International Nanny Association
Visit Our Website | 2011-2013 INA Board of Directors March 2012
In This Issue
  • President's Message
  • From a Boss's Perspective
  • 5 Myths About Background Screening
  • Another Reason to Attend the 2012 INA Annual Conference
  • 2012 INA Annual Conference Charity of Choice

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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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President's Message
By Susan Tokayer, INA co-president

The executive board just returned from Las Vegas.  We had a full day meeting that included discussion aboutSusan Tokayer this year’s conference, and we were able to stay at the hotel where the 2012 conference will be held.

I came back from the trip very excited and looking forward to May!  Our board meeting was very productive, as we discussed our new software, Blackbaud and its features, INA’s finances (which are in good shape), conference 2012 & 2013 and many other items.  We will share this information with you at our annual meeting, which will be held at conference. 

The hotel, Tuscany Suites, is located within walking distance of the strip, but is still removed and quiet.  The meeting rooms are large, the pool is lovely, and the workout center and spa are modern and nice.

If you haven’t registered for conference please remember that early bird registration ends on March 31. This is a conference you won’t want to miss!  I’m looking forward to seeing all of you, my INA friends, in Vegas.


From your boss's perspective...employing a nanny who brings her child to work with her
By Marcia Hall, INA Nanny of the Year and Jennifer Brase, Employer

I have been sharing with you over the last eight months my experience as a nanny who brings her own children to work with her.  I have shared five tips with you so far regarding how I make this work.  But today I have a treat for you.  My employer – Jennifer  Brase – has agreed to answer a few questions about this relationship from her perspective.  What actions and attitudes she takes to make the partnership work from her perspective.  Enjoy!!

Why did you choose to continue to employ the nanny when you learned that she wanted to bring her child to work with her?

Our primary goal as a family was to find someone we felt comfortable leaving our children with. We were looking for someone who would care for our children, who would foster the values we felt were important in developing our children and who would support the education or the school our family was providing. We also were looking for someone who could adapt to our schedule.  Most importantly, we wanted our nanny to be someone we could communicate with, partner with and trust completely.  We felt Marcia was a great match for our family.  We were open to her bringing a child to work, but at the time, did not realize it would happen so suddenly.  I must admit that when we first heard she was blessed with an opportunity to adopt a newborn, we had to step back and assess whether or not we were up to the challenge. Our biggest concern was our children, would they get priority?  Would their schedule drive the daily routine or would the new baby’s?  How could we ensure our children were getting the care and support we were expecting?  I am not sure you can ever really know, but we knew that we felt comfortable with Marcia and if we could all agree to “test” the arrangement and continue to communicate, we would move forward. 

Do you feel the nanny provides the same level of care for your children as she does for her own and she would if her child was not present also and what attributes would you look for that help her to juggle it all?

We believe our children, most of the time, get the same level of care as they would if Marcia did not bring her child to work.  First, as the employer, you have to communicate what you expect.  Unclear expectations can lead to unclear outcomes.  We had to discuss things such as nap schedules, homework routines, and class schedules.  If the employer outlines what is expected, it is up to the nanny to decide whether or not he/she can make that routine work and also bring his/her own child to work.  A nanny has to be open to recognizing that the expectations of the employer need to be met; however, the nanny should also expect the employer to understand the reality of the situation and embrace the nanny’s child.  I would also encourage the nanny to recognize when this may not always be the case, and to find opportunities to spend 1-1 time with the family’s children.  Marcia has done a nice job finding time for our children to have 1-on-1 time with her.

What sort of benefits do you see for yourself and your children in the relationship?

One of the biggest benefits we saw from the beginning was the fact that our children would have to learn how to share.  Our oldest was in school full time, so the youngest needed the primary care. We liked the idea that she would not be raised during the day as “an only child” and would be raised with someone who would almost be like another sibling.  After three years, we can honestly say that the three children are very much like siblings. They have their good days and bad days, but they also love each other.

How do you handle miscommunications or other issues you have with your nanny? 

The best advice when there are potential misunderstandings or issues is to address them immediately. We have found when issues are on our mind the same issues are on Marcia’s mind. Everyone always feels better when things are addressed versus when things build and become more than what they were meant to be. Also, I’d encourage every family to set up time for annual reviews.

What structures do you have in place that ensure things like money and resources are fair because the nanny also feeds her child at your house? 

Our philosophy is not to “nickel and dime” things like food and resources that are shared with the nanny’s child.  However, food and resources are an expense that either the family or the nanny bears.  Our choice has been to provide food for the nanny and her child, and to include the child in things such as zoo memberships, etc.  We then factor those costs in when determining compensation as things provided by the employer. 

Anything else you would like to add?

I do not think bringing a child to work is an easy decision for the family or for the nanny, but it can work.  Our family benefits from the values it teaches our children and Marcia benefits by being able to be with her child full time.  The partnership will only work if expectations are clearly stated and the two parties communicate frequently.  I have encouraged others to consider and I know it can work!

Co-written with Jennifer Brase who has employed NOTY Marcia Hall for three years and nominated her for Nanny of the Year.  


5 Myths About Nanny Background Screening 
By Michelle LaRowe, INA Executive Director

While background screening doesn’t provide a 100% guarantee that a nanny candidate is clear, it does increase the likelihood that a serious problem would be uncovered when the following checks are conducted in combination: criminal checks of all names and locations during the past seven years, a SSN verification, a sex offender search, and a driving record, according to Lynn Peterson of PFC Information Services.

But when it comes to nanny background screenings, there are some popular myths about how to conduct them and put them to use.

Here are five popular nanny background screening myths debunked, and the reasons behind why they are not as true as some may think.

