Hiring a Nanny

Allowing someone into your home to care for your child can be a risky endeavor. The International Nanny Association wants to protect your family and give you peace of mind. The Association has several suggestions to aid you in the finding of your nanny.

According to the International Nanny Association (INA) (www.nanny.org), you can look for a nanny in many places, including help wanted ads in newspapers and magazines, bulletin boards and referrals from friends. These approaches can be time-consuming and also can result in negative experiences. The Association suggests that you contact nanny training programs about the availability of their graduates or that you take advantage of the services offered by nanny placement agencies.

A placement agency is a service company that matches the skills and qualifications of nannies with the needs of families looking for in-home child care. The agency charges a fee to locate and screen nannies for you to consider hiring for your family. A reputable agency will carefully consider your needs and preferences when helping you find a suitable candidate. Placement fees range from $800 to $5,000 and should include a provision to replace the nanny or refund a portion of the fee if the placement does not work out within a certain period of time.

As part of its screening process, the agency should verify the nanny candidate’s personal and employment references and previous child care experience. Many agencies also take nanny fingerprints, check for a criminal record, check the driving record and require a blood test, TB test and/or request a doctor’s statement that the candidate is in good health and free of contagious diseases. Some agencies also require psychological testing or evaluation. In the U.S., the agency should verify that the candidate is an American citizen or is eligible to work legally in the U.S.

Just as the agency will want to ensure that nannies referred to you are suitable candidates, for the nanny’s protection, the agency may also ask you for references. Most agencies will assist you in preparing a job description that summarizes your family’s job duties, compensation package and other important considerations.

Many placement agency owners are members of INA, and the Association suggests that you select an INA member if you decide to use a placement agency’s services to help you locate a nanny.