The notion that Nannies should see themselves as professionals, and be regarded as such by ourselves and our clients, lies at the heart of our philosophy.
Historically, our ability to share this philosophy has been limited geographically. We are based in Melbourne. We insist on face-to-face interviews as part of our recruitment process, and we also insist on visiting the homes of potential clients in order to understand their needs. As a result, the provision of our services is restricted to the Melbourne metropolitan area.
In the meantime we looked around Australia and, frankly, got quite frustrated at the general state of in-home care around the country.
While there are obviously exceptions, there are too many examples of agencies that cut corners in recruitment and/or placement of Nannies; Nanny employers who push the boundaries in the tasks that they expect their Nannies to perform; and Nannies who are poorly trained and/or unaware of their rights.
Which is why we’ve recently established Just Family. A web-based service that will help parents all over Australia to find a Nanny to suit their needs.
At its simplest, it is an online database with which Nannies can register their details and present themselves to potential employers. For a monthly fee, parents then search this database when they need a Nanny, and they can review potential candidates’ resumes before interviewing them. A rating system allows parents to rate the Nannies they work with, and Nannies to rate their employers – both in the interests of transparency.
We have designed the site to allow Nannies to share their backgrounds and skills in some detail, and for employers to be clear about precisely what they need a Nanny for. For instance, parents can specify whether they are looking for a Nanny on a casual or full-time basis, a Nanny with experience with a particular age group or even a Newborn Care Specialist to assist with a newborn.
What’s different about Just Family compared with other online ‘find a babysitter’-type sites is that it is backed by Placement Solutions, an agency that has been leading the industry since 1988.
This gives parents the opportunity to move seamlessly between Just Family and Placement Solutions should they find themselves qualifying for government-supported in-home child care (or vice versa). It also gives newer Nannies the chance to build a relationship with Placement Solutions even if they are unable to hire them directly – say because the Nanny is yet to gain sufficient experience to meet their selection requirements.
The Just Family website provides a wide range of advice for both potential employers and Nannies. In particular it offers parents tips on selecting the right Nanny, and Nannies hints for interview preparation. It provides both employers and Nannies with advice on their rights and obligations, strongly emphasising the need for Nannies to be legally employed and not paid cash.
All in all, we believe that Just Family provides a much-needed platform for professional Nannies, particular those early in their career, to link up with right-minded families in need of a Nanny for the short or long term anywhere in Australia.
It’s not quite our perfect world, but it’s a step in the right direction!