Monday, November 18, 2013

Screening & Selecting a Child Care Provider (My Nanny Diary)

Do you know the most important questions to ask when interviewing a person whom you’re considering leaving alone with your children for hours at a time? 
If not, you're not alone.  Most parents don't know all the pertinent things to ask and look for when selecting the right child care scenario for their family.  Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you.  
Below are links to some articles I’ve found that have a good set of pertinent questions to ask when interviewing the person who will be responsible for your child’s health, safety, and well-being while you are at work.  Each list is specific to the type of child care scenario sought after, so some of the questions overlap.   

A variety of nanny agencies have done well because for a fee, they will take care of the criminal and personal background checks, references, pull up DMV records, and have the individual applying to be a nanny fill out a sea of paperwork indicating her (or his) experience with children, early child development training, her preferred work environment, what licensing and training she has in CPR, First Aid, Medication Administration Training…so parents don't have to do that part of the search.  (I say she, because the vast number of nannies I know are female, but I know there are some males who have also stepped up to the plate to devote themselves to providing excellent child care.)
The first two nanny positions I found out of college were through a local Christian nanny agency that took care of screening applicants and then passing a brief summary of their info and qualifications along to families in their database looking for an independent child care professional.  From there on out, it was up to me to decide with and for whom I wanted to work, the number of hours per week, terms, conditions, fees, etc. of the contract we agreed upon. 
I was impressed by how thorough the questioning, scanning, and screening process was on the agency’s side.  As I believe should be the case, those at the agency and the parents who hired them knew enough about how important it is to hire someone who is reliable, responsible, capable, hard-working, experienced with children and infant development, and basic safety that they wanted to make sure they asked the right questions and got the necessary answers. 
Of course, not every family can afford to pay a fee so someone else will do the proper screening and background checks, so that is often something that falls on the parents to take care of as part of their interviewing process.

The above links can help get you going in the right direction and may very well bring up some issues and concerns that might not have occurred to you.  Also, talking with friends who have found child care they're happy with and networking with other parents in your area can help you narrow down what it is that you're looking for and may help you figure out the best way of finding that person.

In a blog post that will appear in May 2016, I will explain and give links to specific agencies and websites that will tell you how child care providers in your area rate in terms of safety and quality of services provided.
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