Tips On How To Conduct Background Checks for Nanny Services
by: Steve Lampert
Hiring a nanny is a sophisticated process that involves
searching, interviewing, checking references and extending an offer to
the right candidate. When the nanny has accepted your offer, the final
step is conducting a criminal background check. Your offer should be contingent
on the outcome of those results.
What to check?
Itís hard to imagine that in this era of the Internet
and computerization there is no reliable national criminal database that
is accessible by the public. The ďgold standardĒ for checking a nanny's
background is to first run a search using her Social Security Number to
see where she has lived in the past seven years. This is done so that a
decision can be made on which counties should be searched. Yes, thatís
right, these searches are done county by county, not nationally. Few states
have a reliable criminal index that is suitable for nanny background checking
because nannies tend to commit misdemeanors at most. Many of these indexes
only turn up people who have felony convictions and/or have served time.
Many states donít have statewide indexes at all.
Which counties should you search?
Obviously the safest method is to check each county, but
in some cases this can get quite costly. A fairly typical scenario may
be a nanny who left home to go to college, after which she may have changed
schools and then moved again after graduation. So letís say sheís 23 now
and there are four years that can be searched since she turned 18.
2001 lived at
home, 18 years old
2001-2003 moved for college
2003-2005 lived at her second college
2005- moved after
graduation to another city
In this case, since she turned 18 at home and moved shortly
thereafter, the duration of time spent at her home residence and the city
she moved to after graduation is brief. For someone who wanted to hold
their costs down, the two most likely locations to check would be the two
cities she lived in from 2001-2005. Again, if you want to be absolutely
certain and costs are not an issue, you would need to check each place
that appears on the Social Security address check.
What other types of checks can be performed?
Driving records are very important if there is driving
involved in your job. A credit report can be ordered if you feel that information
may be important to your decision. There is a sexual offenders list for
each state that should be checked as well. There are numerous other reports
that may be ordered if you feel the need.
How do I perform the check?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (which applies to more than
just credit checks) requires that you have a written release from your
nanny to perform the check. This form is downloaded and filled out by the
family and then completed and signed by the nanny.
What are some of the limitations of the checks?
Every company that does these checks warns that these
reports cannot guarantee complete accuracy. Also, there is a charge for
each type of check that you order, so figuring out your budget ahead of
time can help you prioritize which type of checks to run.
All in all, running a background check on a potential
nanny for your children is essential. These steps should help make that
process more informative and resourceful.
About The Author
Steve Lampert is the President of www.enannysource.com,
a web-based nanny search service. Prior to starting the company in 2001,
he was president of a well-known nanny agency in Los Angeles. He lives
with his wife of 13 years and 8 year-old son in the San Fernando Valley
in California. His sonís nanny has been with the family since he was born.