Nanny Background Checks: What You Need to Know

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You’ve completed the nanny trial and your nanny passed with flying colors. You’re good to go, right? 

Not quite. 

Hiring someone to care for your kids is a huge decision. Interviews and references go a long way, but it’s not enough. 

Before you grant unlimited access to your children, you need proof of a spotless record. Background checks can help with this.

What is a nanny background check?

They wowed your kids with made-up stories and scratched the dog in all their favorite spots — but this person is still a stranger. 

A background check eliminates doubt. It offers peace of mind.

A nanny background check proves your candidate was honest in the interview and reveals any inconsistencies. 

You might feel uncomfortable with this step—don’t. Any professional nanny will want you to do due diligence. To order a complete background check, you’ll need their consent. If a nanny hedges— or flat out refuses— consider it a red flag.

It’s the next step after the nanny reference checks are complete. Depending on which state you live in, you need to make a job offer before requesting a background check. Getting the job should be conditional upon passing the caregiver background check.

How to run a background check on someone?

Without a background check service, you’ll find some of the answers, but not all of them. Lots of childcare services offer background checks, including Nanny Lane. 

That said, you can do some initial online detective work. Google the nanny’s name and see what comes up. 

Check their social media sites: What do they post about on Facebook? When it comes to habits and lifestyle, a picture is worth a thousand words.

What do background check services do?  

A background check service investigates someone’s criminal history and verifies their identity. It also looks at previous employment and qualifications. As a rule, criminal history checks go back seven years. 

A background check can also examine driving records. It determines any previous arrests or if someone is registered as a sex offender. It can even check fingerprints. 

That said, the contents of a background check vary depending on the agency.

You can also run a Care.com background check, Carecheck. Carecheck runs an annual background check on all nannies on their site. Caregivers must agree to this step before they join. 

Care.com’s background checks are a great first step but don’t replace the full vetting of your nanny candidate. Use a nanny background check service like Nanny Lane accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. 

What’s included in a nanny background check?  

Most nanny background checks don’t uncover anything worrisome. But they can reveal past offenses, usually minor, but enough to make you think twice. 

Here’s a list of what they look for in a background check:

  • Verify a candidate’s social security number. Your candidate should have provided this at the interview. But don’t leave it at that. An SSN trace will reveal any inconsistencies in name or number.
  • Look at criminal history. This includes everything from felonies and misdemeanors to petty theft. At times, thorough vetting reveals behavior not technically classified as “criminal.” This can include restraining orders and lawsuits to pickpocketing and public intoxication. If your candidate’s information reveals a criminal history, consider your comfort level. You might want to move forward anyway or retract the offer. 
  • Check records for child abuse and neglect. Every state has a child protective service that keeps child abuse and neglect records. Access laws vary from state to state. More than half the states currently grant registry access to check for a history of abuse or neglect.
  • Examine driving record. If this person is toting your children to school, piano practice, and everywhere in between, a flawless driving record is a must. Ask for driving records from each state the nanny has lived in. These records will reveal collisions and suspensions. They’ll also pick up any failures to appear in court.
  • Run multiple checks across the country. This is an essential step. If a nanny breaks the law in one state, the charge may not show up in another state. To scrutinize past criminal behavior, you’ll need to do a deep dive into all previous addresses. This has to happen at both a state-wide and national level.  

How much is a background check?

The cost of a nanny background check varies depending on thoroughness. But considering the potential outcome of not running one, it’s worth the investment.

Simply put: the cost of a nanny background check? About $60 to $300. Your kid’s safety? Priceless.

Nanny Lane offers background checks starting from $25. They include multiple different screenings like SSN trace, Global watchlist, National, Statewide, County criminal database, and the sex offender databases.

Once your background check has cleared

With the screening complete, move to the final stage of the hiring process: the nanny contract.

It’s also time to consider how you’ll pay your nanny. A nanny payroll service makes payments and taxes easy and saves you time.


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