Saturday, January 23, 2010

Use Sittercity For Free!

The Defense Department now is paying for an Internet service that helps military families find in-home child care, nannies, tutors, elder care providers, pet sitters and other services in their local communities. Active-duty Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps members and their families, as well as National Guard and reserve members and their families, can receive a free membership to the service, which costs an average of $120 a year. Retirees are not eligible.

You must go to to activate your free membership. Those looking for the services can do it in two ways, through a sitter search or by posting a job. Those looking for child care, elder care providers, pet sitters and house cleaners can use specific search criteria, including geographic areas. The database will pull from more than 600,000 child care provider profiles nationwide. But there are more than 1 million care provider profiles across all five types of care — child, tutoring, senior, pet, and home, said Mary Schwartz, spokeswoman for Sittercity.

The program provides military families with instant access to caregiver profiles, including background checks, pictures, references, reviews, a four-step screening process, and a specialized matching technology to help select the right caregiver. They also are working to include military spouses who provide family child care in their homes, too. doesn’t employ the caregivers; it simply helps match them with families. The family hiring the caregiver negotiates the salary or fee with the caregiver.

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