Laura Rojas will not be accepting Culture Care Au Pair’s offer, as of now.
On 4th of July both host parents died in a murder-suicide. Seemingly leaving the au pair with careless procedures from her au pair agency Culture Care Au Pair. A feeling of an Endless Nightmare for Laura leads to restless nights. Laura Rojas, a former au pair of the Talarico family in North Carolina, felt left alone with no support.
On July 11, Laura was placed on a flight back home to Colombia by Culture Care. Daniela, a friend of Laura’s, responded to a comment from Culture Care Au Pair by saying that “…the only thing Culture Care did was sent her back to her home country, that’s the way how you guys solve problems related to Au pairs.” Since July 11th, social media exploded with the #TogetherForLauraRojas movement as the au pair community comes together to support Laura. On July 13 Culture Care posted the following as a comment on their latest Facebook post that’s related to a summer to do list.
Several people responded to the latest post of Cultural Care taking a stand for Laura. Culture Care removed all these comments. Leading to people returning to the post and posting comments once again.
“Offer support” , meaning a small amount of compensation. The program itself cost 3.850.000 pesos. With further cost such as a visa, a drivers license, medical exams and so forth the cost leads up to around 6.000.000 – 7.000.000 pesos. Cultural Care Au Pair offers Laura exactly 3.850.000 pesos.
Right after the trauma that Laura experienced, Culture Care Au Pair had Laura sign documents to protect the agency from any legal actions. Laura explained that “ …I was not in my senses because I did not sleep whole nights. I was not able to make decisions. I feel that July 4 was yesterday. And these eight days an endless nightmare of a thousand questions.”
While Laura was still in the USA she received 1 or 2 online “chat support” with a person she had never met before. Laura felt unsure if the online sessions were real and therefore demanded a personal one on one session from spanish-speaking support. In result Laura received only one personal psychological session. The psychologist concluded that Laura have severe stress because of the events that happened and she’ll need another 11 sessions after that one session. That is 12 sessions in total.
All this lead to Laura not accepting the offer of low compensation from the au pair agency as of now. She is currently busy with the process with the State Department to see how everything evolves. Laura feels that the amount is not enough compensation. She feels that it does not match with what she had planned for her year aboard as an au pair in the USA.
Right now Laura is focused on her own health. Before she concludes any life decisions she wants proper psychological help to support her with the trauma. Once she has gone through the procedures needed, she will make decisions regarding the agency and the situation.
According to Laura’s friends, she still feels that the agency barely cared about her. Apparently the au pair agency back in Colombia was not aware of the situation until her mom contacted them. Laura really felt alone during this time of darkness in the USA.
In conclusion, the questions that arise form this: What happens to au pairs during unplanned events such as this? What are the responsibilities of au pair agencies? Is it not human to take the needs of mental health first in consideration after trauma such as the events of Laura’s story?
Written by Nitanja @ Au Pair Buzz
13 July 2018