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Cultural Care Au Pair / Awful experience

1 United States Review updated:
Contact information:

This agency is a sham operation. They specialize in trafficking young international women as au pairs and placing them in U.S. homes for childcare. They are not trained or experienced to do so. Their applications are falsified and references are from family members, not real childcare refs. They charge large amounts of money to the host family and the au pair for this "service". Once the au pair arrives in the family's home, the agency "goes dark" when you contact them about a problem. You won't get a call or helpful response from the local personnel, Boston office, etc. They put children at risk of neglectful childcare, the au pairs in inappropriate situations with minimal English and the family's are left to pay the high price of no service when it all goes wrong. This agency only responds when a State Dept rule is broken or a lawsuit is filed. They should be shut down. They are the same agency that placed Louise Woodward, the Boston au pair, on trial for shaking an infant who died in her care. They changed their name after this court case from EF Educ to Cultural Care Au Pair.

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  • Ro
      4th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    Those are are very strong words...As we all know, when you are dealing with humans, there are always going to be situations that aren't perfect. My wife and I signed up with Cultural Care Au Pair over a year ago and received top notch service and a wonderful au pair that was trained by them for 4 days in New York, referrences were checked and a criminal background check was done by a representative in her country. When we called the headquarters, we always reached somebody, but rarely needed to because we had a local childcare coordinator just miles away that was representing our family...

    My wife and I are now on our second au pair and are now the local childcare coordinators for our South Bay group in California, representing over 30 au pairs and thier families...As I mentioned, problems do arise, and when they do, we are here to remedy them and the Boston office has a team to back us up. Cultural Caere places thousands and thousands of au pairs every year, they are the biggest because they fact nerly 70% of thier business is from referrals or repeating families.

    As a father of two and a man of principle, I would not defend a company that I thought would in any way put children or au pairs for that matter at risk..

    ABOUT US: Rob and Tracy Cota are parents to two wonderful children, host family to a excellent au pair from Mexico, Paola, and represent Cultural Care Au Pair Agency as local childcare coordinators. We have extensive experience in placing au pairs, conflict resolution, and setting reasonable guidlines for a successful experience. If we can assist you in any of these areas, call or email us and we’d love to help. Rob and Tracy Cota, Local Childcare Coordinators, Cultural Care Au Pair, 310-376-4382, 310-941-5748, Email:, Website:

  • Ja
      5th of Oct, 2008
    -3 Votes

    As a hostmother of a different organization, I happen to witness one of the most outrageous situations here in Westchester over the past week. A friend of our au-pair was refused help from Cultural care who responded simply by canceling her visa as well as threatened her with deportation. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. This girl has had to endure verbal abuse for months, is absolutely scared of her hostfamily, and is now faced with extradition.

    Anybody who can assist in helping this girl, please contact me.

  • So
      14th of Nov, 2008
    +2 Votes

    Cultural Care Au Pair is a terrible agency. They placed us with a Thai Au Pair who was a NIGHTMARE. She was very, very dirty leaving stains all over the carpet and bed in her ro0m. She would stay up all night going out to the bars and then would start work the next day exhausted. Her "uncle" would call us from Thailand every Saturday and Sunday leaving threatening voicemail messages on our home phone because she evidently owed him money. On one occasion, he suggested in the most horrible language that she was likely to be having sexual relations with my husband.

    She would nap when she was supposed to be watching our kids. The final straw was when my teenage son came home to discover they had removed their diapers and were running around bedroom to bedroom tearing up the house while she slept peacefully in her bedroom. After we confronted her, she slipped out of the house in the middle of the night, leaving us in the lurch.

    We got absolutely NO SUPPORT from the agency. They did not even bother to return our phone calls until 24 hours later. When we asked for a refund from fees to be paid up front, they refused, instead offering to send us another au pair.

    What this previous person described is absolutely true. They are not responsive and they do not screen au pairs. They are only interested in the bottom line. Check the web, you will find many lawsuits and complaints regarding this agency. BE WARNED. There are plenty of hard working nannies in the US if you just post notices in your church or in community newspapers. You can easily run a background check through other companies based here in the US. I will tell my story over and over again to any one who will listen. Cultural Care Au Pair is not recommended.

