Kristy Howatt, a former Ridgefield nanny, launched Your Peace of Mind, LLC recently. The referral service provides qualified and personalized caregiving services. Ms. Howatt is seen here spending time with her niece, Braelin.Finding a temporary sitter or caregiver in a pinch is a little easier now, thanks to former Ridgefield nanny Kristy Howatt's referral service of qualified caregivers. Leaving loved ones - pet or person - in the temporary care of strangers can be unnerving, so Ms. Howatt, who's worked as a day-care director and kindergarten teacher, has emphasized getting to know each caregiver she recommends to customers.
Ms. Howatt launched Your Peace of Mind LLC in February but she has been carefully selecting caregivers to join her referral service for several months.
She's completed FBI, state background checks and personal interviews with her pool of caregivers, who can be hired for a wide spectrum of tasks - from house sitting to infant care.
Ms. Howatt is familiar with parent's concerns because of her years working with children. She knows it can be hard to find a sitter when a child is staying home sick from school or a trusted sitter or nanny isn't available.
"While working and living in Ridgefield I talked with a lot of families who couldn't find qualified caregivers for their little ones," Ms. Howatt said. "This is not a company where you call a 1-800 number and they send someone out that they've never met."
Your Peace of Mind's referral service is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The Caregivers are responsible for setting their own rates but the range is anywhere between $14 to $18 an hour, depending on the number of children and the caregiver's experience.
Your Peace of Mind charges a per day fee to use the service. If you register with the company for $200 annually the per-day fee is $20; if you choose not to register, it's $35. Advantages to registering with Your Peace of Mind include overnights or special holiday care.
On top of background checks, caregivers have provided at least three references and fill out an exhaustive application to be part of the Your Peace of Mind. Ms. Howatt has personally met with each individual in their home and keeps photographs and fingerprints of each candidate on file.
"I'm pretty tough with them. I'm thinking about whom I would want watching my children," she said. "Most local schools don't even do FBI background checks."
Caregivers have specialties - some are pet sitters, others nannies and some specialize in companion care. The service is prepared to match residents with caregivers for children with special needs or adults with disabilities. A few women in the service are trained as "doulas," which means they specialize in helping pregnant and post-partum mothers. Nearly all the caregivers are CPR certified or are taking the training course now.
"A lot of our caregivers are mothers," Ms. Howatt said. "One of our caregivers has five children and she just loves watching kids and she's good at it."
Your Peace of Mind has an additional service called Party Assistance to help families with pre-party preparation, serving and clean-up.
All of the company's services are available now throughout Fairfield, Westchester and New Haven County.
Your Peace of Mind's regular office hours are Monday through Friday 9 to 3, but a coordinator is available 24-hours a day for parents who may be faced with unexpected child care needs. The number is (203) 790-1916. For more information, visit http://www.yourpeaceofmindct.com/.