Nanny Background Check
Keeping Kids Safe with a Nanny Background Check
Babysitters don’t come with neon signs on their foreheads identifying them as potentially dangerous. Many are actually quite charming, making it easy for them to gain your trust and unsupervised access to your children. Taking the time to do a background check will help you eliminate candidates with questionable pasts or a history of frightening decisions.
Tales of Caution
One of the most outrageous cases is the story of Jimena Barreto. She had four convictions in her criminal record for driving while intoxicated, and she also had a history of taking painkillers and muscle relaxers. In her care, she killed a 10-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl when she swerved across two lanes of traffic and caused an accident.
Another extreme case is the story of Christine Falling. Emotionally unstable and with a history of strangling cats, she was sentenced to life in prison after killing six children she was watching. Experts believe that a background check could have caught many red flags.
Now that you know how important a background check is, the first step is to gather information on the potential nanny. Start by talking to the applicant. Ask for references from other employers and families. Find out what ages of children they have cared for, and ask them directly if there is anything about their background you should be aware of. Applicants should be completely comfortable and at ease when providing you with this information.
Make the Phone Calls
You must follow through with the actual phone calls. It may come as a shock to learn that people will have you call someone who fired them, but it is a fact of the industry. Make the calls and ask questions about the applicant’s reliability, skills, ethics and duties. Ask if they would hire the nanny again or provide a reference. Find out why he or she stopped working for the family.
Department of Motor Vehicles
A nanny will have to drive your children at some point. Either as part of a professional background check or on your own, find out what the person’s driving record looks like. A string of drunk driving charges or a tendency to drive fast or recklessly are red flags you should not ignore. A simple background check could save your child’s life by keeping him or her away from people who are dangerous drivers.
In addition to learning about the criminal record in your area, you also want to know that this person wasn’t convicted of child abuse in another state. You should strongly consider going through a professional agency for this part of the investigation to ensure that you don’t miss something vital. Any criminal activity or charges should be viewed as a serious red flag. Any names used by the nanny should be researched as part of the investigation.
Lawsuits and bankruptcies can also be uncovered in a professional background check. These go towards the character of your potential nanny. They can help you weed out people who are irresponsible financially, and they can also help you eliminate applicants who might be more likely to steal from you.
You can go through this process yourself, but a professional agency will be more thorough. Keep in mind that this person will have unsupervised access to your children while you are gone. Nannycams are great for catching them in abusive acts, but a background check will prevent the abuse from happening in the first place. Don’t take chances with the welfare of your children. Take the time to follow through with references and invest in a thorough background check.