Beware of Nanny Agencies

Use Care with Nanny Agencies- Los Angeles Times It's perhaps the touchiest decision parents can make: whether to invite a total stranger into their home to look after the kids.Thousands of Southern California families -- those with the financial means, that is -- routinely entrust nannies with this unique responsibility. But finding someone trustworthy is much easier said than done.

You could take your chances with websites like Craigslist, where listings for nannies proliferate. Or, for a fee of thousands of dollars, you could turn to an agency that all but guarantees a hassle-free experience. (Read full article here.)
Thanks to Sue Doe-Nim


Anonymous said...

Agencies are a waste of time in 2008. Since they cannot do anything for you that you cannot do themselves, you best believe they coach their nannies on how to interview and how to answer your questions. Seems pretty deceitful to me.

Anonymous said...

I was just on Craigs List looking at what people are looking for and I sent the questionable posts this:

Have you heard of the blog called I SAW YOUR NANNY?
If you haven't, you must check it out.

There you can report bad nanny sightings anonymously, talk about childcare issues and rant.
The web address is http://isawyournanny.blogspot.com/

And if you need a reminder of why you have to turn every stone over when looking for a nanny or babysitter, do check out Childcare Gone Wrong. ( http://childcaregonewrong.blogspot.com/ )
I'm posting this again because I had a typo the first time around. I think if anyone who peruses Craigs List cut and pasted the above, we might have more sightings. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

In defense of nannies. If you look on Craigslist, most parents looking for help are cheap. I read some employer postings. Alot want a live in nanny to work for $350.00 a week.

atl nanny said...

I thought it was hilarious that the woman from the Elizabeth Rose Agency was so quick to bash nannies found on craigslist. Where do you think agencies like hers recruit nannies? CRAIGSLIST. I'm in the midst of a job search right now and everytime I post on craigslist, I get at least a half dozen responses from agencies (including big-name reputable agencies) asking me to apply and allow them to represent me. Parents who find me through one of those agencies could save themselves thousands of dollars by just checking craigslist.

Jane Doe said...

143, I think that idea is awesome and I thank you. Yes, we could always use more sightings. We have a ton of recurring traffic, but our sightings have been a bit lagging lately. I need to find ways to reach people who have yet to hear about ISYN. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Excellent idea. Hopefully you will make a difference!

Anonymous said...

I am a nanny and I signed up with a agency 3 years ago, and you know how many jobs they have gotten me? ZERO ZILCH NOTHING NADA! they are a crock of shit. All the familys looking for a nanny they go and post thier info on craigslist looking for a nanny for them. Im in san diego and all the nanny agencys post up familys on there. so i think the agencys are a crock of shit. i have found all my jobs on craigslist and gotten more than i would with the agency. Im san diego california btw

Sue Doe-Nim said...

I'd totally hire you darlin'

It sounds like you might drink and smoke with the kids as well as cuss.... mutherfucker...

a texas nanny said...

I use two agencies in Austin, TX. While neither is exactly too terribly supportive of the nanny if/when issues arise between them and a family (in my experience at least, though all my jobs have been temporary/part time work that wasn't under contract- maybe that makes a difference), I do know that they aren't deceitful the way many agencies in other cities that I have heard about are.

Both ran background checks on me, checked my references (3 at least; all had to be within a certain amount of time, going back I think at least 5 years), had me fill out extensive online applications, had in-person interviews. One had me take a little childcare test online and also asked me how I would react in different scenarios (i.e. kid gets hurt, kid has allergic reaction, etc.). One gave me a packet of all agency guidelines along with some tips, ideas, how to deal with tantrums, etc. NEITHER practiced interviewing with me or primed me for an interview, neither have "pimped me out" to families in order to make a placement fee, neither have offered to falsify references for me or suggested that I lie about my experience, etc. The only thing that comes close in that one of them told me that when I go on my very first sit job, if the parent happened to ask if it was my first job with the agency, to not admit that it was but rather be like "I have years of childcare experience."

I don't know about agencies elsewhere, but when I have kids of my own, unless there is family or a close friend who can take care of the kids for a night or whatever, I would definitely use one of the agencies I work for now over a Craigslist post or a newspaper ad or whatever.

Anonymous said...

Modern day nanny agencies are much like organized crime of the 80's except less organized and run by total idiots.

maggie said...

Nanny agencies are motivated by money. They will cut and carve the pieces to make the puzzle fit together. They don't care who gets hurt when the puzzle comes apart, so long as they have your check in hand. And then, good luck trying to get it back!

Been there. Done that.

Anonymous said...

Re: agencies, from a nanny's perspective
Pros: They save time up front by providing candidates for interviewing who fit the employer's basic requirements. (Parents still need to interview thoroughly, and speak at length to all references!)
They usually provide sample contracts.
They are required (in NYC anyway) to inform employers that they must pay on the books. Most will provide information and advice on how to do this.
A good agency will offer follow up advice after the placement to both employer and nanny, if problems arise.

Cons: The agency is paid by the employer, therefore they are not invested in finding the nanny the job she wants. Frequently the best qualified nannies with the most experience are sent to families the agency considers difficult to please, or hard to work for. For this reason, many top nannies prefer to find jobs on their own, and consider agencies a last resort.

Craigslist: You will have to vet many unsuitable, even crazy postings and responses, but terrific nannies and wonderful employers do find each other on CL. Post as detailed a job description as possible. Conduct an initial interview by phone. Good Luck!
UES Nanny

Anonymous said...

