April 13, 1999
Release No. 018-99

CONTACT: Jimmye Claire Walker
PHONE: (202) 619-4355

United States InformationAgency- News Release



Washington, D.C.The U.S. Information Agency (USIA), the independent federal foreign affairs agency responsible for administering the au pair program, published revised program regulations in the Federal Register on April 13, 1999. The revisions will clarify the program's mission and strengthen the role of USIA in protecting children and host families participating in the au pair program as well as expand the responsibilities of au pair-sponsoring organizations. Following a review and comment period, the regulations will go into effect May 13, 1999.

Following the program's permanent designation by Congress Sept. 30, 1997, USIA's former director, Joseph Duffey, commissioned a top to bottom review of the au pair program with a special focus on its customer service, child safety and development, and the educational and cultural exchange requirements. The resulting regulations include the following:

  • Advertising will be uniform to ensure that prospective au pairs and host families receive the same information.
  • USIA will publish a brochure on the au pair program to address consumer- related questions often raised by potential program participants.
  • Designated sponsoring organizations will conduct mandatory telephone interviews between host families and au pairs to determine the au pairs' English speaking ability.
  • The audit process for the sponsoring organizations will be standardized.

For further information on the au pair program, please dial the USIA Office of General Counsel fax-on-demand line at 202-205-8237. To obtain this information, you must call from a fax machine telephone. Information can also be found on the USIA homepage at

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The United States Information Agency, headed by Acting Director Penn Kemble, is an independent foreign affairs agency within the executive branch that explains and supports U.S. foreign policy and national security interests abroad through a wide range of information programs. The Agency promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through a series of educational and cultural exchange activities.

USIA's programs include the Voice of America, Radio and TV Mart­, the WORLDNET satellite television system, the daily Washington File newswire, the Fulbright scholarship program, the International Visitor Program, the Speakers and Specialists Program, three Foreign Press Centers in the United States, and a network of overseas resource and cultural centers. The Agency has 190 posts in 141 countries.

The USIA domestic server can be accessed through or through most search engines on the Internet.

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