  • Du
      14th of Nov, 2008
    +3 Votes

    As this is a complaint board, I do not expect to see any positive reactions. I know several Au Pairs and Host Families, as they live in my area, and have found that frequently it is the host family that is the problem, not the Au Pair. I have talked to other Cultural Care host families that have said point blank “some families treat these girls like slaves.” As I have seen how some host families treat the Au Pairs, I feel that the Au Pairs are sometimes a bigger person that I would be, given the situations that I have seen them in.
    That said, sometimes there are Au Pairs who make poor judgment calls or should not be in the program. This could also be said for every business that hires people. It is even more difficult as an Au Pair/Host Family relationship because the person is living with you in your home and providing a very personal service. In my relationships, I have found that happy Au Pairs and Host Families outnumber the unhappy, however it should be stressed that this is a Cultural exchange as well as someone providing a service. An Au Pair is a person as well, someone who chose to be in the program to learn about America, broaden their horizons and develop lasting relationships with their host family.

  • Sm
      5th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    I am also an Au pair in the US and do believe that Cultural care Doesnt care at all about either people, the Au pair or the host family. If an Au pair/ host family is happy with each other they're amongst the Lucky ones.
    The families make promises over the phones while we are in our Home Country telling Us about HOw lovely and wonderfull they are but only to treat us like Maids and Gardeners when we get her. This families are only happy when their children are safe and happy but dont give any considerations on how we feel. Sometimes there's no food in the house and you have to prepare food for there kids and we just give them whatever thats in the house, the kids will tell you Ewwww. We are expected to carry on with our duties and still give the kids choices on what to eat even thou there's no food in the house. they dont appreciate a thing .The agency tells us we can change families if we are not happy, but you wait for that family to come, you can wait 2-3 weeks for a family with no pay and again the LCC's dont do much work to help you. they just tell you to talk to them, how is a person expected to talk when she/ he's afraid of the family.

  • Ed
      7th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    Hi - I am responding to the complaints against Cultural Care Au Pair Agency. This is a big agency, recruiting more au pairs than their competitors, and there is bound to be more problems just in terms of vast numbers. That said, you need to also consider the quality of your counselor - and her manager. Many times these staff are young and inexperienced as the pay scale is low (probably due to the fact that these positions are largely held by women). When I worked in the au pair industry, I had to deal with young, inexperienced managers who had no professional training in dealing with adolscent and young adult populations (and these au pairs are very young) and they also didn't understand the psychological development of young girls - so when a problem arose, they didn't know how to handle it except to put a bandaid on it or rematch the girl to another family.

    Also, consider where and by whom these girls are interviewed and screened by: foreign agents who recruit mostly through travel agencies. They are hired on a commission basis by the au pair agencies and built into this system is a "conflict of interest" - the more au pairs are signed up, the bigger the commission check!

    So, you need to interview both the counselor in your area first and find out from the agency as much as you can about the country you desire an au pair from and ask the manager about the agent who does the screening, etc. Some are great, some mediocre and some outright bad.

    Even with these precautions, it is very difficult to get factual information from these au pair agencies, because the bottom line does come first! Numbers are important and competition between agencies has become fierce. Try to find a small, caring agency that calls you back and has experienced counselors and managers. Expert Au Pair is one of these agenices (USA) and is another (London).

    After 10 years in the au pair industry, I retired and started my own website that is a clearinghouse for host parents on the au pair agencies. We review and share information, current news stories, federal regulations, host family comments, complaints and testimonials.

    Visit my site at to see our Top Ten Agency Picks for 2009 and Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing an Au Pair and Cultural Differences, and much more.

    I saw many happy experiences during my decade long tenure in the au pair industry, and I also saw disasaters. My mission is to provide free information that is factual and unbiased so host families can make the best choice for their family and to keep children safe and happy.

    Edina Stone
    CEO & President

  •   18th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    My best friend is an au pair with this agency. His host family here recently had to move on to another state due to the effects of the economy. So, he went into transition, which means that he needed to find another host family somewhere within 2 weeks or face deportation. He luckily found a host family. He just arrived at this new host family 2 days ago. Upon arrival, the conditions were so deplorable that he absolutely couldn't believe it. It has only been (barely) 2 days, and he has already contacted Cultural Care and asked to be transfered. This means that he will once again go in to transition. This is a situation in which he had no control, and now, if he doesn't find another host family, he will be sent back to his country! He is an extremely courteous, intelligent and responsible person. He's very good at what he does, however, he has just had the misfortune now of being sent into a situation that is unacceptable by many standards! He is worried that he will not find a new host family, and he will be sent back to his country! He is absolutely fantastic at what he does!! If anyone knows of someone who is looking for a top notch au pair, please let me know ASAP! He needs to find a good host family! Please respond if you know of a family who may be able to help him out!!! If you need more information about anything I have said, I would be glad to give you more details!!! Thank you in advance for your consideration in this matter!!! Please contact 615-480-9004

