The Wall Street Journal posted the following article on their blog:
Employing a full-time babysitter or nanny is in itself something of a high-end child-care option. But every high-end option has a high-high-end option—or several—and the in-home care of children is no exception.
My Journal colleague Robert Frank, of the Wealth Report blog, wrote on Friday about a New York nanny agency that’s offering a state-certified course in nanny management. The course, run by the Absolute Best Care Learning Center in partnership with the household-management school Starkey International, costs $4,000 for 50 hours of instruction in such areas as “nanny-management theory, which teaches a nanny to study a household’s various habits and routines and organize childcare ‘around the overall environment,’ ” and “ ‘hands-on care,’ like CPR and how to care for a newborn or a toddler,” Robert wrote.
While $4,000 may sound like a lot for a child-care worker or an employer to shell out, especially in the current economy, Absolute Best Care noted in a press release I received that top nannying jobs can pay more than $60,000 a year.
In his Friday piece, Robert linked to an MSNBC article about some sought-after categories of child care workers, such as Tibetan nannies, who might well draw that kind of salary. And ever-popular are nannies and au pairs from Britain and elsewhere in Western Europe, as the Journal’s S. Mitra Kalita reported. Yet another training outfit, the British Nanny Academy of Los Angeles, caters to parents seeking that Poppins-esque touch.
Also hailing from Britain, though now based in New York, is Annabelle Corke, co-founder with the Australian Deborah Crisford of a nanny recruitment service called Heyday. Ms. Corke told me Monday that the three-year-old Heyday specializes in uniting discerning parents with the “educated big-sister type” of child-care worker. After an in-home consultation with the parents, Heyday taps its network of largely college-educated potential nannies in an effort to make an effective match, Ms. Corke said.
The words and photos on the Heyday Web site, though, did make me wonder if any of those educated big sisters might happen to resemble my African-American children. Ms. Corke said that “a lot” of the nannies and families with whom Heyday works are white, but she said the company uses no racial criteria. “The main thing is intelligence,” she said. “I don’t care what color you are as long as you have that emotional intelligence and savvy.”
Ms. Corke said Heyday is a relative bargain at $2,000 to $3,000 per successful placement, compared with $6,000 or so at some competitors. More power to them all, I say, but I’m glad that my family was able to find a wonderful full-time sitter 6½ years ago for nothing more than the cost of a copy of a local weekly. Though she may seem to fit the profile of an “ordinary” nanny, as a woman in her 50s from Jamaica, she’s been truly extraordinary for us—warm yet firm with the children, completely reliable and well equipped to shift into more of a household-manager role as both kids are now in school full-time.