If you are looking for childcare that can save you money, particularly if you are a parent of multiples, there’s an option to consider that can be found right here in the Twin Cities!
Cultural Care Au Pair
I had the privilege of talking with Tracie Kapaun, a local childcare consultant for Cultural Care Au Pair, a nationwide program that provides a unique and affordable alternative to traditional daycare or nannies. I interviewed her and here’s what I want to share for those who are interested in an alternative childcare option that can save you money!
What’s an Au Pair?
I had never heard of the term “au pair” because it’s not as familiar in America as it is in many foreign countries.
Tracie explained that an au pair is a nanny from another country who lives with your family and helps care for your children. Through Cultural Care Au Pair, they are hired for one year. An au pair has their own private bedroom and provides up to 45 hours a week of childcare. Au pairs come from 15 – 20 countries throughout the world including Ireland, Scandinavian countries, China, South Africa, Mexico and more. They are 18 – 26 years old and have had their backgrounds checked, plus they receive special child care training.
What does an Au Pair cost and
how can hiring one save you money?
An au pair costs the same amount no matter how many kids you have. That’s why it’s especially great for parents of multiples. If you have, say 3 or more kids that are under the age of 5, and you enroll them all in traditional childcare, you have to pay for each of them separately. This adds up quickly. However, if you hire an au pair, you pay one amount for all of your kids combined.
The average cost per family is $365 – 370 a week (just under $8 an hour), plus room and board for your au pair. There are fees to start the process including $300 to commit to an au pair. The yearly cost of $7995 includes health insurance for your au pair.
There are also discounts throughout the year, and discounts for military and adoptive families are available!
Who benefits from hiring an au pair?
In addition to parents of multiples, an au pair can be great for stay at home moms as well families with busy schedules. Your childcare works around your schedule including sick days, snow days, and even nights and weekends. Au pairs receive CPR training and may be trained to work with children with special needs.
Also, your au pair benefits from living in America and learning about our culture and the English language while earning a livable wage. (An au pair is paid $195.75 weekly, which is the amount he/she would be paid after room and board expenses are deducted from one’s salary.)
A benefit of hiring an au pair vs. a nanny is that with a nanny, you must treat him or her as an employee and taxes must be paid for that employee. An au pair is not subject to the same laws and regulations as an employee, and they are on a J-1 Visa which covers exchange students and interns as well.
Why choose Cultural Care Au Pair?
Cultural Care Au Pair is the largest au pair program in the country. It has been around since 1989 and is based out of Boston. They have arranged over 80,000 au pairs and there are about 100 families in the Twin Cities area using this program.
Families choose their own au pair from information provided by the program.
Tracie serves the Maple Grove, Anoka, Champlin, Elk River, Ramsey, Hanover, Rogers, Otsego, Brooklyn Park, Blaine, Lino Lakes, Osseo, Buffalo, Dayton, Hassan, St. Michael, Robbinsdale, New Hope, Coon Rapids, Monticello and Maple Plain areas, but can connect those living in other areas to one of approximately 8 or 9 consultants in the area.
Cultural Care Au Pair may not be a good fit for every family, but for many it can be a great solution. If you’re interested in learning more, contact Tracie Kapaun at 763-458-5662. You can also visit her website here. Be sure to mention that you heard about her here at TwinCitiesFrugalMom.com!
(Disclaimer: The information I gathered here is a brief summary of the program and all information is subject to change – contact Tracie for current fees, promotions and details!)