Child care agencies can alleviate some of the stress in choosing a caregiver for your child. Depending on the type of care you're most interested in, you select an agency specializing in locating an au pair (oh-pare), nanny, or household assistant. The agency creates a profile of your family and its needs, and then attempts to find a suitable match for a care provider. For example, if your family travels extensively, the provider you select must be willing to travel, as well. On the other hand, if you're away on business frequently, the care giver should be comfortable assuming sole responsibility for the child while you're away. Conveniently, an agency will be able to advise you on standard industry practices and applicable regulations. For instance, federal laws prohibit an au pair from being solely responsible for children for over 24 concurrent hours. Another plus-- most agencies perform back ground checks on potential caregivers. It's a good idea to request documentation on the search performed, and to examine how extensive the check is. Don't be surprised if the agency requires a thorough history of your family, too. They do this to protect the caregivers from unsafe environments.
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