References are a kind of a letter of recommendation. You give information on the performances, social competence and personal attitude and capabilities of a person. When somebody would like to make for himself a more precise picture of his desired au pair or of his desired host family he should not hesitate to ask for references.
As s reference maker for an au pair can come in question for example a former or a present host family. Also au pair´s teachers or former as well as present employers can give an information, for example a family in that the au pair had worked as a babysitter. When an au pair wants to get know something about a host family, she/he can question either the former family´s au pair, teachers of the children or employers of the host parents.