In The News
The Stamford Advocate, June 1, 2004
Agency: Nannies should expect surveillance
By Eve Sullivan
STAMFORD -- The owner of a nanny placement agency tells prospective nannies
they should expect to be videotaped while they are working.
Mark Lenes, owner of Wee Care Nanny Agency in Stamford, tells job-seekers
that 90 percent to 95 percent of families have surveillance in their homes.
"We tell everyone, you can basically expect that it's there,"
he said. "It's a safeguard."
Though Lenes does not have statistics on how many families set up surveillance,
he knows the numbers are growing and the technology is becoming more advanced.
Lenes shows the applicants the tip of a pen and says some of the surveillance
cameras can be that small. But, he also says, if the nannies are doing
their jobs, they have nothing to worry about.
"Most people say, 'I have no problem with it. If they want to use
a camera, that's fine,' " Lenes said.
A small number of applicants are caught off guard when told about the
camera, commonly known as a "nanny cam," and that they must
have a criminal background check, Lenes said. One applicant asked to take
a break to put money in the parking meter and never returned, he said.
The owner of a local nanny-cam business said cameras can be placed in
household objects, including kitchen appliances and books.
It was one such camera that taped Marketa Vitkova, a 26-year-old Stamford
nanny, allegedly shaking and slapping a 8-month-old boy under her care.
Vitkova, who was arrested last week, faces charges of first-degree reckless
endangerment, risk of injury to a minor and third-degree assault in the
Authorities said the family had a camera in place for two months before
capturing the assault on tape May 11.
Lenes called the recent incident "horrible" and said he does
extensive screening to ensure that nothing like that happens through his
agency. He said he places about 150 nannies a year.
"They are very in demand," Lenes said. "It's finding the
right one which is the hard part. They have to mesh with what the family
is looking for."
Lenes said Wee Care doesn't take anyone unless he can verify that they
have one year of experience working in a home.
The nannies come from throughout the world, including local towns, the
Caribbean and Europe, and are matched with homes in Fairfield County and
New York, Lenes said. They range in age from their 20s to 50s, he said.
Au pairs are generally younger, fresh out of college and move to the United
States for a year or two as a cultural exchange, usually through Au Pair
America, Lenes said.
Lenes, who has been in business for almost five years, said he screens
applicants over the phone and accepts 30 percent to 35 percent of those
who call. Each applicant then meets with him and fills out an application.
After placing each nanny, Lenes said he encourages them to go for a half
day, then a trial week. He then contacts the nanny and the family to find
out what they think about each other.
Lenes said there are plenty of red flags that should go up when placing
a nanny, such as when past employers cannot be reached or can be reached
only by cell phone.
Other bad signs are when numerous former employers live out of the state
or the country, making it hard to verify employment; the applicants give
tenuous explanations for wide gaps in work history; or have worked for
many employers over a short period of time.
Lenes said families should beware of potential employees who tell them
they will bring identification "next time," but fail to do so,
or those who carry a driver's license from states in which they have not
lived or worked.
Lenes suggests families take at least five weeks to find the right person
and never hire out of haste or desperation. He recommends speaking with
as many past employers as possible and informing them all information
will be kept confidential.
Ideally, Lenes said parents should seek out individuals who have been
working locally and get written authorization to conduct motor vehicle
and criminal background checks in the state where the applicants have
lived or worked.
The New York Times, May 2, 2004
Who's Watching the Children?
The Norwalk Hour, November 1, 2007
Who's watching your nanny? A: Everyone
Mellisa Peckham Named to the Board of Directors of the Association of
Premier Nanny Agencies
November 13, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release- Mellisa Peckham, co-owner of Wee Care Nanny Agency in
Stamford, Conn., was named to the Board of Directors for the Association
of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA).
Mellisa co-founded Wee Care Nanny Agency, LLC. in 2001. Mellisa has an
excellent working knowledge of the industry from both sides; she joined
the APNA to encourage all agencies to uphold strong ethics and outstanding
service as expected from all APNA agencies. Mellisa has many years of
experience in sales, marketing and client services. As the mother of two
young children, she realized the need for a friendly and professional
“I am extremely honored to be joining the APNA’s Board of
Directors”, said Ms. Peckham, “and look forward to supporting
the Association’s mission of promoting high ethical standards in
the nanny and household staffing industry. I hope to be a big part of
their increased visibility and enforcement of professional industry standards.”
The Association of Premier Nanny Agencies, established in 1993, promotes
best business practices in all areas of the nanny placement and household
staffing industries. Its member placement agencies adhere to APNA’s
Code of Ethics and Standards of Ethical Practices.
Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2007
Day Care is Linked to Behavior Lasting Through 6th Grade
Local children's Center Opening in 2010, October
Wee Care Nanny Agency is proud to recognize and support Healing Hearts
Pediatric Therapy Center in Stamford, Connecticut. The Healing Hearts
special needs therapy center is scheduled to open in winter 2010. It will
provide 10 types of therapy, including, occupational, speech and physical
therapy. Healing Hearts will provide specialized therapeutic treatments
for children with cerebral palsy, autism, motor-development delays and
other neuro-motor disorders. To volunteer, make a donation or get more
information please contact Kim Colletto at (203) 355-9395.www.healingheartscenter.org