The Australian Government recently announced a $250,000 million Nanny Trial trial targeting parents in regional areas and shift workers. Currently the detail is being nutted out and we spoke to Annemarie Sansom, Vice President, of the Australian Association of Nannies (ANA), the first body to represent Nannies in Australia under the one banner to get a bit more detail.
Annemarie is a mother of 5 with over 20 years experience in the Early Childhood sector and has seen quite a few changes during her career, but as head of the Australian Nanny Association this could be the most exciting role to date.
When Annmarie first qualified as an educator she became a nanny. She then worked in Long Day Care and when she had her first baby became a Family Day Care Educator. At that time FDC was going through major changes and accreditation to formalise the profession. She has also worked in child protection and is passionate about quality care. “That’s why ANA has introduced minimum standards for membership, it’s so important for professionals working with children in the early years to have qualifications”. “We (ANA) have been going through a 3 year transition introducing best practice and dealing with misunderstandings of what a nannies role is.”
The government is set to roll out a January 2016 nanny trial in select regional and rural areas yet to be confirmed. The plan will see around 10,000 children being cared for by 4,000 nannies and will target the nurses and the police. Some childcare centres have trialled overnight care but it was unsuccessful. Parents were reluctant to use the service preferring to have children stay in their own home and juggling care around their work hours. Kevin, father of two from Brisbane told Daycare Decisions, “my wife is a nurse and can only work friday nights and the weekends as I work business hours and we both have to work to pay the bills”. Some family daycare providers offer overnight accommodation but the difference between nannies and family daycare is that the child will remain in their own home with a nanny.
There are many established players in the child care sector who are unhappy with the idea that Nannies can operate without a minimum child care qualification, outside the National Quality Framework. Annemarie says that “58% of our members are qualified with children’s services Certificates or Diplomas. The remaining 42% are either working towards the current child care qualifications or would like to undertake a nanny specific qualification and have had their prior experience taken into account.” “The government have been talking a lot about how they can undertake quality assurance.”
She highlighted the current child care qualifications are a step in the right direction but they are in discussions to establish a specific nanny qualification. There is currently no accredited qualification for nannies and when you look at it there are some pretty significant differences between care in a centre or your home than in someone else’s home. “Nannies need to be able to cook meals from scratch, be very familiar with assessing risk in the home they are based in and often transport the children,” Annemarie said.
So what should parents look for in a Nanny? Qualifications (early childhood qualification) and experience should be your first short-listing point along-with the working with children check, a Level 2 First Aid and CPR training up to date. Parents should ensure they check references and meet up with the nanny and introduce them to their children. You, your child and your nanny have to click! The ANA also recommends nannies obtain a federal police check, personal public liability insurance and be participating in ongoing professional development. If you are employing a nanny directly check out your responsibilities as an employer or use an agency.