How to Conduct Background Checks When Hiring Nannies, Babysitters, and Other Caregivers

Looking for a babysitter online can be convenient and simple, but make sure not to pass on a thorough background check.
LINDSAY HASKELL
Published on

Whether you need a babysitter in a pinch or you’re looking for a long-term nanny or senior caregiver, platforms like Care.com, SitterCity, Zum and UrbanSitter make the process of sourcing help a breeze. Plus, their established business presence surely guarantees you peace of mind since they’re only matching you with thoroughly-screened, fully-vetted individuals, right?

Right…?

The truth is that online directory companies such as these aren’t obligated to perform ANY background checks on the caregivers they refer.

Although Care.com and other websites like it appear to be agency-like, at the end of the day they’re just websites. The information about child care providers and other caregivers just comes from the caregivers themselves — nothing is verified by Care.com or a third-party background screening agency.

An article in The Wall Street Journal chronicled several stories of negligence under the supervision of “caregivers” who had listed themselves on Care.com. The Journal found that Care.com’s screening process is minimal — to the extent that some people with police records are able to pass the preliminary screening and get themselves listed on the website. Founder of Care.com, Sheila Marcelo, told The Wall Street Journal that the onus for screening caregivers is on the families that hire them.

She added that Care.com is just “a marketplace platform, like Indeed or LinkedIn.”

Take Initiative When Hiring Caregivers

We’re not aiming to discourage you from using these convenient websites and apps. Many trained and qualified caregivers are on these platforms, and scores of families have fallen in love with the service providers they’ve found. Go ahead and use these platforms, but before you hire anyone, do your own due diligence.

Rather than seeing yourself as the customer on a marketplace platform, see yourself as the employer and the caregiver as your potential employee. Having an interview to get a “feel” for the person isn’t an effective way to weed out unqualified employees. When you conduct employment-level checks, you will gain more peace of mind when hiring someone to watch over your loved ones.

But, stress not. Though the responsibility is now in your hands, the process of conducting a thorough background check isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds.

Plus, we’re here to guide you through every step.

How to Run Your Own Background Check on a Nanny

Not sure how to run a caregiver background check? When you need to hire a full-time nanny, part-time babysitter, senior caregiver, house cleaner, personal assistant, tutor or dog walker, follow this simple step-by-step process.

1. Get Your Candidate’s Permission to Background Check Them

Tell your candidate you do background checks before hiring. Don’t be afraid of this step because professional caregivers view this as a family’s due diligence. They’re professionals — they know the drill.

If you’re working with Health Street, you’re almost at the finish line!

Once you’ve secured consent, all you have to do is order the background check of your choice on our easy-to-use website and we’ll handle Steps 2 through 6 for you, even having your potential hire plug in their identifying info directly into our platform to ensure there are no errors caused during the information transfer process.

If you want to go the manual route, read on.

2. Ask for Their Basic Identifying Information

Ask your candidate for their full name, driver’s license number, and their address history for the past 7 years.

3. Order a Criminal Background Check from a Credible Provider

Use the information given to run a criminal background check. You can order a background check package from Health Street or another credible background screening provider. Your screening should include checks into the National Criminal Database as well as into court records and regional criminal databases from every county your prospective hire has lived in recently.

4. Check the NSOPW to Flag Sex Offenders

All registered sex offenders will be listed on www.nsopw.gov. It’s a free government look-up website that includes public state, territory and tribal sex offender registries. Thorough checks of the database, like the ones provided by Health Street, will account for multiple potential spellings of a name.

5. Check with the DMV

Using your candidate’s residential addresses from the past 7 years, contact the DMV in the state or states they’ve lived in. Provide their driver’s license number to look up their public driving record. If the DMV isn’t willing to provide the records, you can use a driving record look-up website for a fee. Though many background screening companies do not include checks into driving records as part of their background check process, HealthStreet offers multiple screening tiers that include this service, allowing you to bypass time-consuming conversations with DMV personnel.

6. Analyze Your Results

The biggest red flags are obvious, such as being listed as a sex offender, a history of criminal drug abuse, or having a fake identity. Driving records can also say a lot about a person, so if their driving records show traffic violations, consider how much you’ll be relying on the individual for driving services, or what a history of reckless driving may indicate about their temperament. If you conducted your screening through Health Street, a screening professional will be happy to walk you through your results, explaining their significance.

Putting Your Concerns to Rest

Running multiple checks takes time and costs money, but it is worth it to ensure your loved ones are given the best care. Consider ordering a background check package from Health Street to streamline the process and ensure your screening is thorough and up to employment standards — you can even order it on your phone.

By going with a background check package that includes all the checks you need, you can skip the legwork and incomplete solutions to ensure total peace-of-mind.

Save time and effort — just provide your candidate’s information and Health Street will take care of the rest. Call (888) 378-2499 or register for an account online.

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Read Health Street's dramatic and informative background screening stories.

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Background Screening

Read Health Street's dramatic and informative background screening stories.