EXPERT Q&A

How do we go about running a background check on a nanny?

Quality background checks are imperative to the nanny hiring process. Expert Michelle LaRowe reviews the different types of background checks.

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Question

We found a nanny that seems great through a Facebook group, but we want to be safe and diligent by running a quality background check. From the research I’ve done, it seems like background checks are not all created equal, so wondering exactly what we should be checking. 

Can we go to our local police department to get a background check, or are there any other background check company recommendations? Also, what information do we need to gather from the nanny? Lastly, we haven’t yet confirmed if she is a U.S. citizen or not. If she’s not, will it even be possible to run a background check?

Answer

Great question. You are wise to gather as much information as possible to make an educated and informed hiring decision. A quality background check starts with confirming the identity of the individual and the data available. And will lead to you feeling confident about the care your children are receiving and a stepping stone to building trust with your new nanny.

As an employer bringing a new nanny into your home, you’ll want to confirm several things. First, you’ll want to confirm that your candidate is legally authorized to work in the United States. You’ll also want to verify the candidate’s identity by reviewing their identification and running an identity verification report. Further, it’s important to cast a wide net by running a multi-state criminal search and investigate any hits with a county court records search. Reviewing county court records from counties the candidate has lived in and worked in for the 7 to 10 years is good practice. In addition, you want to be sure to do a driving record check and a social media search.

Most importantly, you’ll want to be sure that the checks you run are Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant, which promotes fairness and accuracy, and ensures the privacy of personal information assembled by credit reporting agencies. FCRA compliance means you have received authorization from the candidate to run the check, and that you are following all applicable laws. As a note, this also requires that if you do not offer the job to the candidate due to something found in the background check, you must inform the candidate and provide them with the report in addition to the opportunity to dispute the background check results. More information about FCRA compliance can be found here.

As an employer, you can also ask your nanny candidate for references—and many candidates may already provide this information in their application materials. When conducting reference checks, try speaking directly with three references and ask a series of questions related to the quality of care the candidate provided to their children.

Conducting background screenings and reference checks takes time, but it’s time well invested considering the wellbeing and safety of your children and family are a top priority. It’s also important to note that a clean background check isn’t a guarantee that the candidate has never committed a crime or won’t in the future; it’s simply a report on data gathered at a given time and is one important tool in your nanny screening toolkit.

We hope this is helpful as you begin the hiring process!

Recommended Resources

For additional information on background checks, visit eNannySource.com, which provides different quality background check package to help you in your candidate screenings. Also, use CareNectar’s Essential Nanny Screening Checklist activity below for support in background screenings and reference checks.

Meet The Expert


Michelle LaRowe

Michelle LaRowe is an award-winning nanny, agency owner, industry expert and author of several parenting books including Nanny to the Rescue and Nanny to the Rescue Again! She is the founder of NannyTraining.com and educates nannies in over 30 countries. To learn more about Michelle visit www.MichelleLaRowe.com.