Recently an individual with a criminal past was hired as a nanny in Austin, Texas. The nanny allegedly was passed out drunk while caring for a child. The only good news in this situation is the fact the child was not harmed. A local Austin newscast by KXAN described the situation and found a history of alcohol abuse and other criminal charges that were not discovered prior to being hired. The nanny had allegedly passed a background check, even though her questionable past was easy for the news team to find.
Stories such as these frighten parents and, often times, prevent them from using a nanny to care for their child. It is vitally important for agencies and families to take precautions when hiring an individual as a nanny. This includes conducting a thorough and complete background check. It takes time and will cost a little money, but a thorough nanny background check on a candidate can provide a little peace of mind in the long run.
As a member of the International Nanny Association (INA), I ensure that we use their recommended practices for background screenings. The INA recommends:
- Verify and authenticate a nanny candidate’s identity to ensure that the candidate is using real and accurate information about his or her own identity.
- Verify employment and educational history and applicable credentials and licenses.
- Perform state and county criminal record searches for every jurisdiction where the candidate has worked and lived, using any and all names the candidate has used, for at least the past seven years, depending upon applicable state laws.
- Perform a sex offender registry search for all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam.
- Review the candidate’s driving record.
- Comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and all other applicable local, state and federal laws.
- Perform periodic updating of background checks for all placed nannies and nannies who provide temporary services.
Gibson Newborn Services (GNS) strictly adheres to these guidelines and conducts thorough background checks on all our candidates. This includes checking every county the candidate has resided in for the past 7 years (state laws permitting). We also review federal court records, the National Sex Offender Registry, and conduct a social security trace to verify identity. In cases where hyphenated names are used, we search using various combinations of the candidate’s name. Example: Jane Doe-Smith – We will search for Jane Doe-Smith, Jane Doe, Jane Smith, etc.
Keep in mind, statistically cases such as this one represent a small percentage of nanny experiences. But, even these odds should not prevent a thorough background check from being completed on anyone that cares for a child!