Conducting a Background Check on your Nanny

One of our biggest worries when it comes to our loved ones is keeping them safe.  It’s hard for little ones and some seniors to communicate exactly what is happening in the home when you are not there. Whether you are leaving your children alone with a nanny or hiring an elder caregiver to take care of an aging parent, you’ll want to know they are in good, trustworthy and capable hands.

After extensive interviews and meetings with your potential nanny/caregiver, you find someone who you feel comfortable with and who seems like the perfect fit for your family.  But before you extend that offer, you will want to do a background check. 

Tips to perform a background check

Call her references.  Although seemingly obvious, you should not only ask your prospective nanny for a list of previous families she has cared for (family and friends should not be included), but actually call them. Surprisingly, many people are hesitant to do this.  Find out how long your potential nanny/caregiver worked for the family, why they left, if they were reliable, whether she could be easily reached, and if the reference would hire her again. If you are interviewing for a nanny, also ask about the ages of the children in her care, if she took direction well, if she got along with both the parents and the children, if she was active with the kids, and how she handled an emergency or difficult situation.

Check her qualifications.  Does she have first aid or CPR training?  If she does not and you still want to hire her, many of these courses are offered by the local YMCA or your municipal authority.  Be sure to require her successful completion of these first aid courses as a condition of employment. 

Check her records.  You’ll want to find out if your potential candidate has a criminal record (you’ll need to check the state where she currently resides, and all the states where she has lived in the past), and really has the education/certifications listed on her resume. You may also even want her to complete a drug test. 

Many states have a designated process to obtain child abuse clearances for people who will be working around children.  Check out Pennsylvania’s Keep Kids Safe website as one example.

If she is going to be shuttling the kids around town, you’ll also want a copy of her motor vehicle record. Each state has their own way of obtaining one. You can see a list of the requirements for each state here or find your DMV here

The National Sex Offender Public Website is a free site that contains a national registry of sex offenders.

Your prospective nanny must consent to these searches, and in most cases will need to complete the requests for her records herself.  

Hire a Service. If you prefer, you can use a third party, such as enannysource, which offers a comprehensive background check service that includes a social security number trace, county court record searches, and degree verification.   The background check process is a critical step that will provide you with a level of comfort and security that your child or elderly parent is in good hands.  

Once you’ve hired your “perfect” nanny, you’ll also want the comfort and security of knowing you are paying her legally.  For more than 20 years, NannyPay software has helped make the process of paying your nanny “above the table” easier.  NannyPay keeps track of the wages you pay to your nanny and calculates the appropriate withholding, or “nanny taxes”. NannyPay will even generate year-end IRS Forms W2/W3 and a Schedule H at no additional cost. All for just $149.95/year for up to three employees.