All the answers to those burning questions!
- So tell me a little more about the services you provide…
- Can I meet my childcarer/babysitter beforehand?
- Can I have the same childcarer or babysitter each time I book?
- Do I have to pay the babysitter for travelling time?
- Do I pay the childcarer/babysitter or is this done through Dulwich Childcare?
- What does the registration fee cover?
- What does the booking fee cover?
- When does the “pre-arranged fee” apply to me?
- Do I pay a booking fee if you don’t find me a childcarer/babysitter in time?
- Is there a cancellation fee?
- How do you check the childcarers’ and babysitters’ references?
- What do you mean by professional childcare experience and qualifications?
- Why is there a minimum booking charge of three hours?
- Are your childcarers and babysitters police checked to work with children?
- Is there a maximum number of children per booking?
- Do you have childcarers with experience working with children with special needs?
- How much notice do you need to book a childcarer?
- What time is the earliest time I can book and do your childcarers stay after midnight?
- What areas do you cover?
- Is there anything else I need to know?
So tell me a little more about the services you provide…
Babysitting (day and evening) and ad hoc sporadic short term childcare cover
Regular ‘short stay’ childcare provision – have a regular commitment for a few hours where you need your child(ren) looked after? We also provide before and after school care (see below)
Last-minute or emergency childcare – been let down by your nanny? Has your child picked up a bug but you need to go to work? Been called into the office at the last minute or need to work late? Sound familiar? We can help you out of these last minute parental panics!
Holiday cover – your child has half term or school holidays coming up and you can’t get the time off? We can provide childcare support and/or work around your arrangements
Before and after school care – need school drop offs and/or pick ups, or your children safely delivered to rugby practice or their piano lesson?
Mother’s/Postnatal help – new addition to the family or just need some help with spinning the plates of family life? We can provide support with the children, help with housework, the cooking, running errands or just help with building a routine to suit your family’s needs.
Wedding/Party/Event care – “Sure, invite the children!” you hear yourself say, and then having cold sweats as to how they are going to be looked after so you and your friends can relax ?! Help is at hand!
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Can I meet my childcarer/babysitter beforehand?
You will receive a profile of your childcarer/babysitter prior to your booking and you will also receive a call from them (please note this may be trickier for last minute bookings). This gives you both the opportunity to get to know each other a little better and for you to explain more about what you will expect them to do and to ask any questions.
Where it suits you, you may wish to arrange for the child carer/babysitter to arrive 30 minutes or so before you leave. This way, you can introduce your family, re-affirm your expectations and also see how well your childcarer interacts with your children. Perhaps they could start a game together or read a bedtime story, or however best you think your children will relax and feel most comfortable.
For longer term bookings, e.g. holiday cover, after school childcare for 6/12 months, we would encourage you to meet with your childcarer prior to the booking starting so you can familiarise yourselves with each other and your routine before anything is confirmed.
Can I have the same childcarer or babysitter each time I book?
We strive to provide you with consistent level of care. However, if you build a strong/close relationship with a particular babysitter/childcarer, please let us know your preference and we will try where we can to provide you with the same person again (subject to availability). For longer term, regular childcare such as after school care, we expect this to be the same person booked for the duration of the arrangement.
Do I have to pay the babysitter for travelling time?
No, all travelling time and expenses are the responsibility of the chidcarer/babysitter.
Do I pay the childcarer/babysitter or is this done through Dulwich Childcare?
You are required to pay cash directly to your childcarer/babysitter at the end of the booking. For before/after-school childcare bookings most families pay their childcarer at the end of the week. The booking fee comes directly to us via the “Pre-Arranged Fee” button on the website or we can provide you with Dulwich Childcare’s bank details.
Please note, our childcarers are unable to accept Childcare Vouchers or Child Tax Credits as payment.
What does the registration fee cover?
The fixed costs to us for sourcing, vetting, interviewing and referencing our childcare team. All our childcarers are thoroughly interviewed, we verbally confirm all their references, check their photo identification, right to work (where relevant) and keep records of all certificates and qualifications. We also have ongoing marketing and advertising to ensure we are attracting suitable childcarers to meet the needs of our local families.
What does the booking fee cover?
The fee covers the costs associated with finding and confirming a suitable childcarer or babysitter that meets your requirements as and when you require a childcarer.
When does the “pre-arranged fee” apply to me?
This button is most commonly used to transfer the booking fee, and also applies to after-school childcare arrangements, wedding/party/event childcare cover, regular ‘short stay’ bookings, overnight care and ad hoc secure payments.