  • Mo
      22nd of Feb, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Cultural Care is an utterly UNETHICAL agency. They recruit inexperienced girls and tell them not to worry it is a cake walk taking care of American children. Our first au pair was sweet, but spoke hardly any English and was an absolutely frightening driver. We even considered driving lessons, but after the first lesson the teacher said he would not let her drive children. She also had a boyfriend here and made it clear she would be going illegal soon. They placed her with another family and now she is pregnant! Mysecond au pair arrived wanting to know when the vacations would start. All she cared about was the $ and learning English and she unabashedly admitted this. She thought an 8 hour day was too exhausting and kept requesting breaks. They all lie about taking care of children and my au pair let it slip that the only experience she really had was that she had a younger sister. And btw they are allowed to use relatives as references!!! I had my Polish babysitter (who we had for 5 years, but decided it was a financially better for us to hire an au pair- huge mistake!) interview a lot of the candidates for us as she spoke several languages and many of the girls told her 1. they only wanted to be with a working mom (not a good sign) 2. they only wanted to live in Cali or FLa 3. they would never go to a family with more than 2 kids (we have 4). My au pair was so lazy and entitled, requested breaks all the time, complained constantly, damaged our car, lied, broke numerous items, ate ridiculous amounts of food often leaving my husband and I with no dinner. These things were irritating, but the hassle of switching is truly overwhelming especially if you have already done it before. It is disruptive not only to you, but to your children who are trying to bond with a new person. So we tried to make it work. The final straw was when we had to go to the dr 2x in 1 week because our 16 month old baby fell. The second fall was so awful they had to pull her 2 front teeth, stitch up a gaping cut in her mouth and she fractured her jaw bone. My au pair was apparently chatting with her friend when this happened, yet she felt no remorse or responsibility at all. When we told her she had to leave all she could say was, "well, i'll need the car then- i have a lot of shopping to do if i'm leaving." (we of course said NO WAY!) I am not the only one though, I could go on and on about the other stories I have heard from got pregnant, one threatened the family, one left the kids alone (3 & 5) while she went out shopping. These girls think it's going to be all fun and easy work and are ofcourse dissappointed when they learn that the host families actually expect them to work. The only thing worse than the low quality au pairs is the CC orginization which is where the problem starts. They are completely unethical. When we were in transition, they sent us candidates who had been through multiple families and had HIT children and one who was a suspected bulimic, etc.etc. Once they have your $- they are gone. There is no support just a lot of "I understand" and "we take this very seriously". Well my husband and I are taking this very seriously too and are filing a federal law suit. RUN FROM THIS COMPANY! I have other friends who have used au pair in America and have not had any of these types of problems.

  • Me
      15th of Mar, 2009
    +2 Votes

    This agency promises too much to families. That being a reliable person who wants to work. And add with children, and drives. The girls they recruit do not have the experience or referneces promised. We had two au pairs from this agency. The first was a nightmare without childcare experience and a really bad case of ADD.
    She had an amazing sense of entitilement. We had to dismiss her. The agency sent us another au pair. Seemed great for two weeks until she started driving around town in our BMW pretending that she was "new to the area". Stupid little girl, went to a hair salon in our small town and claimed she had just moved here, and used our address as her own. The owner of the salon called me to let me know what happened. Boundaries set, no remorse from this chick. One week later, she puts the moves on my husband. At 10:30pm when I am upstair and he is in his office alone, she creeps up the stairs to give him a very personal birthday present. My husband was so freaked out by this he told me immediately. I confronted her and she is gone.

    The agency wants to send us another one. Right.

    Inexperienced, delusional girls who will sleep with your husband. Run fast.

  • Mi
      17th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    I worked for ccap for 4 years and finally quit due to the fact that they knowingly place bad girls in good homes or good girls in bad homes. Its all about profit and money, people do not fit in to the companies equation. On numerous times i told my regional director that a family or girl was unfit to be in the program and i was told to be quiet- you see if they send a girl home or have to give a refund they lose money and that's something that is unacceptable to them. Steer clear of this organization- they are greedy, unscrupulous and will not support you when they place a nightmare in your home or place a nice girl in a bad home. I'll give a few examples- one host dad was continuously hitting on the AP- i removed the girl and recommended that the family be removed from the program- they placed another girl in the home- guess what- he did it again, she was removed and they placed another girl there. After 4 girls they finally listened to me and dropped the family. Another example was that i discovered that an AP was working as a prostitute while off duty- i removed her from the home, but the company tried to coerce me not to tell the family the reason for removal because they may get bad press and the family might look for a refund- this is what CCAP is all about people--stay your self a favor

