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How do I select a nanny agency? Do I need a nanny agency?

Nanny placement agencies are wonderful resources of families who are new to the entire "nanny scene" and for families who do not have the time, skills, or inclination for the entire nanny recruiting and screening process. Famlies hiring without an agency typically find they spend a total of 40 - 80 hours on the process over a period of one or two months before they actually start their nanny. The hiring process includes advertising/recruiting, screening, interviewing, reference checking, background checking, making the offer and writing up the nanny's work agreement. Much like the "dating scene", hiring families will kiss a few frogs before they find their Nanny Poppins.

Nanny referral agencies exist in all areas of the country. Your first stop in locating a nanny agency is this site - the database of agencies on is the most comprehensive available anywhere. Also available to help you here is advice on Interviewing the Nanny Agency.

Families are advised to thoroughly research an agency's specific nanny screening process and their policies regarding fees, replacement and guarantee. Understand the agency's role after placement. Are they available for consultation if a problem or question arises? Is there continued support for the nanny? Find out exactly what service the agency provides. Do not expect all agencies to do the the exact same things, but understand their whole placement process. Does the agency interview all nanny candidates personally or over the telephone? What is the depth of the background search and reference check? Depending on your needs, you will want to know about accessibility of the agency staff. Will you get an answering machine or a person when you call during business hours? Each agency operates with their own philosophy about their role in the placement process. Ask them to articulate that.

Affiliation with a national trade association such as the International Nanny Association (INA) or Alliance of Professional Nanny Agencies (APNA) demonstrates the agency's commitment to the in-home child care industry. Although these organizations have no enforcement mechanism, their members sign on to abide by Standards of Conduct and Recommended Practices.

Hiring a nanny is a very personal process and you should feel comfortable with the firm you select to assist you.

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