Post-Election Tips for Domestic Employers

nanny with baby

Now that the election is over and a new administration is preparing to take office, there is a lot of uncertainty about the future. At BANANAS, we work closely with families who employ in-home caregivers—nannies and babysitters—and with the loving community of people who provide in-home care. We know there is fear about the potential changes coming with new poliltical leadership. In response, our friends at Hand In Hand: The Domestic Employers Network put together a list of ways that employers can support caregivers during this time of unpredictability. We encourage you to share this with friends, family, and anyone who may be looking for resources as we enter a new year with a new administration.

From Hand In Hand: The Domestic Employers Network:

Hand in Hand’s fundamental premise is that “the personal is political.” Living our politics begins at home, especially when our homes are someone’s workplace. After the election, many of us feel outraged, sad, and confused about what to do. As employers of domestic workers, who are among the people who have been and will likely be most targeted, one thing we can do is to support women, people of color, and/or immigrants who work in our homes. 

1. Engage in a dialogue (but don’t assume).

Ask questions, communicate clearly, and give the caregivers and domestic workers in your life space to share how they are feeling. We don’t know what’s going on for people at this time, so don’t assume anything about your employee, their immigration status or that of their family members, or how they’re feeling about the election in general. Instead, ask open-ended questions (“How are you feeling about the election?”), and create space for them to talk about about how they’re doing and what they are concerned or worried about.

2. Assure and affirm that you will show up for them and that you have their back.

Let your employee know how you feel about the election, and that you are committed to standing up for anyone who comes under attack with this new administration. Commit to working together to find resources to support them or others as necessary, and make it clear that your home is a safe space. If many of your neighbors employ domestic workers—nannies, housecleaners, or home attendants—consider developing a collective affirmation that you all will show up for the workers in your community. And let them know you welcome hearing about anything that comes up in the future, from specific resources needed to concerns about safety.

3. Provide concrete supports to ensure their health and safety.

  • Check in to see if the person you employ needs any time off to be with family. One of the profound challenges in this moment has been the fearful reaction of children to the election results—even young children. Many of us have had to provide extra love and support for our kids, and in some cases, our caregivers have been the ones reassuring them and providing added emotional support. Let’s make sure they are able to be with their own families as well.
  • If they are afraid of taking public transportation late at night or worried about getting home, offer to order and pay for cab rides, or make sure you or someone you trust is driving or accompanying them home. Again, this can be something you arrange collectively with neighbors or in your community.
  • Offer to help with concrete resources, such as legal support on immigration, advice on health care or other benefits they might be concerned about losing. While this may not be immediately necessary, it is a way to show that they will not have to figure this out alone. Hand in Hand will be providing more information, particularly on immigration, as we learn more about the policies of the Trump administration.
  • Trump will not become president until January 20, 2017. Now is the time to know our rights, and prepare—immigrant and U.S.-born alike—to stand up for each other. Be vigilant of notaries or unscrupulous attorneys. There is a list of trusted immigration attorneys on the Step Forward website.
  • If your employee has DACA and has applied to travel under the Advanced Parole program, they should complete the trip before January 17th. We do not recommend applying for Advanced Parole now. We are waiting for more information.

4. Be a Fair Care employer.

We may be in unknown territory politically, but being a fair employer remains a constant in our homes. Are you paying a fair wage? Are you being clear about your flexibility in this moment? Are you giving them the paid time off they need to talk to lawyers, be with family, or attend community meetings or protests? Find ways to work together and take action now, when so many people might be under attack:

  • Attend a rally or organizing meeting together (invite them, or let them know you’d be interested in hearing about such events).
  • Talk to people who you know also employ domestic workers. Ask if they’ve discussed the election and see if there are shared concerns.
  • Organize a community meeting for workers and employers. We can support you.

P.S. Don’t forget to involve your family members in this effort to support workers in your  home. If you have children, this is a great opportunity to help them practice living out the definition of solidarity.

To learn more about Hand in Hand, visit their website and if you have questions or suggestions, email info@domesticemployers.org

Take Action for Children!

Right now there are three pieces of legislation that have the power to positively impact the lives of children, families, and child care professionals. BANANAS is part of the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, a system of nonprofit agencies that serves every region in the state with important child care and parenting resources. As part of this network, we encourage you to take action today by sending three letters of support to government officials who can make sure that California’s Education Code is up to date (SB 1154), that low-income families have access to a year of child care (AB 2150), and that parents are informed about background checks and safety measures when hiring a caregiver (AB 2036).

Below you will find details of each bill and information on how to take action today.

SB 1154 – The Patricia Siegel Child Care Resource and Referral Memorial Act of 2016 This update will preserve quality consumer education and provider support in California and at the same time will identify components of the recently reauthorized federal CCDBG Act where the state already complies.

To learn more, click this Fact Sheet and then send your letter of support using this Sample Letter.

AB 2150 – The Child Care Continuity Act: 12 Month Eligibility That Supports Families AB 2150 is an extraordinary opportunity to remove unjust and unjustified, red-tape reporting rules that cause eligible families to churn in and out of child care programs; put their jobs at risk; disrupt children’s school readiness and development; force them to turn down job promotions, make it impossible for child care providers to balance ledgers or plan for quality investments while accepting subsidized children; and burden employers and education providers who are required to sign off on endless paperwork.

If you would like to send a letter of support, view this Sample Letter.

