The Department of Defense funds your Sittercity membership. What does that mean for you?
No decision means as much to parents as this one: Who will care for my children when they aren’t with me?
Many families answer this question by having relatives share in the caregiving duties. If mom and dad are going out for date night, grandma babysits. If dad is away and mom is juggling work and school, aunts and uncles step in to help. When extended families live within a few miles of each other, it’s a relatively simple system.
It’s different, of course, for the military. You may live hundreds of miles from the nearest relative or old friend. Or maybe you’ve just landed at a new duty station and have yet to make close friends; it’s awkward to ask for babysitting help.
One solution is using a professional babysitting service. The Department of Defense (DoD) pays for Sittercity memberships for military families, but what does that mean? What’s paid for and what isn’t? Who are the people offering care through Sittercity, and how dependable are they?
Many military spouses have embraced Sittercity to solve their childcare needs, and others have used the program to find work. The company’s website can connect you with other military families who are seeking someone to watch their kids, walk their dog or do other home-based tasks.
How does it work? We’ve asked this question and many more, bringing you a primer on exactly what this DoD-funded benefit offers you.
What does the DoD membership cover?
The DoD funds the memberships to Sittercity for Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force families, including active duty, Reserve and Guard. Since the program began, more than 55,000 of America’s military families have found caregivers who meet their needs. Included in the pre-paid memberships are unlimited standard background checks, but members do pay for the actual caregiving. Activate your free membership at www.sittercity.com/dod.
How expensive is it to hire a babysitter from Sittercity?
The cost per caregiver on Sittercity varies. Military spouses can filter their searches by hourly rate to find a sitter within their budget. The average pay rate is $10 to $15 per hour, which is determined between the parent and caregiver. Pay rates vary by geography, number of children and also the age and years of experience of the sitter. Sittercity has a rate calculator that pulls real-time data from both parent job postings and sitter profiles to determine the average rate for any particular job. Check out sittercity.com/rates.
How do they confirm the quality/experience/dependability of the sitters they offer?
Sittercity tells us they have “a pre-screening process that includes identity verification, checks against national databases and registries, as well as human and electronic review of caregiver profiles. In addition, parents can run background checks, through the nation’s leading provider, LexisNexis, at no cost.” Background checks are included with your membership, and you can access additional search tools like caregiver reviews, ratings and references to help find the right match.
Does Sittercity operate near every military installation or only in certain parts of the country?
Sittercity caregivers are located near every military installation in America. They have more than 2 million caregivers nationwide, including babysitters, senior caregivers, pet sitters, housekeepers and tutors. One reason the DoD chose Sittercity is its large population of sitters who are located on bases, near bases and also in remote areas. In some instances, these caregivers are other military spouses who are available to help their fellow servicemen and women. The top three reasons military families use the Sittercity Military Program are: they live off-installation or in a remote location, they’ve recently PCS’d or they’re going through deployment.