Tuesday, March 4, 2008

How's YOUR Nanny?

HowsMyNanny.com is a service run by a New York City prosecutor of child abuse and sex crimes who is also a mother of two. Through this site, parents can now purchase a license plate for their strollers that enables the public to anonymously report good or bad nanny observations. Registered parents instantaneously receive an email alerting them to the confidential report. Featured on Good Morning America, Fox News National and endorsed in New York's Daily News, HowsMyNanny.com has been hailed "an honest solution to a tough problem."

People often inquire how the system can deter fraud (i.e. a nanny sending a false report on another nanny whose job she covets). The system has three safeguards on it to deter fraud:

a. The person making the report has to give the date, time and location of the incident they observed. This makes it less likely that a prankster will try to submit a random report as they would not know which state the member lives in.

b. While the person making a report can choose to remain anonymous to the parent/member receiving the report, in order to make a report, the reporter must provide their name, email address and phone number to the site manager. Therefore, while we call it an"anonymous report", no one is ever truly anonymous.

c. If the same email address makes a report (good or bad) 3 or more times, the site manager is automatically notified so they can investigate the matter.

d. Parents are often pleased to hear that the majority of the reports received since the inception of HowsMyNanny.com have been "not anonymous". This means the reporter provided the parent/member with their
contact information so that they could follow up if necessary.

They are working with the INA (International Nanny Association) and NANC (National Association of Nanny Care) to educate parents on how to effectively interview a nanny and to improve communication between the nanny and parent. Nannies understand that this service benefits the good nanny as the praise reports can lead to bonuses and better communication. It is their hope that the service will ultimately weed out the bad nannies as well.

Jill often tells parents that the license plate acts as a deterrent to any harmful or negligent behavior. In the truck driving industry, when they started putting the How's My Driving bumper sticker on the back of trucks, the rate of truck related accidents went down by 20-53%. Drivers realized that because they were now accountable, they had to drive more safely or risk being reported. That in and of itself is the reason all parents with nannies or babysitters should have the plate on their stroller. Having the plate encourages nannies to behave safely.

They have been informed by various "Mommy and Me" type classes that the teachers occasionally observe behavior by the nannies that is less than appropriate. These facilities have informed us that they do not make it a practice to notify the parent (if they see the parent) because they do not want to make the parent feel uncomfortable and not want to return to the establishment. These facilities encourage the use of the HowsMyNanny.com license plate to facilitate communication in these situations.

Jill Starishevsky is interested in learning how many parents would like a HowsMyNanny.com bumper magnet for their car. Some of the suburban moms have asked for this for the nannies that take the children in the car and we are looking to see if there is a need for this addition to the service. They have been working with a car seat safety expert who is encouraging them to implement the bumper magnet in an effort to improve car seat safety and to deter nannies from talking on the cell phone while driving with children in the car. If you have an interest in this, please comment here! 

How do you feel about the www.HowsMyNanny.com license plate? I'd love to hear feedback from parents and nannies!!

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