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Archive for Friday, December 29, 2006

Baby-sitting a careful commodity

Services help parents find reliable help to watch the kids when they’re away

December 29, 2006

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Pat and John Clark were all dressed up and ready to head out the door for a New Year's Eve dinner when the baby sitter called to cancel.

"I felt let down and disappointed," said the 46-year-old former nurse and mother of a 7- and 9-year-old. "It's a necessity to have some social time together without kids."

Whether it's for a night out or to watch their children while they're are at work, for parents, baby sitters are a commodity.

The Douglas County Child Development Association, 935 Iowa, a child-care referral service, enters about 100 to 120 referral requests monthly into its database.

Sunflower Sitters Referral Service, an online baby-sitting service in Lawrence, gives parents such as Pat Clark a choice of seven undergraduate students and one graduate student who have had background checks, reference checks, CPR training and at least two years working with children.

"You've done things for the kids. You've prepared for the holidays. And now it's time to remember yourselves and take time to enjoy being an adult in preparing for the new year," said DeAnn Windibiziri, owner of Sunflower Sitters, who has booked 20 jobs for half a dozen clients since opening last month.

Sunflower Sitters charges $9 to $15 an hour depending on the number of children.

Terionna McIntyre, 5 months, gets a kiss from Robin Barber, director of Kindercare Learning Center, 2333 Crestline Drive, Thursday afternoon in the infant room of the center as Jasmy Mavilla, 9 months, plays with teacher Whitney Blake. The center is one of several in Lawrence that offer child care.

Terionna McIntyre, 5 months, gets a kiss from Robin Barber, director of Kindercare Learning Center, 2333 Crestline Drive, Thursday afternoon in the infant room of the center as Jasmy Mavilla, 9 months, plays with teacher Whitney Blake. The center is one of several in Lawrence that offer child care.

Wilma Wake, owner of Professional Sitters Unlimited, said parents often opt for neighborhood teens who will baby-sit for less than the $7.50 to $9.50 an hour she charges.

"We're finding that parents would rather pay more for housecleaning than they would for good-quality care for their children," said Wake, who points to adult care at $15 to $20 an hour as the more profitable part of her business.

Kindercare Learning Center, 2333 Crestline Drive, a child learning center for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years, has spaces open with rates varying from about $7 an hour for the first day to about $47 for subsequent full days.

Parents also can check for baby sitters who are certified by the Douglas County American Red Cross, which will offer baby-sitter certification training two to three times next year for $30.

Certification includes first aid training, safe-play guidelines, diapering, emergency contacts and feeding, said Kristy Wempe, health and safety marketing director for Douglas County American Red Cross.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital also offers a Safe Sitters course that includes baby-sitting basics.

Comments

Azure_Attitude 7 years, 3 months ago

I think less than 3 years ago. Yes, it has been a while but that experience left a bad taste in my mouth for corporate child care. I took a potty trained toddler there and in months I had a traumatized chronic pants wetter. I wish I would have responded to the signs sooner, but I was thinking too many changes may bad be for him - He's ADHD and they are not equipped for that and should have told me so. Though one of their teachers decided to make a medical diagnosis and tell me he was autisic.

It's ironic that I went there thinking they would provide beter care than a home daycare. No way, 20 kids to two workers - and I paid them a helluva lot more than I ever paid a home daycare. They can't possibly provide adequate care with those numbers. To do otherwise would not be profitable and they are not non-profit. A teacher started to reprimand a child for pushing another child. I had to tell the lady that the other child was the first to do the pushing. They can't see all of what was happening. I also had the school district come in and assess the environment and they saw the same thing.

I believe the AD was fired, I don't know about the actual Director. They still tried to bill me too. I had a collection acengy call me and I told then to rot in hell and they will be lucky if I don't sue them. Any contract I may have had with them was nullified the moment their worker struck my child. There isn't much money is hurting children so I couldn't get an attorney to take my case.

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rollcar 7 years, 3 months ago

Azure -

How long ago did this happen? Was this under the current management?

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Azure_Attitude 7 years, 3 months ago

Watch out for Kindercare. A worker slapped my son on different occassions and it was reported to the assistant director by another worker and nothing was done. How did I find out? When SRS and the Health Department, who were called by a parent who saw one of the incidences, called me to investigate. I had already pulled him by that time because my son was having hysterics about going there. I finally found out why. Kindercare certainly wasn't forthcoming with any information.

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