Companies are all too ready and willing to run a background check on job applicants, as well they should – the risks of not doing so are enormous. Here’s something you might not know – the risks of failing to conduct a nanny background check are just as concerning. Think about it: you’re hiring someone to work with your kids in your home. It doesn’t get more personal than that.  

You’ve finally found the right person? It’s definitely a good idea to screen your applicant using a reliable online service like Check People. A lot of people hire nannies based on good references, friends’ recommendations, or interviews, but these can fail to uncover past incidents. Here’s your quick guide to running a nanny background check. 

Ask for ID 

Start by asking to see a government-issued photo ID such as a passport or driver’s license. Among the other valid forms of ID include a green card, a valid out of state driver’s license, Department of Motor Vehicles ID card, alien registration card, or immigration card. Don’t forget to jot the number on the card down. The nanny needs a clean driving record if she’ll be providing transport. You can get proof of one by calling the DMV to have their insurance and license verified. 

Record Personal Data

Write down the nanny’s name, date of birth, Social Security number, phone number, and address. It might also help to get a list of cities and states where they’ve lived in the past decade. Check for relevant licensing with the respective institution, i.e., the Board of Nursing. 

Hire an Agency to Run a Background Check

If you don’t have enough free time, consider getting an agency to run the background check. This will include a criminal history screening. Typically, states’ Departments of Justice only give access to records to qualifying organizations. They will ask the nanny to undergo a fingerprint check and give them permission to release their information. All nursing home caregivers have to undergo this type of screening. 

Ask the Right Questions

Ask them practical questions, such as if they ever think it’s appropriate to spank a child, how they deal with cranky children, and how you take an infant’s temperature. Their responses can be very telling. If you want more information, ask them to describe a relevant situation, ex. a time they had to calm an upset toddler down. What did they do? Did it help? 

Know the Relevant Screenings

These screenings can vary by state. For example, people who expect to be associated with any childcare facility in California must undergo a name check in the Child Abuse Central Index. Information about reports of child abuse that emerges after the initial check is provided by the Department of Justice. People who get criminal record clearance are allowed to volunteer, live, or work in a licensed facility. The clearance remains in effect for the period during which they are connected to the facility in question. 

Screenings look at driving records and criminal records. Their degree of thoroughness depends on how many details you’re looking for and on your screening provider if you choose to work with one. Typically, background check services look for felonies and misdemeanors committed in the past decade.

Final Tips 

Choosing the right care provider is one of the most important decisions in your life. A solid background check can ensure you’re hiring the best person for the job. Before running one, however, consider how many days you will need the nanny’s help. Ask her if she can commit to this schedule. Factor in extra hours at the weekend, in the evening, or during holidays. If she can’t, there’s no use running a background check on her. This is a typical “miss the forest for the trees” scenario.