When you are using an agency to help with your nanny search it is important to pick a quality agency that has your interests at heart! You want an agency that you can trust and you know will do everything to protect your family. All agencies are not created equal. Research them carefully before choosing one to trust with your search.
1. Make sure they are licensed by the State of Illinois.
All Nanny and Babysitter agencies are required to be licensed by the Illinois Department of Labor. You can request to see their license for proof. The license needs to be current as they are renewed annually.
2. Ask if their employees are licensed employment counselors.
Everyone who speaks to a client or candidate is required to be a licensed employment counselor. This license also requires an annual renewal.
3. Ask about fees.
Illinois agencies are not allowed to charge ANY upfront fees! No registration fees, no Application fees and no Babysitter Club Fees!
a. Ask who pays the fee. If the candidates are being charged you should be careful. The agency then has no incentive to find you the perfect match. If they place someone with you and that person doesn’t work out then you get a replacement for free, but they make more money by collecting again from the new replacement candidate. They actually will make more money from doing replacements than finding you the right person.
b. If the family is the only one paying a fee then the agency has a huge incentive to find the family a perfect match because if they have to do a replacement it costs the agency money!
4. Ask about their screening process.
a. What are the requirements of the agency for candidates?
b. Do they meet the candidates in person and if so are they interviewed individually or in a group by a licensed counselor? Face to face interviews are required by the State of Illinois Department of Labor.
c. When are reference checks done and by whom? Beware of agencies who do not call the references until after you interview the candidates. This is a huge waste of your time because in many cases the references are negative and then you just wasted your very valuable time. References should always be done before you are sent the candidate to ensure you are getting the best candidates possible.
5. What kind of background checks are done and how often?
a. Are they database driven checks or are they court runner checks? Database driven checks are not even close to 100% accurate and can be out of date by as much as 6 months.
b. Make sure they are not just running background checks in your state. If the candidate has lived in multiple states – every state should be checked.
c. The proper checks include:
i. Proof they are legal to work.
ii. Social security check
iii. DMV check
iv. Criminal check
v. Sexual offender check
vi. Domestic physical – The state of Illinois requires that all candidates have a physical exam in the past 12 months.
After asking these questions you should feel 100% comfortable that the agency knows what they are doing and will find you the best nanny. If at any point during a search with an agency you don’t like how they handled something, change. If they cut corners in any way you can be sure they are doing it in other places as well.
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By: Childcare Expert: Erin Krex – President of First Class Care, Inc. – www.firstclasscare.com
2010 APNA Agency of the Year
First Class Care, Inc. is the premier full service domestic placement agency in Illinois . First Class Care places exceptional nannies, newborn care specialists, babysitters, housekeepers, house managers, personal chefs and elder care companions throughout Illinois.