The European Committee for Au Pair Standards (ECAPS) was established in April 2006 with the objective of defining au pair standards within Europe. ECAPS aims to establish one set of rules and guidelines for au pairs, host families, pair agencies, and national au pair associations.

Existing recognised European national au pair associations participate in ECAPS.

One seat is available on the committee for each European country. National au pair associations wishing to join the committee are required to meet the participation criteria.

In addition there is an advisory board to support the committee’s activities.

ECAPS activities include discussions and lobbying with the Council of Europe, the European Commission and individual governments.

ECAPS aims to realise standardised definitions for au pairs, host families, au pair agencies, and national au pair associations across Europe; creating a common platform for the development of quality au pair programmes throughout Europe.


  1. Lobby to ensure the au pair sector is recognised within European countries as a cultural exchange programme
  2. Establish guidelines and minimum standards for a European au pair programme, including definitions of au pairing
  3. To increase public awareness of the European au pair programme within its individual countries
  4. To promote the au pair sector and support the formation of a national associations active in the au pair industry
  5. To secure mutual understanding and co-operation between national au pair associations
  6. Where possible to assist in the development of au pair programmes in countries where they do not exist or are newly developed
  7. To encourage governments and official bodies to sanction au pair programmes to and from countries within Europe.


ECAPS has drafted a set of definitions, rules and regulations pertaining to au pairs, host families and au pair agencies.

Within this uniform set of standards each individual European country will implement their au pair programme.

National au pair associations or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the au pair sector are (to be) established, where they do not already exist, in order to assist, stimulate and control correct implementation of these definitions.

The booklet is currently available in English, French, Italian and Spanish, and will also be made available in German in the future.