We try to offer as much of a tailor-made approach to our services as we can, and recognise there will be times that your family’s needs do not quite ‘fit the mould’ of more standard booking requests, so this payment option also supports those times! As the term suggests, we must have agreed this between us before you choose this payment option.
If you have any questions or queries about this, it is best to contact us directly and we can talk it through.
Do I pay a booking fee if you don’t find me a childcarer/babysitter in time?
No. Unlike other agencies, we don’t feel it’s quite fair if you are charged a booking fee if (in the unlikely event!) we fail to meet your requirements.
Is there a cancellation fee?
There is no cancellation fee if a childcarer/babysitter is cancelled within office hours (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm). However, any childcare bookings that are cancelled outside these hours, or within two hours of when the booking is due to start, will incur a cancellation fee of £10.00 which will be paid to the assigned childcarer/babysitter.
How do you check the childcarers’ and babysitters’ references?
Beyond meeting all of our childcarers as part of their registration process, we ask for available copies of written references from previous families/employers and verify all available references verbally ourselves covering the last two years. We keep all these references on file which we can make available to you upon your request when your respective childcarer has been confirmed.
All our childcare team have relevant childcare experience as a prerequisite of registering with Dulwich Childcare and many have childcare qualifications.
What do you mean by professional childcare experience and qualifications?
Each member of our childcare team offer experience in professional childcare employment, for example registered childminders, professional nannies, qualified teachers, playgroup/creche/nursery assistants.
Most of our registered childcarers also offer childcare related qualifications, for example NNEB certificate in nursery nursing, Early Years Level 3 or 4, Childcare Level 3 or CACHE Level 1 Award in Caring for Children.
Details of each childcarer’s experience and qualifications will be provided in the childcare profile that we send to you as part of the booking confirmation.
Why is there a minimum booking charge of three hours?
Although our childcarers are local to you, we have found that this is the preferable minimum booking length to secure their commitment to your booking. Needless to say, you may need to return within three hours, but you will be charged for the full three hours.
Are your childcarers and babysitters police checked to work with children?
All of our childcarers and babysitters have been been subject to Enhanced DBS (formerly known as CRB) check within 2 years of registering with our agency. We keep a copy of the DBS check on file for our records which we can share with registered parents when their respective childcarer is confirmed.
Where a childcarer is due to renew or is undergoing a refresh of their DBS check (which they can do through Dulwich Childcare), we will let you know as part of the childcarer profile we provide.
Is there a maximum number of children per booking?
Where there are more than 2 children under three years old or more than four children in total, we would look to provide you with two childcarers (subject to availability).
Please remember that family registration is for the care of the children within that family only. A separate registration is required for each family whose children are present. However, there may be times when this will be flexed, for example for event/wedding/party childcare, which we can discuss when we talk through your requirements.
Do you have childcarers with experience working with children with special needs?
We do have childcarers who offer experience of working with children with autism, asperger syndrome, epilepsy, Down syndrome, hyperactivity and dyslexia.
Please call us directly to discuss your family’s individual requirements.
How much notice do you need to book a childcarer?
Essentially, the more notice you give us the better, however we do offer last minute and emergency childcare (subject to availability). Please try and make booking requests Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am to 5pm. However, being a parent too, I understand that this is not always possible, particularly for urgent childcare requests.
You can make bookings by text, email, using the contact form on our website or by calling us directly on telephone 0208 333 7431 or mobile 0797 136 7974.
For those families who are very organised (!), we are more than happy to take your bookings two or three months ahead. This also increases the chances we will be able to book your preferred childcarer before someone else does!
What time is the earliest time I can book and do your childcarers stay after midnight?
The short answer is that this will depend on availability, so please send us your booking requirements and we will endeavour to fulfil it for you. Where there are instances where a member of our team is available until midnight and you were hoping you would have cover until 1am, we will give you the option to consider.
What areas do you cover?
East and West Dulwich, Dulwich Village, Brockley, Honor Oak, Nunhead, Sydenham, Forest Hill, Crystal Palace, Herne Hill, West Norwood and surrounds.
Is there anything else I need to know?
We take your feedback seriously and want to make sure you are completely happy and comfortable with the service we provide you. So at the end of each booking, we will contact you to ask for your feedback on your assigned childcarer or babysitter. We will also ask for feedback from each of our childcare team upon completion of every booking about the family they have looked after. The sort of questions we ask for example, are whether the reality of the booking was as per the original brief, were instructions clear and how comfortable the childcarer felt during the booking and if they would be happy to return to the family again.
We believe feedback is a two-way process and ensures both sides are looked after, we hope you agree.