Mason Partners with to Provide Caregiving Resources

Posted: February 26, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

Juggling multiple lives at work, home and school can oftentimes be overwhelming. What can you do if your child becomes ill and must leave school early or your elderly mother comes to live with you, but you can’t stay home to take care of her?

Mason’s Office of Human Resources and Payroll (HR) has joined with the program to introduce a new work/life initiative. Mason faculty, staff and graduate students will have free access to hundreds of locally based sitters for their children and elderly loved ones, as well as pets and houses. is a nationwide database with more than 150,000 talented sitters. Those who use can tailor their searches to find the right sitter for their needs, including specifying that they have an affiliation with Mason.

“We have always known that finding different types of caregivers, especially for child care, is complex for many people in the Mason community,” says Linda Harber, associate vice president for HR. “Realizing that this is a fun, yet difficult area in which to live, we wanted to find the best opportunity to help ease some complications many people are facing.”

The idea to partner with the program was developed last summer based on the feedback from many members of the Mason community who expressed needs for caregivers of various types.

Sittercity offered the best range of resources from among other services that would ensure those who use the program would receive the services they needed and create a better work/life balance, according to Janet Walker, work/life and communications coordinator for HR.

Before the partnership was created between Mason and Sittercity, the program was given a test run by Mason’s Working Mothers Support Group, which responded with positive feedback.

Once participants register with Sittercity, membership will be good through March 1, 2009, beginning on the day of registration. Participants will then be able to immediately post jobs and search for sitters in their area. It is recommended that participants post a job and let the sitters respond. Sittercity will also e-mail postings directly to local sitters on the same day they are posted online. Sitters whose schedules and credentials match the ones participants are looking for will respond to the posting.

To help select the best match, Sittercity has a four-step screening process: reading parent feedback; checking references; conducting an interview; and ordering an optional background check. Sittercity provides discounted access to optional LexisNexis background checks for approximately $10.

“Sittercity is the first of the new programs we are working on to come online. We always encourage and welcome new ideas from the Mason community to add to the work/life web site,” says Walker.

Because Mason does not own, sponsor, or endorse, users should always carefully screen and check the references of any caregivers, including those who are listed on, before retaining their services.

For more information or to register with Sittercity, visit the web site.

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