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Importance of Background Checking Your Nanny

Although it can be tempting to immediately hire the first nanny you come across who meets all the qualifications you’re looking for, it is definitely a smart decision to do a background check.  Though in many cases, you won’t find anything that should deter you from hiring a nanny candidate, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.  Below is a list of the background checks that you may do and what information you can find from these checks.

Character and Professional References: Reference check your top candidates by contacting people who know your top candidates’ character and people who have employed your candidates in their prior positions.  You can learn if your candidates are responsible, ethical, nurturing, how the candidates handled themselves in their prior jobs, and so much more information about how these candidates would likely conduct themselves in your employ.    

Education and Licensure Verification:  If your top candidates claim to have higher education or licensure, it is wise to verify that those claims are accurate.  For example, if a candidate claims to have obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from XYZ University, you can contact the university to verify that the degree was, in fact, conferred.  The same is true of verifying licensure. Verification indicates candidate honesty and knowledge.  For example, if your child is disabled and you need a babysitter that has medical training, it is essential that you verify that your prospective babysitter really has the CNA licensure that she says she has. 

Criminal and Sex Offender Registry Checking:  These checks will tell you if your nanny candidate has a record of any criminal offenses or are registered on the sex offender registry.  Each state lists its residents who are registered sex offenders.  The lists are accessible via Internet.  Criminal searches can be obtained on sites such as Nannies4hire.com using their online investigation service.

Credit History: The credit history determines how responsible a nanny has been in handling her finances.  It’s more common these days than it used to be to check a nanny’s credit history.

Department of Health and Human Services (Child & Vulnerable Adult Protective Services):  By contacting your state’s Department of Health and Human Services, you can determine if your top candidates are on the Child Protective Services / Vulnerable Adult Protective Services list, which means that they have potentially or allegedly abused or neglected a child or vulnerable adult.

Department of Motor Vehicles:  If your babysitter will be responsible for transporting your child(ren), you are well advised to contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to determine whether your top candidates have safe driving histories.

Social Security Records Checking:  By checking these records, you will be able to confirm that your babysitter candidate’s name and Social Security number are (or are not) valid according to the records of the federal Social Security Administration.

Drug Testing:  Some families want the security of knowing that their babysitters are drug-free.  Sending their top candidates to a doctor for drug testing can be that security.

In sum, by choosing to perform all job-relevant background checks, you can ensure that you are hiring the best possible babysitter for your family.  Most background checks listed above may be obtained at Nannies4hire.com using their online investigation service.


* Background checks must be job-relevant, so if any background check is not job-relevant in your situation (i.e., DMV checks if your babysitter will not be driving while on the clock for you), then you should not perform that background check.  Additionally, some background checks are covered by federal and/or state law.  This article is not intended as legal advice in any fact-specific situation: if you need such legal advice, you are encouraged to seek legal counsel.

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