AB 2036 – Online Care Job Postings: Consumer Education This bill would require online companies that advertise child care services provided by license-exempt child care providers (ex. babysitters and nannies) to post a statement about the California Trustline registry and, if the service provides access to a background check, a written description of the background check provided to it by the background check service provider.

Here is a Sample Letter as well as a Fact Sheet if you would like to learn more.

Thank you for your support!

BANANAS Offers Child Care Referrals at Room to Bloom!

Great news! BANANAS now offers free child care referrals onsite at Room to Bloom! We are so thrilled to be partnering with this amazing family resource center to bring more services to parents. Held at the Room to Bloom office at Castlemont High School in Oakland, these free, one-on-one referrals will be available every 3rd Wednesday of the month.

Parents will receive one-on-one counseling about referrals and subsidized child care, including what types of assistance are available for families. Referral counselors will also provide information about the parent education program at BANANAS, which includes free support groups and workshops on everything from baby basics to positive parenting to choosing the right child care fit. Says BANANAS Resource & Referral Manager Heather Lang, “We have been working to make this happen for a long time and I am so excited it’s now a reality. I think this is going to be a great new community service.”

For more information, contact Heather Lang at BANANAS (heather@bananasbunch.org, 510-658-7353 x131 ) or Marcie Meadows at Room to Bloom (marciemeadows@gmail.com, 510-545-9470). Pictured above is Room to Bloom Coordinator/Family Advocate Carla Jasso (left), BANANAS R&R Manager Heather Lang (center), and Room to Bloom Site Director Marcie Meadows (right).

Child Care Referral Dates

Every 3rd Wednesday from 9:30am to 12:30pm

Room to Bloom is located at 8601 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, 94605

Blog Special: In-Home Child Care, Background Checks, and Child Safety

When it comes to choosing in-home child care, safety is the number one priority. Parents want to ensure that the nanny or babysitter caring for their child is a nurturing, trusted individual with a verifiable record of safe practices. One of the best ways to screen potential in-home providers is with background checks. However, if you are searching for in-home providers through an online child care posting service and are opting to get a background check through their agency, it’s hard to know what the check will entail since not all screening procedures are the same.

There is only one statewide database with access to fingerprint records at the California Department of Justice and the FBI that is authorized to screen in-home caregivers and parents are encouraged to access this valuable resource. The database is called TrustLine and it is the California registry of in-home child care providers who have passed a background screening. All caregivers listed with TrustLine have been cleared through a fingerprint check of records at the California Department of Justice, which means they have no disqualifying criminal convictions or substantiated child abuse reports in California.

In an effort to ensure child safety and protect consumers, the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network sponsored a bill that would require all online child care job posting agencies who provide lists or profiles of in-home child care providers to offer clients more information about their background checks, such as what is and is not included in the check. The bill would also mandate that information about local resource and referral agencies like BANANAS be provided as well as details about TrustLine.

Parents, if you would like to check if a provider is registered on TrustLine, click here to get started. In-home child care providers, if you would like to register for a TrustLine screening, click here to begin the process.

TrustLine notes, “If a potential caregiver is insulted that you’ve asked [that they get TrustLined], or is unwilling to apply, you should be concerned about this person’s commitment to providing good care. TrustLine is continually updated. Caregivers who have committed a disqualifying crime subsequent to their clearance are removed. So, you should call periodically to make sure your caregiver is still registered. It’s the right thing to do.”

We agree! For more information about TrustLine, visit their website or call 1-800-822-8490.

Five Myths About Child Care

As a new parent, you will no doubt have a lot of different people give you all kinds of advice and information about the best way to care for your child. Some of the suggestions, while well-intentioned, may not always be accurate. Here we offer five common myths and misconceptions to help you separate the fact from the fiction.

Myth 1: It’s never too soon to look for child care.

Reality: Although you can do much of the research on local child care options during the pregnancy (such as talking to other parents, visiting local programs, putting your “to-be-born” on waiting lists, etc.), we advise that you wait until the baby arrives to make a decision. No one can prepare you for how you will feel once your baby is born. Perhaps you planned to go back to work, but your feelings and the baby’s needs dictate otherwise. Secondly, no one can predict what kind of baby you will have: easygoing and undemanding or colicky and in need of special care. It’s smart to think about your options early on, but it’s also important to give yourself time to settle before making a final choice.

Myth 2: Good child care is almost impossible to find.

Reality: Finding the perfect child care fit for your family can be a difficult process, but it is not impossible. Keep an open mind about a variety of possibilities and types of care. And call BANANAS——it’s why we’re here!

Myth 3: After you find good child care, the rest is easy.

Reality: It takes work to maintain a good child care situation through communication and mutual respect. Choosing care is only the first step in the process. Your needs, your child’s needs, and the provider’s needs will change over time. You may need to adjust to new situations and sometimes you will need to find new care.

Myth 4: One caregiver can’t possibly take care of that many children.

Reality: Family child care providers can receive a license to care for six or eight children. With an assistant, they can care for up to 12 or 14. As a new parent who is struggling to get anything done with just one child, the thought of caring for that many children probably seems overwhelming if not impossible. But there are many child care providers who are so well organized that they can manage the daily child care routines and still meet the needs of each child (and parent).

Myth 5: My baby will love the child care provider more than me.

Reality: The first time your baby reaches out for a provider can strike a discordant note in a parent’s heart. But your baby is not going to stop loving you because of being in child care. If your little one becomes attached to the provider, it actually proves that you have made a good choice and that your baby is thriving in the child care setting.

For more detailed information on child care options, click here or give BANANAS a call at 510-658-7353.