Ali Gordon | 16 April, 2021

Schools and workplaces are beginning to open up again--projecting a slow return to some kind of ‘normal’ as more and more COVID19 vaccines are administered. During this time, many nanny agencies and families are hiring again for nanny shares or individual family child care. 

Confidence in this role is critical since these professionals are working with young children all day, every day. If you’ve never hired a nanny or it’s been a long time, do you know what type of background check you should run? These are 5 things you should look for.

  1. Checks with Identity Verification

    Knowing exactly who is working with your kids or your clients’ kids is essential. Not all background checks include identity verification, so it’s especially important you use a screening with this feature. It could include a fingerprint or other biometric ID verifications, expanded name searches, or date of birth confirmation. If you use a social security number confirmation to verify identity, keep in mind that not all SSN traces confirm if that social security number actually belongs to the individual in question. A background screening with more than one way of verifying identity is your best bet for accuracy. 
  2. Checks with Sex Offender Registry and Child Protective Service Records

    Many background checks look into state or county criminal or arrest records, and this is certainly an important step. It can be useful to pair an address history check with a criminal background screening to get a better sense of a caregiver’s history; just ensure you follow all employment and EEO laws. In some cases, you may even want a screening of FBI and international records if you are hiring in a global context. But aside from these broader checks, it’s useful to consider specific records like sex offender registries and abuse and neglect cases filed with child protective services. These kinds of checks can give you confidence that your hire will be a safe fit with kids.
  3. Checks with Driving Records

    Many nanny responsibilities involve transporting children to and from school or recreational events. It can also be important that a nanny can drive in case of some kind of emergency. For these reasons, a background check that screens for driving history is a smart choice when hiring a nanny. The check should look into things like traffic violations or DUI incidents. 
  4. Checks with Financial History

    Many private household managers shop, plan events, and handle other responsibilities on behalf of a family. Nannies may also take on financial management responsibilities, and understanding how these hires handle monetary resources can help you make a smart choice. Where aligned with legal, employment, and privacy requirements, credit and tax history could provide insight into a prospective family care provider’s financial management patterns. For example, does a person’s credit history indicate timely payments of auto loans, housing, or other debts? Many household managers are responsible for paying bills on behalf of a family, so this kind of check could confirm or raise questions about quality of fit.
  5. Checks with Personal References

    While looking into all these different kinds of records can give you a strong assessment of a prospective nanny’s background, it’s also important to gain a personal sense of an individual beyond just the data.  This can not only support a family or nanny agency trying to determine personality fit or prior experience, but it can also help confirm qualifications. Are they trained in CPR and first aid services? Can they pass a swim test? Do they have other forms of training or occupational licenses that would be needed for a specific family? Checking personal references is uniquely useful in this kind of hiring because a nanny’s relationship with kids often lasts years and can be incredibly impactful on the entire family.

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