A local mama of twins found her fabulous nanny through Craigslist. After seeing a friend tango unsuccessfully with a nanny agency (to the tune of a $2500 matching fee), this mama posted an advertisement on Craiglist, interviewed 25 (!) candidates who responded to her post, picked the top 4, did trial periods with each, and ultimately was able to hire Super Nanny.
Hiring a nanny was more economical than enrolling her twins in day care; this mama suggested starting the nanny search about two months prior to actual need so you can do a thorough search and not settle for a so-so candidate.
This strategy also would suit a search for a babysitter or mother's helper. Click here for the direct childcare link on Craigslist.