About Nanny Background Checks
The pre-employment background screening services available through the NannyNetwork.com web site are a service of 4nannies.com. Families are strongly encouraged to verify the background of their nanny candidate before she begins caring for their children! The following FAQ is provided to help you understand the processes.
Updated November 2008
BEWARE PROMISES OF 'INSTANT' BACKGROUND CHECKS!
READ THE FINE PRINT! The 'instant' searches rely on incomplete, outdated private databases. They are not FCRA compliant and cannot legally be used for pre-employment screening. 4nannies' criminal background checks use source records - they are in-court checks. We encourage families to do thorough pre-employment screening before leaving a caregiver with their loved ones.
The basic background check provided in the 4nannies.com subscription has two components:
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TRACE: Verify SSN and current address. This is also used to determine a candidate's previous residence(s), confirm date of birth,
and any other names or aliases associated with that SSN for the past 7 years. Vital to determine if additional names or jurisdictions need to be checked.More Information
IN-COURT CRIMINAL RECORDS SEARCH: The in-court criminal records search is used to determine if the individual has been
convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in a given jurisdiction within the past 7 years. The criminal court records check will be made in the county specified by the client.
You must search all names in all jurisdictions to conduct a thorough nanny criminal background search.
Background checks are provided by a third party, Verifications, Inc. (VI), a Minnesota based corporation with a national background screening network. We offer background checks on US citizens, permanent residents and non-citizens possessing a valid Social Security Number (B, H and G visa holders for example), and Canadian citizens and permanent residents with valid Social Insurance Numbers (SIN).
The basic single county criminal check is a good starting point for nanny screening. Most families find, however, that the history of the individual nanny applicant and the nature of the job necessitates adding different searches to be thorough.
At a minimum, all names and all addresses that were developed by the SSN trace should have in-court county level records checked. Criminal records are only found when BOTH the name searched and the DOB match exactly.
It is very common for the more mature candidates to have the possibility of records under different names as a result of marriage and/or divorce. Families often learn information in the basic check that causes them to expand the initial search. Items may be added for up to 30 days beyond the initial search.
There are two other 'broad net' tools that can help a family expand their screenings without spending a fortune. These are the National Sex Offenders Registry search and the the National Criminal Records Locator. These searches are strongly encouraged.
We recommend a motor vehicle records search be run even if you do not plan to have the nanny drive your children. Information on the MVR can speak to the candidate's judgment (DUI or excessive speed), responsibility and attention to detail.
Reference checking should never be overlooked. Every candidate should be able to provide you with a minimum of 3 non-related references. References who have observed the candidate in a childcare setting are preferred. Character references, however, may be the only real references the younger candidate has. Families may request that Verifications Inc.'s trained staff verify references of candidates. [MORE INFO]
Civil Court Records Searches are available as an optional add-on to the criminal records search. These can take several additional days to complete.
A true, accurate nation-wide search cannot be done, as there is no publically-accessible central repository for all federal, state and county level felony and misdemeanor convictions. There is one national criminal database created by the FBI, known as the NCIC (National Crime Information Center), but it is not a public record, and it is illegal for anyone to access it other than criminal justice agencies.
So what is the best solution for nationwide screening? The most efficient and economical alternative is the National Criminal Records Locator [NCRL], a search of a proprietary criminal records database containing over 275 million records (but not all). As the name implies, the National Criminal Record Locator search is a "locator" device designed to perform a broad search to identify jurisdictions in which an applicant potentially has a criminal record. Potential 'hits' require matches on two or more identifiers - most commonly name and date of birth. If a NCRL record match is found, Verifications will automatically order the appropriate county level search(es) at no additional cost. Bear in mind that this will, when needed, add several days to the final order completion.
We strongly encourage families to order the national sex offender search. This option has been considerably improved in recent year as a result of legislation. The economical National Sexual Offender Registry (NSOR) search is recommended as part of any childcare or eldercare background screening to reduce the risk of hiring someone with a prior history of sex offenses. The NSOR accesses public information from each state, using real-time access to each state registry. The NSOR search provides a comprehensive, nationwide alternative to a single state sex offender search.
The national sex offender registry search relies on records aggregated by the U.S. Department of Justice. It provides a comprehensive search that includes offenders in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. The NSOR accesses real-time records from each jurisdiction's public registries. Offenses requiring registration are governed by state law. Information reported includes available records for the maximum period allowed under applicable law. The link below details the information included by state.
Information reported varies by state, but typically includes:
- The full name of the offender
- A classification of the offense
- The last know address of the offender.
All information found during the course of the search is reported.
National Sexual Offender Registry Reference: Detailed State Descriptions
Driving records are very important, and they reveal more than just how well the nanny drives. A driving record can speak to the candidate's judgment, attention to detail, and conformity to rules. DUI's and speeding tickets will generally give a family pause
Many states have moved to protect the confidentiality of these records in recent years. As a consequence, third party requests for driving records are not available in all states and some states limited the detail provided to third parties. 4nannies.com allows families to order a driving records report, where available, at additional costs. If the state requires additional paperwork (authorization to release data from the candidate) you will be notified directly by the search firm, Verifications Inc. These rules are changing constantly, and our vendor, Verifications Inc., is in the business of remaining current on individual state rules. 4nannies.com advises as an alternative you ask the nanny to obtain an official copy of her driving record directly from her local DMV. She can request that at any DMV office and costs, when applied, are very nominal. She can then forward this information directly to you.
Some states require that the reports NOT be provided electronically - in those situations you will be advised that the completed report will be mailed directly to your address by our vendor Verifications Inc.
ADDITIONAL DETAILS: CO, DC, DE, GA, MD, MI, NH, OH, PA, WA all require an additional state specific signed authorization which will be provided by Verifications Inc. This list is subject to change.