  • Co
      6th of Apr, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Bad company, really bad screening - we recieved a refund (1/3 of the program fee) after having issues with our AP - she spoke very little english, didn't even have a license (after saying she could drive in the US) and had no real experience with babies - the first time she changed my son's diaper she put it on backwards?? I'm pretty sure pampers are international... As soon as I would get home from work she would go to her room and keep the door shut - talk with friends on phone/computer/skype and would not interact unless she was "on" duty. The clincher is that she would give the kids what ever they asked for - one time my 4 yr old asked for a bowl of whipped cream with sugar on top and she got it from our wonderful AP! When I asked her why she gave that to my daughter she said she already had breakfast so she thought it was ok. This set up an environment of melt downs when I would actually say no to my kids. After our exit interview she left our house to stay with her friend and "vanished" from the CCAP radar??? I would recommend a local au pair you can meet in person and perform a background check on yourself or from real references. When I complained about her lack of experience with children the CCAP manager said I could have called and checked the references myself - like someone wouldn't lie for her in Thailand and I would know the difference - isn't that why THEY are supposed to screen the APs? Not worth the risk!

  • Ss
      8th of May, 2009
    +1 Votes

    This agency is a legal SCAM. I hosted 2 au pairs in my home. They both lied in her applications, one about everything, another one about serious mental issues. Cultural Care never screened them properly, and kept recycling them through different families. I went through too many calamities, too long to tell, and you'll find similar experiences in most of the negative reviews: illegal behavior, seriously neglected children, and inferior customer service. They will mask any genuine conflict under "cultural differences", so don't trust a word they will say about any potential candidate.

    Here goes a piece of advice if you are considering an au pair: do not use Cultural Care.

    Here goes a piece of advice if you did use Cultural Care and want your money back: get matched with an au pair that only has a few weeks left in the program. You will be fully refunded for the weeks of service that you won't be receiving. And if you're supposed to cover it, don't pay for the au pair's vacation and educational component until the very end (although it's really up to you to pay for this).

  • Au
      9th of May, 2009
    +3 Votes

    As a repeat au pair with this company i find a lot of these stories hard to believe. Even as an applicant who had already completed her au pair year in 2004 and been back in my home country for four years i still had to complete the full screening process again. All my references were checked and i was in constant contact with my home office providing extra information and basically confirming what was written in my application.
    While i know from experience that there are some au pairs who lie on their applications or mislead potential host families do not assume that all au pairs do!
    As an au pair who went into transition during my first yer and was successfully rematched for the remaining 7 months i can honestly say that the misleading goes both ways. While working for my first host family i was constantly working 12 or 13 hour days and being asked to perform duties not within the scope of normal light tidying and cleaning up after the children. When i finally got the nerve to talk to my Local Childcare Coordinator about it - not easy for a very shy 18 year old - she immediately made a time to talk to me face to face about my problems and to talk to the host family and when it was decided that i would go into transition both she and the Boston office were in contact with me helping me find a new and wonderful host family.

    So yes, there are a lot of complaints about this company. But there are also a lot of positive stories too.

  • 3b
      13th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    This is so sad to hear about all the complaints regarding CCAP. We will be getting our 3rd au pair from this country. Our local LCC is fantastic and always returns my calls promptly. All have been in transition au pairs. I think this is really the key to finding a successful au pair. We were able to contact the US host family and ask every question under the sun, like driving issues, the au pairs disposition, interaction with the kids, common sense skills. By the time these girls did their second year with us, they were fluent in English, driving skills were solid, understood the basic running of a household, in addition to being able to diffuse those sibling conflicts.
    The one thing to look for regarding the driving, is the application asks if the au pair has ever been in an accident, you need go beyond that and ask the ap directly if she has had any type of driving violation or car damage. Our last ap was never in an accident, but she also didn't tells us that she had numerous speeding tickets in her home country. Needless to say, getting car insurance was expensive and challenging. I hear a lot of posts about the Thai being inexperienced drivers, so I know I will never have a Thai au pair. I tend to look for aps from countries that have stringent driving programs / difficult driving conditions, like Austria, Germany, Switzerland.

