Trust & Safety
Setting the standard for online child care since 2001
Since our founding, millions of families and sitters have trusted Sittercity to help them find child care or job opportunities.Along the way, we’ve developed processes and tools to help our community make decisions with greater confidence. This commitment carries through every step of the process: from educating our members on best hiring practices to collecting detailed ratings & reviews after working relationships have begun.
It starts with a strong community
Rating & reviewsSee other parents’ perspectives on a caregiver’s performance and personality. Chances are, they care about many of the same things you do!
Detailed sitter profilesThe information you need to determine if a sitter is a qualified candidate for your family: from work history and qualifications to background check status, references and rates.
Easy interviewingMost families prefer to interview their favorite candidates before hiring. Sittercity lets you schedule an interview by phone or in person with just one tap.
The right tools & processes
Access to screening toolsParents can request a background check or motor vehicle records check for any sitter. Sitters can also run screenings on themselves to enhance their profile.
Family Watchdog screenAll members are screened through the Family Watchdog database, both with the information provided at registration and continuously thereafter. It is important to keep in mind that sex offender searches are subject to limitations and may not reflect an individual's entire sex offender history.
Sitter identity authenticationSitter identities are authenticated at registration by Experian, who compares user information against publicly available data. This helps us determine that the person you are speaking with is a real person.
Secure messagingOur messaging system doesn't share full names or contact info, so families and sitters can get to know one another before they connect offline.
User reportingBuilding a trusted community is important and requires teamwork. From profiles, messages, and job posts, users can submit reports and our dedicated team will take each one very seriously.
Scam preventionWe use a combination of predictive analytics, machine learning and regular, qualitative review processes to help identify and remove nefarious users quickly. Users are encouraged to report suspicious accounts.
Hiring with confidence: tips for families
Post a jobOnce you post a job, you will begin receiving applications from available sitters in your area. The more details you include, the better your options will be! Many parents include the number and ages of kids, details about kids (special needs, allergies, etc.), additional duties (transportation of children, light cooking, cleaning, etc.), and caregiver requirements (CPR certified, years of experience, etc.) to maximize their responses, in addition to following these job post best practices.
Screen potential candidatesReview the profiles of sitters who have submitted applications to your job. Sitter profiles are the place to view background check information, work experience, previous reviews, pay rates, and references. Alternatively, you can reach out to other sitters in your area that are a good fit. For jobs that have high risk or special needs requirements, we encourage parents to review sitter certification documents.
Upgrade to access contact toolsOnce you have a list of sitters you’d like to contact, upgrade your account to premium if you haven’t already. This will allow you to access our direct messaging system, contact sitter references, and purchase background checks on a sitter. We encourage all of our members to keep communications on the platform even after a relationship is developed.
Interview your top candidatesWhen you have connected with a few care providers, schedule face to face or phone interviews. Not sure what questions to ask? Read the babysitter interview checklist for tips from parents like you.
Verify your sitter’s backgroundAfter final interviews, it’s a good idea to purchase a background check, contact a sitter’s references, and verify the sitters credentials/certifications. Most parents choose to process the most comprehensive background check offered, the Enhanced Background Check, because of limitations found in other background checks. If parents plan on sitters driving their children, they often purchase a Motor Vehicle Records check as well. We highly recommend you review the details of what is covered by the background checks we offer through Sterling Talent Solutions.
After hiring, monitor the relationshipOnce you’ve hired a sitter, observe them on the job to ensure they’re meeting your expectations, and keep communications frequent. When you get home, ask for a brief progress report on how the day went. It’s also a good idea to ask your kids how they’re enjoying their time with the sitter; their reactions or feelings could reveal a lot about what’s happening when you’re not around.
Working smart: tips for sitters
Build a great profileYour profile is a parent’s first impression of who you are. This is the spot to let parents know about previous work history, skills, and to make yourself stand out! Start by uploading a profile photo that is professional, current, and inviting. Providing references for parents to contact and completing background checks are other great ways to catch the eye of potential employers.
Review job details before applyingReview each job listing carefully before applying or responding to families who reach out to you. If something is unclear, we encourage our sitters to ask families questions! Once families receive your job application they can open up a conversation. At times, families may prefer to reach out to sitters individually rather than posting a job. When this happens, it’s a great time to ask questions about the job details.
If something looks too good to be true in a job listing like an abnormally high hourly rate, it probably is. Please reach out and report any suspicious accounts.
Protect yourself from online scamsEvery so often, a scammer is able to subvert all our technology on Sittercity. We encourage all of our members to keep communications on the platform even after a relationship is developed. By keeping all communications on the Sittercity platform, and by looking out for suspicious parent requests like “we’ll pay you upfront”, “you can work from home on the computer”, “contact me via email or text right away”, you’ll help protect yourself from many of these scams. Read our blog post for more tips on identifying potential scammers.
Prepare for the interview processTake time to think through tasks and duties you are ok with doing prior to an interview. If you feel like a family is asking too much in an interview, it might be best to look for a different opportunity. Some parents may choose to do the initial interview over the phone, in a public place, or at their home. Do what makes you feel comfortable. If a family requests an interview in a place you are not comfortable with, simply let them know and ask if there is somewhere else to meet initially.
We highly recommend our members meet over the phone or in a public place for that first in-person introduction.
After being hired, monitor the relationshipAfter you start working with a family, it’s important to be mindful of unfavorable parent behavior, including continuously coming home late or changing hourly rates that were agreed upon. At times a job may not end up being a good fit, and that’s ok! Our customer success team is happy to offer guidance. If these unfavorable changes are happening, feel free to reach out and let us know!
- What background check options are available for caregivers to purchase?
- How do I share my background check details?
- How does Sittercity verify families?
- Why am I being required to complete a background check?
- Why isn’t a badge displayed on my profile after I completed a background check?
- If a family on Sittercity hires me, how will I get paid?
What is Virtual Sitting?
To be clear: a virtual sitting is not the same thing as in-person babysitting. A virtual sitting is when a professional engages with children digitally for a short period of time. The sessions can be used to assist kids with schoolwork or facilitate an interactive game—like charades. It’s not a replacement for physical care. Families and sitters considering a virtual sitting should continue to view safety as their top priority.
Parents and sitters should keep in mind:
Screening and Vetting is Still Important
Even though the sitter isn’t physically in the house, they’re still spending time with children. Parents should be sure to vet potential sitters prior to them engaging with the children (additional information can be found in the parents and overview sections of this Trust and Safety Center).
Never Leave Children Unattended
The sitter isn’t able to physically supervise or control children when connected only by video. Remain mindful that technology is not always 100% and there could be lag or glitching during their virtual time with a provider. For the children’s safety, it’s important for parents to never leave them unattended during a virtual sitting session.
Review Planned Activities
Families and sitters should work together to communicate about the activities planned for children during a virtual sitting session to determine what’s appropriate for them.