Hi, I need a babysitter for this weekend, as our babysitter is getting married. I don't really want to join an agency as its so expensive - and we already have a regular sitter. I've found someone on netmums - but is it safe? Howe do I check? Is it better just to pay the agency money?
I did a babysitting job for someone from netmums once (don't do this anymore as am far too busy childminding). I emailed her my childminding portfolio, liability insurance form, ofsted registration form, CRB check form etc. so she could see I was dinkum! We chatted on the phone too. We met at her place on the babysitting night and it went very well!
Yes, as you are going to know far more about that person, than if you had someone come from an agency (where you rely on the agency doing the checks).
If the babysitter works in childcare already (which I would suspect they do), then you can ask to see various official documents:
Enhanced CRB Disclosure (CRB Check) Qualification Certificate(s) First Aid Training Certificate
You will also most likely be able to read written references/testimonials, plus the babysitter should be able to give you phone contact details for a few parents for whom they already do work.
You should always meet someone prior to them babysitting - go on your gut instincts when meeting them. See how they interact with your children.
However, given the situation you are in, it may be easier to use an agency on this occasion - as there is not much time to arrange to meet the person you have found on netmums. Also that person may not be very happy to go through the meet&greet process to find that it is a one-off booking. Whereas with an agency, you could pay their membership fee each year knowing that when your regular sitter wasn't available, you have the backup of being able to use an agency sitter.
Sitters is the WORST (followed by safehands!) babysitting agency out there in my experience. They didn't check ANY of my references and have not supplied me with a photo ID card so I could send a friend to a job if I wanted who obviously would have none of my experience/quals!
I personally think finding someone yourself and checking them out yourself makes much more sense as you know it's done!
I have a babysitting check-list here of info to leave the babysitter when you go out (contact numbers etc) and also check-list of what to ask/check in potential child carers if anyone wants it?
PS> I work as nanny/baby sitter and am not a parent.
Where are you theshipscat maybe one of us could babysit/reccommend someone?