Help & Support
Frequently Asked Questions for Au pairs
Q. What is Alpha Christian Au Pairs?
A. Alpha Christian Au Pairs (ACA) is an online Au pair matching service that provides an effective, easy and efficient web based solution for finding and matching host families with Au pairs. Our service is designed by Christians for Christians to support positive christian relationships. Our aim is to assist families and Au pairs to select the most appropriate partner family quickly and easily, with the added assurance of our unique Pledging System. Our service aims to provide customer value by reducing the time spent in researching and negotiating with Au pairs or host families.
Q. Why do I need to pledge to a Family?
A. Our Pledging System aims to remove the likelihood of Au-pair or host families pulling out of an agreement with little or no notice to the other party. Its purpose is to support users of our website so that they are well informed of arrangements throughout the process.
Our unique Pledging System:
- Avoids disappointment.
- Prevents either host family or Au pair from committing to more than one family or Au pair at the same time, which would inevitably lead to one party being disappointed.
- Saves you time.
- Keeps you informed if either party changes their mind.
- Provides a fair and informed process for all.
Q. What is an Au pair?
A. "Au pair" is a French term, meaning "on par" or “on equal terms”. As an Au pair, you will live with a host family as a member of their family, assisting with childcare while experiencing everyday life in a new culture.
Q. What is the difference between an Au pair, a mother’s help and a nanny?
A. Au pair - The Au pair programme is an internationally recognised Cultural Exchange Programme. It offers young individuals the opportunity to travel and live / work with a host family in a new country, learn a foreign language and experience the country’s culture. The Au pair will work a set amount of hours for the host family, usually doing a mixture of childcare and light housework. The Au pair may have some childcare experience and even qualifications, but an Au pair is not a nanny and should also not be treated as a housekeeper.
Mother’s help – A mother’s help is a carer who has a genuine interest in children, who works under supervision to assist the daily running of the household. The mother’s help will have at least 1 year’s relevant experience and / or a qualification. Duties regarding children will be according to their experience, the type of household and the ages of the children. An extra hand rather than someone who takes charge. Depending on the childcare responsibilities expected, they would help around the house with light housework and run errands. If she is experienced and confident enough, she can take sole charge of the children at times. Unlike most nannies, mothers’ helps will normally do some light housework (dusting, vacuuming, etc).
Nanny - A nanny is a qualified and / or experienced childcare professional who works in the setting of the family’s home, either live-in or out. The nanny is able to assume the responsibility of sole charge of young children. They are professionals and therefore expect a permanent contract with normal working conditions i.e. annual salary plus bonuses, overtime, paid holiday and their salary is subject to national insurance etc. Apart from the actual childcare, they will usually only do child-related housework.
Q. Why Should I register as an Au pair?
A. To contact any family through Alpha Christian Au Pairs, you need to first register as an Au pair. We will create your personal profile with the information you provide during the registration process. Every Family or Au pair who searches on Alpha Christian Au Pairs will be able to view your profile. Without registration, it wouldn't be possible for others to know about you or contact you.
Q. What duties will I be expected to carry out?
A. As an Au pair your duties will be a mixture of childcare and light housework. This can include tidying, washing dishes, preparing simple meals for the children, keeping the kitchen tidy and clean, loading and unloading laundry into the washing machine, ironing for the children, vacuuming, dusting, making and changing children’s beds, cleaning the children’s bathroom, everything to do with keeping your own room clean and tidy, light shopping, pet walking etc.
Q. What duties are not acceptable for an Au pair?
A. We do not expect Au pairs to be asked to do gardening, spring cleaning, window cleaning, washing carpets, washing the car, the weekly household shopping etc.
Q. If the children are out during the day time , will I be asked to do more?
A. It is essential that the Au pair is aware of the normal daily routine before arrival. If there are no children around during the day, the Au pair may be quite happy helping with other household tasks.
Q. What can I do to occupy myself when I am not on duty?
A. You may wish to attend a language course at a local college and there are many schools which have classes specially designed for Au pairs. Perhaps you wish to join a sports club, do voluntary work, study or just meet your friends.
Q. Can I care for babies?
A. We do not advise an unqualified Au pair to have continuous sole charge of a child under the age of two.
Q. Will I be asked to babysit?
A. Generally Au pairs are expected to babysit for two evenings per week. Additional pocket money is normally paid for any additional evenings.
Q. Who pays for my travel costs?
A. Generally it is the Au pair’s responsibility to pay his/her own travel costs to and from the UK unless the family has stated that they are willing to fund this. The host family will collect you from the airport or if that is not possible they will make arrangements for you to be collected.
Q. Can I look after an elderly relative?
A. Most Au pairs enjoy looking after children and like to be placed in a family where they can be involved in family life. However, there is always a need for companions for the elderly and you may wish to consider if you would agree to do this.
Q. Will I have my own bedroom?
A. You will certainly have your own private bedroom and will probably share the other facilities of the home with the family. Full board (all meals) are provided.
Q. Will I be asked to drive?
A. You need to consider carefully if you wish to drive abroad. Nowadays many host families require a driver. Wherever you are placed you will need to make sure you fully understand such matters as car insurance and the laws of the road. You will need to provide your driving licence.
Q. Do I need health insurance?
A. It is advisable for you to obtain health and travel insurance before joining your host family. This will protect you from costly emergencies, repatriation and legal assistance if required.
Q. Will the British National Health Service cover my treatment?
A. A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to reduced cost or even free medical treatment if within the EEA countries. This card must be obtained before you travel but it is still advisable to obtain additional insurance.
Q. Is there a notice period?
A. Both families and Au pairs require a two-week notice period. This normally allows sufficient time for the Au pair to find new host family and the family to find a new Au pair. Flexibility is required at this awkward stage but the situation can be handled well if both parties are reasonable and helpful.