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Nannies in San Francisco

One of the most challenging and difficult decisions a parent makes is finding in-home childcare. Whether you are a working parent needing someone to care for your child, a stay-at-home parent needing an extra pair of hands with the kids, or a parent who needs occasional care on weekends, the decision about who to hire and where to find in-home childcare can be time consuming and complex.

There are several types of in-home childcare providers: a nanny, mother's helper, au pair and babysitter. A nanny is someone who comes into your home (live-out) or lives in your home (live-in) and provides childcare for the hours and days you need care (full-time or part-time). A mother's helper is someone who works alongside a stay-at-home parent assisting her in caring for the children and managing the household. An au-pair is a woman from abroad between the age of 18-25 years who possess a legal visa to visit the U.S. for a year and provides a maximum of 45 hours/week of childcare for children over 3 months of age in exchange for the cultural experience of living in the U.S. and a small salary. A babysitter is someone who provides childcare, generally on evenings and weekends. For the purpose of this essay, nanny means any of the above.

Finding a nanny in the San Francisco Bay area requires planning. You need a road map, materials and a timeline to reach your destination. Anticipating and planning ahead make all the difference. For most parents, asking anyone other than family or friends to care for their child can be both an emotional and a pragmatic decision. It can be easy to delay getting started when feeling uncertain, ambivalent, or guilty about hiring a nanny.

The ethnic diversity and quality of life in the Bay area provides a diverse, competent and professional pool of women available to provide childcare. This ranges from students available part-time while completing studies at the local colleges and universities, women who have raised their own children and others 'along the way', and 'career-nannies' with 20+ years experience. However 'care by nanny' is an unlicensed and unregulated market. The parents must ensure that their nanny has met their standards for experience, education/training, health/safety training and a clear driving and criminal record.

It can take 4-6 weeks to find a nanny in the Bay area. A lot of the work can be done prior to your move: sending out announcements, prescreening, checking references, preliminary telephone interviews and gathering documents on interesting candidates. Interviews can be scheduled to coincide with or prior to your move. Most parents meet 3-5 good candidates to make an informed hiring decision. Once you have chosen a desirable candidate, a trial period can be arranged while you negotiate the terms of a working agreement. Some parents prefer to begin the process after they and the children have settled into their new home, become familiar with their neighborhood, and talked with neighbors about their experiences finding a nanny.

Always be certain to call at least three references for your potential candidates and be certain the person you hire has completed infant-child CPR/First Aid training within the past year, tested for TB, and given authorization to check her criminal and driving record. TrustLine Registry trustline.org conducts criminal backgrounds checks on nanny candidates in California. Parents need to be aware of their legal responsibilities to the INS, IRS, and the State of California (workmen's comp).

There is an art to choosing a nanny who 'fits' for you and your child. Every family has their own lifestyle, childrearing orientations and daily routines, and every child has his or her own character and personality. Before starting on this most important venture, consider who your ideal nanny would be - based on who you are as parents, your family life and who your child is both developmentally and idiosyncratically. You may want to consider such factors as age, ethnicity, the importance of having raised their own children, formal education and training, and stability in their personal life. If your nanny will live in your home you may want to consider how these factors may influence your relationship with her and with each other.

Average salaries for nannies and mother's helpers in the Bay area are $13-15/hr (net) with an upward trend to $18/hr. Live-in nanny salaries range from $1,400-2,500/month, plus room and board. Au-pair salaries are approximately $600 per month, plus room and board, medical insurance and agency fees. Babysitters generally charge $8-15/hr based on experience. To offset the high cost of care, some San Francisco families create 'share-care' arrangements. Two families hire a nanny to provide care for both children in one or the other family's home at the same time. Salaries are $8-9/hr. per family. Some nannies will bring their own children with them and charge $11-13/hr.

There are several active electronic bulletin boards to locate potential candidates and post notices about your position. These are Craigslist.com, nannylocators.com, jfcs.org and sittercities.com. Community bulletin boards in San Francisco are located at Parent's Place, 1710 Scott Street (415) 359-2455; Natural Resources, 1307 Castro Street (415) 550-2611; and Day One Center, 3490 California Street, Ste 203 (415) 440-3291. There are also traditional nanny placement agencies.

Finding a Nanny for Your Child in the San Francisco Bay Area is a useful guide to finding good childcare in the San Francisco Bay area. It gives parents a step-by-step approach to identifying what you need in a nanny and helping you find the right person. Finding a Nanny can be ordered at pince-nez.com.

Alyce Desrosiers, LCSW, provides personalized nanny placement services assisting San Francisco Bay area families through the process of choosing trustworthy nannies for their children. She has over 16 years experience working with families and children and has counseled hundreds of parents on how to find caregivers for their children. She is a frequent speaker at Parent's Place at California Pacific Medical Center and Day One Center. Ms. Desrosiers can be reached at 415-331-6264 or alycedes.com.


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