Selecting an unlicensed babysitter or occasional child care worker:
River to Coast Children's Services no longer offers a list of unlicensed workers interested in caring for children on a family-by-family basis. We urge parents to carefully interview and check references before leaving a child in care with anyone.
Sources for locating occasional or unlicensed childcare workers may include:
- Local schools (Put a flier on the main bulletin board of your neighborhood schools, if that is allowed by the school administration.) High school and colleges have bulletin boards available for the posting of job opportunities for students.
- Parent groups in your community such as La Leche League, Parents' Clubs
- YMCA/YWCA/city park and recreation departments/agency sponsored children's activities (such as RCCS' Kindergym)
- Churches, post fliers on the community bulletin board.
- Laundromats & stores where families shop; have a postcard with your contact information and child care needs listed for easy networking.
The State of California has regulations that limit the number of children that can be cared for by one person. For people who are not licensed by the state to do childcare, called license-exempt childcare providers, the childcare worker may care for children from one family only at any given time. The following pertains to state reimbursement: If the childcare worker works in your home, as your employee, you will have certain tax reporting obligations for this worker. RCCS has current information on these tax laws, call for copies or more information.
Hopefully you will have several possible child care workers from which to choose. It would be best to be able to interview these people in person. But if this is not possible then you will want to phone interview each of them. Set up your phone interview questions before contacting your potential childcare workers. Remember to be clear and straightforward. Consider including the following topics in your interview script:
Describe the job in terms of exact time, address, number and ages of children and any special circumstances. Ask if the worker has any questions.
Be sure the worker has the qualifications and experience you want.
An opening questions such as:
- What ages of children have you worked with before?
- What do you like best about working with children?
- Tell me something about yourself. This question can yield many useful facts.
Ask for references:
- "May I have the names and phone numbers of two references?"
You will want to:
- Arrange rates and a method of payment.
- Arrange transportation if necessary.
- Remember to leave your phone number so that you can be contacted if any problems arise with any arrangements you have made.
When the childcare worker arrives remember to:
- Leave time when the worker comes so that you can introduce the children and show the worker around home. Show where the first aid/emergency kit is kept.
- Have the safety rules and any special house rules you may have written down and posted, perhaps on the refrigerator (rules such as: no smoking, no visitors, no outside). Show the worker where these rules are.
- Leave the phone number where you can be reached along with emergency phone numbers: 911, doctors name and phone number. Leave phone numbers and names of trusted, close neighbors, friends and/or family members.
- Leave a medical release form so that emergency medical treatment can be obtained if necessary. Include the worker's name, child's name and make sure the release form is signed by yourself and any other custodial parent/guardian. State that the worker is authorized to obtain medical care. Leave any health insurance cards/member numbers that cover your child's medical care.
- Describe your child's routines for eating/sleeping/giving medications. Have these details written down. Make sure the worker understands, and can accomplish, any procedures they may be expected to do to administer any medications.
- Review agreed upon time, transportation and payment arrangements.
- Let the worker know about your child's likes, make child's favorite toys and books available. Have the child choose some books and activities to share with the child care worker.
Remember that caring for children is valuable, skilled and difficult work. Mutual respect is required for a good working relationship with your child's caregiver, so is open communication. State expectations clearly and trust your instinct about people and situations.
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