Nannies and senior caregivers are hired to help keep loved ones safe and well cared for. Recently a Texas nanny that the hiring family thought was well screened was arrested and charged with child endangerment after the mom returned home and found the nanny drunk and passed out and her 20 month old free to roam the home. Turns out the nanny has quite a history of prior offenses, none of which were found because of the type of 'background check' run. Stories like these make families wonder how they can better screen their caregivers.
HomeWork Solutions partners with National Crime Search to provide professional background screening services to its clients and the general public. Be especially cautious of any background screening that does not include county court records checks, or promises of 'instant' results.
What are background screening best practices?
- A legitimate pre-employment background screen should always include a SSN Trace. This is a scan of credit bureau "header" files to locate all names and addresses going back 7 years that are associated with the applicant's SSN. This is NOT a credit check, but does require the applicant's signed release.
- County criminal records checks should be ordered for every name and address (county) the applicant has used in the last 7 years. Be aware that most criminal records do not utilize hypenated names, so Mary Jones-Smith should be searched as Mary Jones and Mary Smith. National Crime Search's Travis Fink further notes that "courts don't automatically cross-reference applicant's aliases or previously used names."
- Additionally, a 'broad net' National Criminal Records Locator search should be done. This is a private, proprietary database with hundreds of millions of records from across the country. There is NO national database that contains ALL records - professional screening companies use these private databases instead to economically expand the search.
- Whether the applicant will drive or not, DMV records should be checked. Multiple speeding tickets for example might speak judgment in the screening process.
HomeWork Solutions publishes a detailed Frequently Asked Questions about background screening. Additionally, we are pleased to offer a free tip sheet specific to screening a nanny applicant - we invite you to download this resource!