Meeting a sitter goes virtual

Meet-A-Sitter, Australia’s first boutique “speed-dating” service connecting parents with prescreened babysitters and nannies, is taking convenience to a whole new level by going virtual. “We understand how busy parents are, that’s why they seek us out in the first place,’’ Meet-A-Sitter founder Mei Koon said. “The virtual initiative has come about after we received feedback that many parents were in a ‘catch 22’ situation; they needed a carer for their children, but had no one to care for them while they came to our events. Skype virtual attendance seemed like a natural solution.’’ Meet-A-Sitter was originally launched in response to Mei’s need for a more effective and affordable way to find childcare options for her son when she was first looking to return to work. “Like many others, we lacked family support, couldn’t afford high agency fees and were on multiple daycare waiting lists. More importantly, we just didn’t have the time to spend reviewing CVs online and setting up one-on-one interviews,” Ms Koon said. Knowing there had to be a better way, Ms Koon transferred the speed-dating concept to the childcare scenario. Since then, her team has interviewed more than 1400 nanny and babysitter candidates and has helped more than 700 families from across Sydney and Melbourne find carers for their children via live matchmaking events. “Personally meeting the babysitters and nannies face-to-face will always be the most effective option for parents. But for those without that choice, we’ve used a combination of tablets and wifi technology to enable parents to virtually attend our events and fully participate as if they were there. They can interview all the...

Criticism around subsidising nannies unfounded

Criticism around subsidising nannies unfounded SYDNEY, NSW, April 17, 2012 – CRITICISM around Tony Abbott’s proposed taxpayer-funded subsidies for nannies causing the childcare industry to become less professional were unfounded, according to Australia and New Zealand nanny support body Cafe Nanny. Cafe Nanny founder and KiwiOz Nannies director, Rachel Lewis, said Early Childhood and Childcare Minister Kate Ellis’ concerns around nannies’ minimum level of qualifications and regulations being non-existent should not be used as a road block. “I understand Kate Ellis saying there isn’t a minimum level of qualifications, but how about the government coming to us – like they have in New Zealand and the UK – and providing funding in order to meet what’s required,’’ the Sydney woman said. She said Cafe Nanny’s study last week of more than 100 Australian nannies showed they agreed to ongoing qualifications and development to be eligible for the rebate. “The problem is, the support is not there for the in-home care at the moment – and they want it to be there. In New Zealand and the UK the government is offering that funding and offering support,’’ Rachel said. She said there were many nannies not paid tax, not receiving super, whose contracts weren’t upheld and who were unqualified. “In turn, if qualified nannies were getting the rebate then the parents would be following the correct tax and legal requirements, because a lot of the time they don’t.’’ She also disagreed with Ms Ellis’ comments on most families not wanting to take funding away from existing childcare funding. “Careforkids.com just did a survey of over 1500 parents, 76% of whom...