main pros of using agency are the replacement if it doesn't work out and the narrowing down and checks they do. I would certainly want to do the ultimate interviewing and choosing myself. Are all agencies pretty good or some loads better?

fraktion Tue 16-Oct-12 21:43:54

You will still need to run checks yourself, certainly verifying at least 1 reference and asking to see a police check. Some agencies are much, much better than others. Some don't do checks...

Replacements are definitely a plus of using an agency.

bran Wed 17-Oct-12 12:04:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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