Who’s on Your Side? The Importance of Aligning with a Good Nanny Agency

As a nanny agency owner, I’m choosy: I don’t hire every applicant.

As a care provider you should be just as choosy when interviewing with a potential placement agency. If you’re new to the industry, and not sure how to proceed, I’ve compiled some best tips here to offer guidance.

Respect.

The International Nanny Association (INA) says that Nanny agencies should “respect and regard nannies as clients.”  This is great advice! I treat my team of newborn specialists with the utmost of respect in all of our dealings all of the time. Additionally, INA recommends that agencies regard nannies with the same respect as client families by “considering each nanny’s preferences and qualifications when making referrals to prospective employers.” More good advice, so be thoughtful and honest on your registration forms when you choose to affiliate with an agency, so that they can properly place you within the right family. Let them know what hours you want and ask them any questions you may have, such as salary, benefits for in-home child care employment opportunities, responsibilities that you can and can’t do. (Can you lift a heavy toddler? Do you mind doing baby’s laundry and dishes? Are you available for nighttime work?) Be specific and respect the agency’s need in getting as much information as possible, so that they can align you with the perfect clients.

Training.

Unlike with many other service industries there is not one qualified certifying body that sets the standards of care for the childcare industry. In fact, childcare providers aren’t even required to become certified. This is unfortunate because there are many programs becoming available that offer easy “certification” programs. There are no laws governing the qualifications of these programs.

After having reviewed dozens of online (and in person) nanny training programs over the years I was surprised to find that none of these programs followed the guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatrics. I also did not find standard protocols of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) incorporated into these programs. Hospitals and pediatricians should only recognize standards set by the IBLCE.

In 2014, I set out with a team of newborn experts including a pediatrician, board certified lactation consultants, child psychologists and maternal child health nurses to create a training program that is second to none and teaches candidates up-to-date newborn care information. When parents bring their baby home they can be assures that the Boston Baby Nurse-trained care provider coming into the home is on the same page as the pediatrician. This consistency in care is critical for new parents.

Your certification training program should teach AAP standards of care. Caregivers who want to focus their career on caring for newborns should pass a certification program that teaches caregiving standards approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). A Boston Baby Nurse, we only use AAP standards of care.

Similarly, align with an agency that follows AAP standards. It’s essential that we’re all on the same page when caring for infants. Not “Aunt Tessie did it this way and it works” or “my grandmother believes in this.” But ways of care that have been researched, documented and approved. This will offer the baby sound care and will offer you the benefits of knowing up-to-date information, which can only help your career. Many parents I work with do ask if a caregiver has been trained. It’s worth repeating: it’s important to be certified with an agency that is not “old school” but committed to methods of care that have been thoroughly researched and approved by the AAP.

Professional affiliations.

Another way to investigate the reputation of a nanny placement agency is by checking whether it has any professional affiliations. Boston Baby Nurse is affiliated with INA, the International Nanny Association, and APNA, the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies. In fact we’re a sponsor for APNA’s October conference this year. You should also check if a nanny placement agency is licensed, bonded and insured.

About Carole Kramer Arsenault

Carole is the president and founder of Boston Baby Nurse™ providing overnight and daytime newborn care and a wide range of postpartum support services. Her latest book 'The Baby Nurse Bible Secrets Only a Baby Nurse Can Tell You about Having and Caring for Your Baby' is packed with expert advice and information new parents need for pregnancy right through baby’s first three months.For over a decade Carole has guided parents through pregnancy, labor, birth and the newborn period at Boston’s top birthing hospitals including Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, St Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Mount Auburn Hospital. As a parent educator, labor and delivery nurse, and lactation consultant she has shared her expertise on sleep, schedules, soothing, calming and infant development with hundreds of parents as they transition into their new roles. Carole continues to support and educate families through Boston Baby Nurse, her new company Boston Baby Concierge, and through professional speaking on topics such as creating a safe “green” home for your baby and essential newborn secrets from a baby nurse.Carole Arsenault provides weekly pregnancy and baby advice on her blog, contributes monthly maternal and newborn health advice to BOSTONMamas.com, is a contributor for The Bump.com, and has been featured as an expert on Fox News Boston.Carole resides in the Boston area with her husband and three school-aged children.

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