International Nanny Association
Visit Our Website | 2011-2013 INA Board of Directors January 2012
In This Issue
  • A New Year, a New and More
  • Understanding the Cause: DWU
  • Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

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INAVision is a publication of the International Nanny Association (INA). All rights reserved. The editors reserve the right to edit articles as submitted and reserve the right to publish material accepted for INAVision  on our website or in any other official INA publication in virtual space or otherwise. Photos, letters, arts and story ideas are welcome.

The articles published in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the INA as a whole; rather, they reflect the opinions of the authors who have written them. This publication is intended to serve those interested in in-home child care by providing a forum for different views on relevant subjects, as well as INA information. The advertisements in this newsletter do not imply endorsement by INA of any particular product or service and INA does not assume responsibility for advertising content.

Copyright 2012 INA
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A New Year, A New and More
By Michelle LaRowe, Executive Director

For the past year, we’ve been working behind the scenes to improve your membership experience. From upgrading our website to increasing tangible membership benefits, we’ve been strategizing ways to increase your connection to INA.

A sampling of new membership benefits include:

  • Expanded member directory listings   
  • Online account management
  • Members only message boards
  • A new member logo
  • 20% discount on eStore purchases
  • Monthly newsletter.

New for 2012 will be a job board on With the job board, standard and supporting members will be able to post job listings that are searchable by both members and the public.

To take advantage of membership benefits, including discounted conference registration rates, use of the job board and access to members only content, you must register for INA’s Online Community.

If you have not yet created a username and password for, please email the Membership Services Office at for instructions on how to create your account.

Understanding the Cause: DWU
By Susan Tokayer, INA co-president

This past November 4-6, I had the honor of attending Nannypalooza. It was a wonderful, well-organized conference and the first Nannypalooza I’ve ever attended. I am so happy that I made the decision to go, for a variety of reasons: the networking opportunities, the fun, and the sessions. 

            One of the sessions I attended was a panel discussion with representatives from Domestic Workers United (DWU).

Domestic Workers United, as you probably know, was founded in New York City in 2000. To learn more about their organization you can visit their web site:

            The panel’s intention was to provide information regarding their movement and their organizational goals. I attended the session, already knowing much about what the organization is doing and who their constituents are. However, being able to discuss issues with the DWU panel, listening to questions posed by the audience, and hearing the responses from the panel proved to be incredibly educational. 

            Admittedly, my impression of the DWU movement was negative before I entered the session. I left with those feelings reinforced, and I will tell you why. 

                One of the most disturbing things about DWU is that they manipulate terminology so that what they say isn’t exactly what they mean.  For example, representatives often refer to their constituents as “immigrants,” and claim (throughout all of their literature and on their web site) that these immigrants are excluded from and not protected by labor laws.

                If you visit DWU’s web site and read these types of claims you may initially think, Wow, these people are looking out for a group of people that are unprotected.  But, when you investigate further you will find that when DWU uses the term “immigrant” they refer to a specific group of immigrants only: undocumented workers. Undocumented workers (90% of DWU’s constituent base) are individuals who are in this country illegally and are not eligible to legally accept employment.  Immigrants who are in this country legally, of course, have the same worker rights and protections as anyone who is legally able to accept employment in the United States.

                DWU also claims that they have helped implement laws that didn’t exist before they advocated for them. For example, the “domestic bill of rights” law that passed in N.Y. state last year was in fact already in existence. Prior to the passing of this law, domestic workers were already entitled to 1½ times their pay beyond a work week of 40 hours and they were already entitled to workman’s compensation.  Part of the “new” law that was passed requires that domestic workers receive a minimum of three days’ vacation after one year of employment. This is substandard in our industry, where most nannies receive a minimum of two weeks’ vacation each year.

                While I could go on about the distortions present in DWU’s message, my intent is to encourage you to do your own research before backing their cause. As you research, you will not find one mention of the importance of quality childcare or the importance of children being cared for by qualified, responsible caregivers.

                Since 1985, INA has striven to educate the public about the importance of quality in-home childcare and the importance of conducting thorough background screenings on potential caregivers. We have published recommended practices for nannies, families and agencies, developed criteria for quality background screenings and developed exams to test the knowledge of potential caregivers. If you were to summarize one of INA’s primary goals it would be that all children are safe and well cared for, a goal that doesn’t seem to be included in DWU’s mission or message.

                I believe much of DWU’s movement is not going to do anything to change our industry in a positive way.  In fact, I can only see a negative impact for quality caregivers that now have to compete for a job that an undocumented worker is likely to accept at a lower salary. It is truly unfortunate that a movement with tremendous momentum is not working towards positive change for our industry.  Imagine if their message instead was that we need more quality, low-cost education available for nannies so that they can improve their skills, or that we need more tax incentives so that parents can afford quality childcare.

                The representatives of DWU who were present at Nannypalooza expected and desired the support of all those present. Until the mission and rhetoric of this organization changes I can’t offer my support. Can you?

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone … One Baby Step at a Time 
By Glenda Propst

Nannies have a rich and lengthy history that spans hundreds of years. The title and job duties of a nanny have evolved and continue to evolve even to this day.

The professional nanny movement that began back in the early 1980's culminated in 1985 with the founding of the International Nanny Association. As a founding board member of INA, I realize that my roots and commitment to my profession were solidified within this association.

I had always been committed to what I did. I had always been dedicated to improving my profession. But being able to connect with other professionals from across the United States and even abroad, introduced a whole new frontier to this country girl who grew up in a small Midwestern town.

Being involved with the nanny profession on a national level has taught me many lessons. Some lessons have been harder to learn than others, but the most important lesson that I have learned is that as far as our profession has come, we still have so far to go.

I belong to the pioneering generation of the professional nanny industry. My involvement with INA connected me to a bigger part of the nanny world and made me realize that I could not simply be an observer of our industry; I had to step out of my comfort zone and be a leader within it.

I can't tell you how important it is for each of us to be involved in our profession in a bigger way. While we may say that we want the nanny profession to be recognized, respected and revered, for that to happen it requires each of us to step out of our comfort zone.

The nanny industry is multi-faceted. The issues that we face as nannies are different than the issues agencies and educators face, but as an industry, we need to work together to change the future. While we may not always agree on everything, we can agree that there is work to be done and if we want results, we have to do the work together. As members of our industry, it is up to us to push towards our common goals that will result in progress for our industry.

I cannot imagine how different my life would have been if I had not been influenced, supported, encouraged, enlightened and inspired by the people I met when I stepped out of my comfort zone. As professionals, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves on industry issues and then to speak out or take action.

Make your profession a priority. Keep educating yourself; keep learning and never stop growing.

I encourage you to make plans to attend the INA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada May 3-6, 2012. If you are new to INA and you have never attended an Annual Conference, you are eligible to attend at 1/2 price. If you are a current member who has never attended an Annual Conference, there will be several scholarship opportunities I urge you to take advantage of. The Annual Conference room rates are extremely reasonable this year and Las Vegas is a wonderfully fun location.

So this year take a chance. Step out of your comfort zone and attend the 2012 INA Annual Conference.

It just might change your life. 

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