Ole Claudia really screwed herself, huh? And the Puck's are only hiring nannies that make less than executive assistants in this town? Why would anyone work for them for only 40k a year?

I wonder if Gehlia is still spouting that royalty line. I wouldn't give them the time of day personally.

As for the Elizabeth Rose agency, we're out here, you just have crap jobs. 40k may have been good about 15 years ago, today it's less than average in this town. We're not "settling" for 60 hours at 40k a year, it's not cutting it.

cali mom said...

Just read the whole article. Ms. Puck, whining and crying in horror on the realizatioon that it is HER responsibility to verify and interview the references for a nanny she wants to hire, is as dumb and tragic as that ignoramus cow at Great America whose 4 year old son drowned because she was sitting hundreds of feet away munching on potato chips and reading a magazine while he played ALONE in the wave pool and stated indignantly that she wanted people to know that they had better watch their children in the wave pool because "Great America doesn't do their job".

I'd say anyone who hires someone to care for their children based on one voil-mail message deserves whatever they get, but unfortunately it is the innocent children who are bound to get it instead of the idiot parents.

Anonymous said...

Reputable nanny agencies conduct far better background checks than most parents or online services can.

Online job listing services can give parents a false sense of security. Many online services only allow parents to conduct a computerized LexisNexis background check. That Lexis/Nexis check covers just 38 states, but some online job listing services call them “nationwide.”

Top notch household staffing agencies require that computer check and much, much more on each job candidate. Most quality agencies hire a seasoned professional to conduct their background checks. You can read in detail about what a thorough background check entails on the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies’ web site at: http://theapna.org/blog.

Quality nanny agencies also meet each nanny candidate in person and check the candidate’s references and resume. Online job listing services often do not check qualifications or references. They simply advise parents to perform those tasks.

Careful, experienced household staffing agencies are the best way to protect children, but they also protect the adults involved in the process. A responsible staffing agency only sends people who have been screened to someone’s home for an interview.

Do some homework on nanny agencies before you choose one. The fee you pay will increase the chances you will find a nanny who is right for you and will be in your employment for as long as you want. The agency will also help you navigate your tax requirements and options, and ensure that you have a contract with the nanny that will help you avoid misunderstandings about his or her responsibilities.

SDNanny said...

I am also a San Diego nanny and I have found two jobs through Craigslist. While both families were/are extremely nice, they don't pay top dollar. There is one really awesome woman who owns an agency in San Diego and I will definitely go through her next time. She meets with each nanny and family for an in-depth interview and that is the key.

Denver Nanny said...

I am a full-time nanny and I've gotten my last two positions through agencies. Families who can afford to pay over $10/hour, offer benefits, and want a safe, reputable nanny with excellent references go to an agency. Most of the postings I see on Craigslist (Denver area) are families who want 40 hours a week for less than $400. I've seen many wanting full-time care for $200 a week! A very VERY few are families who have been unable to find a nanny through an agency because they have a complicated situation--or are unpleasant to work for. An agency provides verified references, background checks, driving histories, and interviews the candidates saving the family hours of work--and I'd like to know what agency charges "thousands" in fees! btw-I've never had an agency staff member "coach" me in any way. WHy would they risk their own reputation by sending someone unsuitable for the position!

Denver Nanny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Denver Nanny said...

and such hateful comments about agencies!! Maybe you just went to the cheapest one--but I still can't imagine an agency staying in business if they were anything like some of you posters are suggesting! Have you ever tried trying to find a full-time postition on craigslist? for that matter--Have you actually worked with an agency, or are you passing on rumors and urban legends as factual personal experiences? ANd for the nanny who said agencies are s**T and never gave you work: Why would they possiby want such a vulgar person representing them?!?!

Jane Doe said...

I kept in contact with the woman who ran the nanny agency that I attained my second nanny position through. When she needed to go out of town for a period, she hired me to check in on her office. I spent a few days before she left and a few days after she left with her at the office and I have to say, I was mortified by what I saw.

Background checks that were guaranteed complete but never done. As a result, one employer had a nanny's ex husband call him up and warn him about her felony arrests. (Verified to be true). At that point the agency director lied through her teeth and told him she had conducted a background investigation. In an attempt to secure her $3500 placement fee, she helped a dimwitted stripper aquire a position she was in now way qualified to hold. (Dimwitted is the kindest term I could use).

Beware of nanny agencies? Hell, yes!

UmassSlytherin said...


helpme said...

I have a very serious question here & don't know what to do. I'm a nanny of 13 years with a BA degree & extensive long-term experience. I was looking for a new job & posted myself on craigslist (I've never used an agency, always gotten work via word of mouth or online). The next day a local agency contacted me & said they have this great job just for me & wanted me to come in to fill out paperwork & meet the family. So I did. On my application it asked about my driving record & I wrote on there I had speeding tickets on my driving record. No issue. So they sent me on the interview & they loved me. Brought me back for a 2nd interview where we discussed hours, pay & my start date. Due to this I turned down 2 job offers I had w other families. After all of this the agency ran my checks & inaccurate information came back on my criminal record. Instead of verifying it and then telling the family...they told the family and then told them it was a mistake (wrong birthdate). Then they acted shocked when I had the speeding on my driving record and told the family. After all this nonsense the family said "we'll pass" on her (me).
So now I am unemployed, have turned down jobs and feel like I should sue the agency for lost wages & defamation of character. I don't understand why they didnt run all of my checks before they sent me out to families & acted like they didnt know about my speeding tickets. I also dont understand why they didnt verify the information before telling the family about it (it was in a different state and not my age or birthday but same name). What should I do?

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