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CareFinder's Commitment to Safety
In light of recent incidents connected to another babysitter matching site in Japan, CareFinder wants to reinforce our commitment to the safety and well-being of everyone in our community. As parents of two young children, and as professionals who have dedicated our careers to providing high-quality childcare options to families in Japan, we are deeply dedicated to ensuring CareFinder is a trustworthy resource.
We believe a matching site, as opposed to a traditional agency, allows families to connect with the sitters that are best suited to their specific needs at an accessible price point. As such, we are especially diligent when it comes to who we allow to work within the CareFinder community. Many similar services in Japan have grown quickly because they choose not to put the time and energy into vetting the babysitters that use their platform. As a small, family-run company with relatively limited resources, we have made the deliberate decision to forego rapid growth in honor of trustworthiness.
Every person who applies to work with CareFinder as a babysitter goes through a multi-step interview and onboarding process, including:
- One-on-one interviews with the CareFinder team
- Thorough review of CareFinder’s Babysitter Guidelines
- Registration as a babysitter with the government
CareFinder’s babysitters must have experience in childcare (whether professionally or with their own children) and they must hold a valid visa that permits them to work in Japan. The entire CareFinder team is involved in the review process and the entire team must be in agreement before a babysitter is approved to join our community. Potential babysitters who don’t meet our requirements or are otherwise determined by the team to not be a good fit are not approved.
Once a sitter officially joins the CareFinder community, they hear from our team often. We send out regular communication regarding health, safety and childcare best practices. We also check in with individual sitters following their first jobs, as well as periodically, just to touch base.
While we put a lot of effort into approving sitters we believe to be capable and trustworthy, we also believe that when it comes to children, being extra-careful is the baseline. For example, we require all communication between families and sitters be conducted (with few exceptions) on our internal messaging system. We require this for several reasons.
First and foremost, our ability to monitor these conversations ensures the safety of everyone in our community. We are able to take immediate action in removing access to the platform should inappropriate behavior occur via messaging. Reviewing messages also enables us to confirm and provide support should an issue arise before, during or after a sitting job. Additionally, our liability insurance requires that a job be scheduled and agreed upon within the CareFinder platform. The messaging system is an added layer of verification should an insurance claim be warranted.
All babysitters are aware we have access to - and do - monitor these messages regularly. They also know that CareFinder takes a “zero tolerance” approach to going “offline” (messaging outside of our platform). We take this same approach to any inappropriate behavior or communication that comes to light; babysitters that do not abide by CareFinder’s rules or otherwise embody our values are removed from the platform.
From our in-depth approval process to our consistent, proactive approach to monitoring the site and our sitters, the CareFinder team spends the majority of our time ensuring that our community can feel safe and supported. And we are always considering additional steps we can take to improve our processes.
However, we also believe the government needs to do more. Currently, matching sites are not able to perform criminal background checks on potential babysitters. There is also no database for sexual predators. Creating these avenues for further identification and accountability of offenders will provide additional tools for companies like CareFinder to use in the creation of a safe environment.
Matching sites must also continue to be held accountable. In response to the sexual assault allegations against its babysitters, the decision was made by the matching site to ban all men from working as babysitters moving forward. In addition to being discriminatory and reinforcing dated stereotypes about who should be allowed access to childcare professions, we think this approach is actively harmful to the families who utilize that platform. Male babysitters can be incredibly important mentors for the children they care for. We have seen this firsthand - our COO, Trevor, babysat two boys nearly thirty years ago and is still in touch with them today - and we would never limit the potential for these connections in our community.
Further, uncritically banning one group of people from participation does not adequately address the underlying issues that enabled these assaults to happen in the first place.
We believe babysitters provide an invaluable service for families. In addition to being a watchful eye while parents are away, they serve as role models, teachers and companions. Many of the families and babysitters in the CareFinder community have formed strong relationships while working together; it’s our hope that everyone who uses our platform also makes meaningful connections, whether they work together for months or just one night. We always encourage parents to contact our team with any questions or concerns they may have while working with our babysitters; we are here to support you and your family, whenever needed.
Our hearts are heavy to hear of the incidents that have occurred and we extend our deepest sympathies to the families affected. We know how important it is to trust the person whose care you leave your children in. At CareFinder, we take every precaution to ensure you can.