American Families for Cultural Exchange


American Families for Cultural Exchange is a coalition led by Cultural Care Au Pair, an official sponsor of the U.S. State Department-regulated au pair program for over 30 years, which champions the federal program that bridges cultural divides by offering immersive and enriching exchange experiences to families across the U.S. and citizens of other countries.

An au pair is a young person from abroad who lives with an American family on a legal J-1 cultural exchange visa for up to two years, receiving a weekly stipend, room and board, and educational opportunities in return for providing limited childcare support to their host family. For decades, the au pair program has been an important form of ‘kitchen table diplomacy’ – breaking down cultural barriers and helping young adults become better global citizens.

The U.S Department of State has proposed new regulations that would make the au pair cultural exchange program unnecessarily complicated for most middle-class host families.

Under the proposed rules, American families hosting au pairs would face an average increase up to 3x. The current programs weekly costs, making the program financially inaccessible for most participants.

These newly proposed regulations include monitoring the au pair’s every meal, excessive reporting requirements that undermine the purpose of the program, and multiplying paperwork responsibilities would make it almost impossible for many American families to be able to or want to participate in the program.

“The simple purpose of the exchange program…is to erode the culturally rooted mistrust that sets nations against one another. The exchange program is not a panacea but an avenue of hope….”

– Senator J. William Fulbright