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Au pair rules to change

By CompiledElisabetta ColettiCarleton Cole, and Lane Hartill / April 21, 1999

In the fallout of the Louise Woodward murder trial, the US Information Agency is proposing stricter regulations for the au pair program. The rules are to strengthen oversight of the program, which critics argue is more of a child-care-placement resource than a cultural program. The rules, announced April 13, will take effect after a 30-day public comment period. Changes would require:

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*Host families to interview prospective au pairs.

*Au pair agencies' annual reports to the USIA to summarize complaints about au pairs or host families.

*Families and au pairs to receive information designed to avoid misunderstandings about the program's purpose.