Au Pair in America was established in 1986 and was the first organization to be designated by the United States government to offer a legal au pair program. To date, Au Pair in America has placed more than 90,000 au pairs from 60 countries with American host families in 40 states.
In 1986, the United States Information Agency (USIA) designated the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) Scholarship Foundation as the sponsor of an au pair pilot program for a two-year trial period, and Au Pair in America was established. After extending this trial period by two years, Congress enacted the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship Act, which allowed USIA to extend the au pair program indefinitely. After the dissolution of USIA in 1999, regulation of the program transferred to the Department of State, Educational & Cultural Affairs Bureau. With the State Department’s approval of new au pair regulations in 2001, Au Pair in America introduced the Educare program for families with school-aged children who required less hours of care per week than the Standard program. In 2004, government visa regulations changed, allowing au pairs to extend for a second year in the U.S. In 2009, the Department of State began allowing au pairs who have successfully completed the Au Pair in America program to become eligible to return to the U.S. as an au pair for an additional year.