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By Paul Sullivan, June 24th 2016

PARENTS think a lot about what their money might one day do for their children. Will it give them options in life to accomplish something meaningful, or rob them of ambition? Or will a lack of family money leave them at a disadvantage?

Of course, there are a lot of other outcomes. But fear about the bad things that money can do to children sends some well-to-do parents to lawyers and advisers to create trust documents with rules stating what children need to do to obtain the money. Even parents of modest means are encouraged to own life insurance policies in trusts to inhibit their children from getting all the cash at once should the parents die.

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By Louise Dunham, CEO at Placement Solutions, I.N.A member

The Nanny Time Bomb : Navigating the Crisis in Child Care, by Jacalyn S. Burke, is the most interesting book I have read on our industry for over a decade. Though its focus is on the situation in the USA, much of it has relevance for us in Australia, particularly in the current climate.

Burke is very concerned about the fact that most in-home carers in the US are working illegally for cash-in-hand – something that she believes is unsustainable. She suggests nine solutions to alleviate the pressure on child care. Many of these are relevant to us here in Australia, though some are less so (and perhaps should give us pause to reflect on how good we have it):

· Provide universal maternity/paternity leave

· Provide more flexible work schedules

· Pay benefits to full- and part-time workers with children

· Provide affordable day care

· Create a national nanny registry of all child care workers. (Such a thing exists in the UK, with tax implications for those who fail to comply.)

· Allow tax payers to claim legal child care back on their tax

· Pay fair wages to all women

· Provide paid sick leave (thankfully not an issue in Australia)

· Enact immigration reform including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants (again, mainly a US issue).

Burke also appeals for higher standards across the industry. She is resentful of nannies who don’t do a lot wrong but don’t do a lot right either – nannies who ‘go through the motions’ but fail to make sufficient connection with the children they are caring for, spending, for instance, too much time on their phones while the children play.

The Nanny Time Bomb is a fascinating and thought-provoking read for anyone with an interest in nannying or child care more broadly.

Placement Solutions is a member of the International Nanny Association (INA) based in America. Louise Dunham is currently Chair of the INA Ethics Committee and serves on the Executive of the INA board as a Vice President. Louise is the recipient of a 20 year award for services to the International Nanny Industry – the only Australian to be so honoured.