    See Edina Stone's website, I really thought she had a lot of great tips on a variety of issues. Also I have taken the time to get to know other ap that were friends with the ones we had and the stories some of these girls told me about how the host family treated them was shocking and disappointing. There were numerous times when I had other au pairs stay with us on the weekends because the host families were a nightmare. It mainly centered around treating these girls like the hired help and not a family member and the children being disrespectful to the ap. I personally feel that when I take in ap she is my responsibility in all areas, almost like a surrogate mom or big sister.

    Whichever agency you go with, In the end you really have to do your homework. Not only ask for references on your ap, but ones for your local coordinator as well. This is our LCC's only job, so I know she focuses all her time and attention to her clients. Having an ap has been a great experience and I encourage anyone to pursue it. Best luck to all.

  • 3b
      13th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Ooops, I meant to say: we will be getting our 3rd au pair from this agency, CCAP. We are a host family in California.

  • Ff
      19th of Jul, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I agree- not a good company- how do i know?? I worked for them and quit due to the way they treated the girls and families. Understand one thing- families are $$$ to them and the au pairs are just a human product that they sell and swap. They could care less about you and give very little support when there is a problem. The terms "flesh peddler" and "au pair pimp" are common terms used amonst their lcc's - they think its funny. The lcc's are paid on how many families sign up, so they will sign up anyone- the good the bad and the ugly- some of these poor girls end up in homes i wouldnt send a dog to none the less a 19 yr old girl. The company on the other hand only cares about sales- then they recruit girls, some who shouldnt be taking care of children, and send them to "school" (3 1/2 days) to learn childcare- wow a whole 3 1/2 days. Another thing they dont want you to know is that they dont investigate the girls from some countries, they use recruiters or agents to do this. So why is this bad you may ask- these agents get paid on the amount of girls that "pass" the investigation- get the point??? They dont investigate anything, they just sign up anyone interested and you then get stuck with a girl that doesnt speak english, cant drive. has no childcare experience and just wants to come here to illegally live- ask any CCAP LCC how many girls in their group have gone "underground" ( a CCAP term)? If they say 1 or 2 add 5 to that and its the right number. Ask the LCC how many girls have packed up and left in the middle of the night??? Trust me its alot. I will monotor this page and answer any questions as a former LCC but i dont want to leave my email as this company is also known to cause people who say bad things a real hard time- very vindictive...

  • Su
      29th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    The last post on this site is completely outrageous. I just received my new au pair from this company. . . and I did my research. What this "former LCC" claims is just not true! Cultural Care Au Pair has been in business for 20+ years and has grown to be the largest agency. Their screening, au pair school and local support are the best that I have experienced (we were with AP Care. . .and had a bad experience) I run a business and know that there is always more to the story of a "disgruntled employee" Why did"ffrmerlcc" really leave the company? You do the math.
    My experience has been stellar so far with Cultural CAre. . . I am living that experience now.

    Don't let a disgruntled employee tell you which agency to chose. .. chose for yourself.

  • Go
      6th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes


    Easy for you to say how stellar your experience has been, having just received a new au pair (who will be on their best behavior right now). Wait until you have a problem. I do hope you don't. We've been a host family for over 5 years, and we've seen our share of problems. We've also had a few FANTASTIC au pairs we got through this agency. But, when I say problems, I mean big problems. An au pair leaving to go "underground" is not at all uncommon. One of ours did, and many we've known have disappeared.

    While you are paying over $7000 to this agency, and the main service they offer you is screening, I can tell you that depending on the country the au pair is from, you may get some legitimate screening all the way to no screening and what appears to be collusion in lying. We even had one au pair have friends pose as references to state she had child care experience (she bragged to us later she did not), and another au pair who had a friend do the phone interview so we'd think she spoke English. Imagine our surprise when she arrived and despite her 4 out of 5 English scores from CC, and our phone conversation, she spoke no English! And that's the least of the problems we've had. Again, we have had a few that were wonderful people, who will be family friends forever, but many more that have been a shocking problem and Cultural Care has to take at least part of the blame.

  • At
      12th of Aug, 2009
    +2 Votes

    wow...I'm already registered as an Au-Pair in the Cultural i'm really dissapointed, and don't now what should i do..(((

  • Au
      13th of Aug, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Stay with them. Just make sure that you take the time to decide about the families you get matched with and don't just take the first one you talk to because you're worried you might not get a better one. I'm a repeat au pair and i wouldn't have signed up with this company a second time if i didn't believe that they were good at what they do. So yeah right now you're reading a lot of horror stories about CCAP but once you get over here and make friends with au pairs from other agencies you'll realise that none of the agencies are perfect and bad au pairs/families/LCC's happen to all of them occasionally.

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