Myth 1. You can’t share information with other agencies about a potential candidate. “Agencies can share information if the information shared is a matter of public record,” says Lynn Peterson of PFC Information Services. “If an agency finds that a candidate has a criminal record or some other serious issue, it might be wise to let other agencies in the same area know about it. While an agency can’t disclose what was said by a reference, they can disclose information that has been gathered through a search of public records,” which includes criminal and civil matters.

Myth 2. Online background screening tools give the same results as traditional background screening methods. Kathy Webb of HomeWork Solutions, Inc., says it depends. Kathy points out that most legitimate pre-employment background screening firms ARE online, but it’s not the online component that is really the issue. The true issue is “whether complied proprietary databases are being used for the search or if original source searches are being conducted at the state or county court level.” Webb says that compiled databases are good “broad reach” searches in conjunction with, but not instead of, original source records searches.

Myth 3. There are no rules when conducting background checks. Bob King of Legally Nanny reminds agency owners that they must comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) when conducting background screenings. “The FCRA has detailed requirements for consumer reports and investigative consumer reports, including consents and disclosures that must be made to the candidate, as well as certain actions that must occur if an agency decides not to work with a candidate as a result of the background check information.”

Myth 4. National record searches are best. Lynn Peterson says not really. “The so-called National Criminal Check or Multi-State Criminal Check is a very flawed database search. The primary sources included are: multi-state sex and violent offender records; incarceration, parole, and release records from prisons; and some state and local county criminal records. While this check provides access to millions of criminal records, it is not a nationwide search and this search is NOT a viable substitute for the criminal checks that are conducted at the state and county level, as there are numerous gaps in this database search and much of the information is not up-to-date.”

Myth 5. You can’t do any of the searching yourself. There are many background screening tools that are available to agencies at no cost. Peterson encourages agencies to use the National Sex Offender Registry ( She also encourages agencies to use Internet research to pre-screen candidates and when doing so, to utilize more than one search engine (Google and Bing are often the search engines of choice) as results can and do vary. Many agencies are now conducting social media research, utilizing Facebook and MySpace.  A new social media source called Pinterest ( has recently become available and may include information on candidates, as the majority of those who are on Pinterest are women, says Peterson.

Background screening is one important tool in an arsenal of a large information gathering toolbox that helps to assess the viability of a nanny candidate. The more accurately and precisely background screening is done, the better the validity of the information gathered.

INA has developed recommended practices for background screening that can help agencies assess their current background screening process. As a reminder, INA member agencies agree to abide by INA’s Recommended Practices as a condition of membership.


Need another reason to attend the 2012 INA Annual Conference? 
By Sharon Graff-Radell, INA 1st Vice President

While I highly recommend attending conferences for the in-depth and industry focused learning that occurs in the workshops, the networking opportunities and the life-long relationships that are formed, I also recommend attending conference because it is a great way to see amazing cities across the country.

Over the past 25 years, I have attended at least 21 INA Annual Conferences in various locations across the States and I’ve also taken some pretty amazing adventures while doing so. I attended my first country music concert and rodeo in Dallas, visited the Grand Ole Opry and learned to line dance in Nashville, saw the Blue Man Group and walked the Freedom Trail in Boston, and visited all of the national monuments when we held our conference in Washington, D.C.

With friends and colleagues I dined close to the animals and toured the famous San Diego Zoo in California and enjoyed southern hospitality in Atlanta. In San Francisco I joined a group who took a trolley tour of the city, while another group headed off to Alcatraz. While in St. Louis I rode to the top of the arch, while in New Orleans, LA I enjoyed Zydeko music and jumbalaya -- not to mention Hurricanes at Pat O'Brien’s.

I’ve seen many amazing shows in Las Vegas and explored a variety of unbelievable hotels on the strip. I’ve taken in inter-coastal viewing of the mansions in Fort Lauderdale by boat and followed it up with a late night swim at the beach. I’ve relaxed by the pool and piano bar in Scottsdale while others teed off at the renowned golf courses.

From a New England clam bake in Stamford to Philly cheese steaks and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia , from touring the Dali Museum in Tampa, to sitting in a hot tub in Vail staring at the Rocky Mountains, I have shared so many cultural and fascinating experiences while attending INA Annual Conferences, more than I can even bring to light.

As I’ll soon retire from the board after 16 years of service, I’ve been reflecting on how much my time with INA has not only helped me to have one of the most successful agencies in the country, but has enriched my life with friends and experiences that I will always treasure.


2012 INA Annual Conference Charity of Choice

INA is proud to partner with Spread the Word Nevada for our 2012 conference charity of choice.
Books are truly magical.
The goal of Spread the Word Nevada is to promote literacy and to make it possible for all of Nevada’s children to experience the magic of books.
Spread the Word Nevada distributes books to elementary schools throughout Southern Nevada. Public libraries are essential centers of learning, but access to books at the library is not enough. The ownership of books is a critical factor in every child’s intellectual development. Young children who own books will read them over and over again, memorizing the stories and learning to follow and identify the words on each page. Spread the Word Nevada puts books into the homes of youngsters and gives them the opportunity to develop their own personal library collections for use at home. These books are kept and treasured.
In the tradition of our conference raffle, we will be donating 50% of our raffle proceeds to Spread the Word Nevada. In addition, we are asking attendees to bring a book (or two or three) of your choice to be given to the charity at the Saturday evening festivities. While not required of attendees, we hope you’ll participate in making our donation go even further with the gift of books. To add even more excitement to the charity, Tonya Sakowicz has placed a challenge to her Facebook friends. She is driving to conference, and would like to bring 100 books with her to give to the charity.
How many books will YOU be bringing? Are you local to the area, or driving? Consider shipping your donation to the charity directly!

To learn more about Spread the Word Nevada visit


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