By Kate Fitzgerald, Partnerships at Baby Does NYC.
One of the toughest challenges that new parents face is sourcing the best child care. It is a search that is often marked by anxiety and a dizzying array of choices. It doesn’t help that some nannies make the news for all of the wrong reasons: theft, sexual assault and even infidelity. With all of that in mind, our CEO Jacalyn S. Burke, who previously worked as an English nanny in Manhattan for 10 years, has published a book that is a must-have guide for parents embarking on a quest for the best nanny. I caught up with Jacalyn to find out more.
K: So what impelled you to write this book?
J: At some point in my personal journey into child care, a conflict began to arise in me. I knew the trust invested in some nannies by working parents was being violated … but I also observed the trials that many nannies suffered in the course of their working lives. So I began to research the various dynamics that affect the sector of private childcare: things like a nanny’s immigration status, the different rates of pay, an individual’s race, nationality and class, and ultimately the way in which a nanny was treated by employers.
K: So how does your book help working parents?
J: My book is the first of its kind in exploring all aspects of U.S. childcare, including daycare and au pair work. It offers parents a workable guide to finding and hiring a good nanny. It also discusses the nitty gritty of paying nanny taxes and how domestic laws govern things like over-time and public holidays.
K: How does it differ from other Nanny Guide books?
J: In quite a few marked ways. I spent a decade working as a nanny amongst every type of caregiver imaginable. This gave me a unique perspective on how the industry functions and how it is experienced by children, parents and nannies. No other book has gone as in depth as this book in terms of research, in terms of interviewing nannies and in terms of offering long-term strategic solutions in reforming child care as an industry. Finally while the book drills down as a guide for the individual family to source child care it also presents a universal snap shot of where we are at in America, in terms of providing child care solutions for working parents – and why the industry now needs a radical upgrade.
K: Why did you call your book The Nanny Time Bomb and not The Child Care Time Bomb?
J: While it is the unregulated industry of childcare that is in the dock for failing our working families, our children and our invaluable caregivers, the actual fall-out is almost always experienced by a vulnerable and innocent child.
To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a case of an employer murdering a nanny, but annually, a small number of rogue nannies assault and injure, sometimes fatally, a child left in their care. We also do not have statistics on nannies who provide perfunctory or negligent care of minors because of job apathy or personal resentments. But as websites like, I Saw Your Nanny demonstrate, these things are all too common.
But rogue nannies are not the sole theme of my book. The Nanny Time Bomb also looks at the many ways working nannies attempt to perform their duties with compassion and dignity despite earning low wages and working long hours, often without any benefits or long-term financial security.
K: Where can people buy your book?
J: It’s available on Amazon. Just search for The Nanny Time Bomb: Navigating the Crisis in Child Care, and it will pop right up.
Readers can click on the book’s image to be redirected to the amazon page.