By Kelly Youngblood
A convenient, local source for parents to find reliable childcare is no longer available.
The University of Illinois Virtual Job Board, which had allowed local families to post listings seeking college-aged nannies and babysitters, now limits job postings to on-campus or university paid jobs only.
The decision to limit job postings was made this July in order to protect college students.
Dan Mann, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, said the Virtual Job Board has been the target of scam postings for a number of years.
Mann said the Office of Student Financial Aid has worked with the University of Illinois Policy Department on employment fraud situations and added warnings to the Virtual Job Board regarding employment scams. They have also added information about what students should do to identify scam postings and protect themselves.
Despite the warnings, the quantity and severity of the scams increased.
“In recent months, the number of employment scam postings has increased significantly and the postings have become more aggressive, more deceptive, and deliberately targeting University of Illinois students,” Mann said.
“Over the summer, a number of students were scammed out of thousands of dollars. As a result, the decision was made to limit the job posting eligibility,” Mann added.
Some parents are disappointed the Virtual Job Board is no longer an option for those seeking childcare.
Cari Vanderpool of Champaign said she used the Virtual Job Board several times and found great babysitters for her children.
“Many were studying education or child development and had lots of experience and flexible schedules,” Vanderpool said.
Vanderpool said posting on the Virtual Job Board was always free whereas full access to sites like Care.com costs money.
Lisa Schofield of Fisher said she thinks there is a definite need for a service that connects parents with quality childcare professionals.
“I can imagine there are many who have a need for this service. And I cannot imagine that there aren’t students at the U of I who wouldn’t want to have the experience,” Schofield said.
The Virtual Job Board will continue to operate as a free service provided by the Office of Student Financial Aid to assist Illinois students in finding part-time employment. The job postings will be limited to on-campus/university paid jobs only.
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