As families move away from family due to work, education, or other reasons they are more reliant on child care of strangers whether it is a day care center, a date night babysitter, or hiring a full time nanny. Finding a provider that is either a child care agency or a babysitter placement website, a neighbor, or day care finding child care has more choices for parents than ever before.
If parents choose to work with an agency they need to ascertain what they need as a family, what can the agency provide, and if it satisfies what they are looking for. If you choose the correct agency for your family you will never worry about the child care professional they send your family no matter who it is.
How to Choose a Child Care Agency:
- Trustworthiness is the most important option to consider. How do they recruit, vet, and ensure your children's safety while you're away. Are you able to contact someone directly and build a real relationship with the agency or are they just a business and your family is just a number.
- Check their reputation in the community. Check their Google, Facebook, and Yelp ratings and what are their current clients saying about them. No agency is perfect so make sure you read both good and bad reviews and if it is a bad review did the agency respond appropriately? Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter if you can. If they have accounts on social media that will help in finding out more about who they are.
- Locality is important too. Why? If they are local the child care professionals that they send are more than likely personally known by the agency that they send to you. This is important because the child care professionals actually feel accountable to a person in the agency they will do a better job. It promotes loyalty of both families, and child care professionals. They are monitored as to their timeliness, dependability, and the care they provide.
- Responsiveness. Responsiveness is important. If office hours are only 9am-5pm what happens if you need someone due to illness either by your current full-time nanny, or your child comes down with something, can't go to school the next day, and you need to go to work. Most agencies aren't open 24 hours a day but they should be open for service at least 12 hours a day. Also, when you need child care how are you able to contact them, and how fast do they respond back to you? Is your contact answered by a person that works there or an answering service? Do you feel like you are contacting a person or a bot of some kind? Responsiveness to you and your needs will assist you in feeling like you're cared for and that you aren't getting lost in the cracks. You are trusting an agency that believes in community or is their bottom line the most important and not your family.
- Hands-on agency. How do you feel when you contact the agency is very important. If you feel that they just recruit and hire everyone that applies and they have no idea who the team of babysitters are, that everyone can be a child care provider, they don't expect a level of professionalism from their team, than, in my opinion, they don't care about your family, your needs, and most importantly the care your children get. It takes a special person that loves taking care of children that are not their own. Even mom's who work as child care workers may not be that good at taking care of children that aren't their own. If a child care professional is simply using screens to entertain your children you are not getting what you are paying for. Child care, nannies, and babysitters are not a career but it is a profession and the agency you choose should understand that.
Child care isn't what it used to be and families need much more than just someone to come and hang out with the kids. How you choose child care is a very individual decision. Child care professional should be able to provide you a level of professionalism in child care that you may not be used to but it should be what you should expect.