Washington State will only confirm the validity of a Driver's License. Full detail such as violations and accidents is not available from the Washington (WA) Department of Licensing to anyone except the job applicant, unless the job applicant will be operating a commercial vehicle or school bus.
Civil suits are filed when a plaintiff believes they are due restitution or compensation for a wrong done by a defendant (the applicant being screened). Civil searches are conducted at the upper level court in each jurisdiction requested. Although a civil search will cover law suits filed for damages, bankruptcy, personal injury etc. where a plaintiff (or at least their lawyer) feels a defendant has violated a civil law or code and seek compensation by legal means, Verifications Inc. can only report the information when the applicant is the defendant.
- Download the Candidate Records Release Authorization form and have your applicant complete it for you. This is a legal requirement of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
- Order your search online at 4nannies.com Background. Family members (paid members) will receive a $49.95 credit for the basic background check included in membership if not previously used.
- Select the items you wish to have searched. The minimum package includes a SSN trace/address verification plus a criminal records search in one jurisdiction.
What we recommend.
- Provide your credit card details for payment and submit the order.
- FAX the Candidate Records Release Authorization to the search firm, Verifications Inc. The toll free fax number is on the top of the release form. Failure to provide the release form will delay the release of your completed report.
- A typical search is returned within 3 business days - you are notified via email. You will log in to view the completed report. Canadian searches and civil records searches will require additional time.
Pre-employment background searches are not available on candidates outside the US and Canada. We regret that we cannot provide this information for citizens of other countries.
There are no national standards for nanny training and no national OR state regulation of nannies. Anyone may apply for a nanny
job or call themselves a nanny. It is imperative that a family thoroughly interview, screen, and manage their child's
nanny! All candidates are not equal, and all families' requirements for their nanny are not the same. Did you know that
over 70% of convicted criminals are returned to prison after parole? This means that the possibility of a convicted criminal
performing another criminal act is very high. You place your children and yourself at risk for becoming a victim of one of
these individuals if you place one in a position of trust in your household when you fail to verify the candidate's background. 4nannies.com includes one free background check
with every family subscription - use it!
YES! The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that a potential employer obtain a signed release from a candidate prior to ordering the pre-employment search. You must agree that you understand and are adhering to this law when you submit your order. You must fax the signed release to Verifications Inc. insure FCRA compliance. The fax number is at the top of the form. You can download a Nanny Records Release Authorization form for the applicant's signature.
You are responsible to adhere to all applicable regulations governing these searches, including those imposed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and to provide the candidate with the Summary of Rights when a pre-employment background check is ordered. You are required to explicitly acknowledge that you understand and agree to adhere to these obligations when your order is placed.
An Adverse Action Letter, Summary of Rights and a copy of the applicable report generated must be provided to applicant if your decision not to hire was in whole, or in part due to information you received from the 4nannies.com background check.
We recommend you utilize a formal job application form to collect necessary information for reference checking and for comparison purposes with the
SSN trace/Address History report. If hiring without a nanny referral agency, you may consider using the
Nanny Application form developed by 4nannies.com to collect important candidate
information. Use this as the starting point to check the candidate's references and please don't fail to independently verify his/her refernces!.
An alias or AKA (also known as) is any name that has been used by the candidate in the past.
Life events such as marriage and divorce result in many candidates with records associated with more than one name. It is possible that criminal records could exist under any prior name. The SSN trace will generally pick up known aliases as it is compiled from credit bureau files. It is the family's decision whether to order multiple criminal records searches under the various aliases - we strongly recommend that you do.
Similarly, some candidates have a hyphenated last name, Mary Smith-Jones for example. Verifications Inc. will search this type of record in three formats for possible criminal records matches: Mary Smith, Mary Jones, and Mary Smith-Jones. Additional charges are incurred. Remember, a thorough criminal background search requires searching under all known names.
Criminal records searches must have an exact name match in most jurisdictions to return records. This is vital - without this exact match a record will not be returned. You are advised to do criminal searches on all known aliases. If you find a name you were not initially aware of as a result of the SSN trace, you can order additional searches. Follow the link on your Background Search Results Email to order supplemental searches.
Unless the individual was tried and convicted as an adult, records of convictions prior to the age of 18 are unavailable.
Nolle Prossed is from the Latin term "Nolle Prosqui" meaning "We shall no longer prosecute." Generally, it is a decision by the prosecution that there is insufficient evidence to pursue the case. It is often used in plea bargains. The prosecution decided not to prosecute a criminal case. A 'dismissal' may be ordered by the court when the court decides that the case, for any of a number of factors, including lack of witnesses, an offer of restitution, community service, lack of evidence, etc., will not go forward. Depending on state law, dismissed and/or Nolle Processed charges may or may not be reported on pre-employment screening reports.
4nannies.com regrets we cannot provide access to individual credit reports via our website. Families desiring this information should contact a reputable credit reporting agency directly. Be advised, however, that all of the credit bureaus have tightened access to this information and will no longer accept
residential based businesses (for us this means families) as users. Because of this added level of credit bureau security we are unable to offer these checks. Our recommendation would be if this is important to your job staffing (a personal assistant who will have access to your bank funds for example) you may request that the applicant obtain their own credit report directly.
The following are some suggestions.
- Have the nanny complete a formal job application. She can download from here and either fax or mail to you.
- Require that the nanny show you original documents confirming her identity: drivers license, passport, college ID card, etc. At least one document should have a photo. Do not accept photocopies as these can disguise alterations.
- Establish chronology of work and education history. Look for unexplained gaps. If significant gaps exist, ask the candidate to help 'fill in the blanks.' Make sure the candidate's history is in month/year format. Ask probing questions - often gaps indicate a prior poor employment experience, but they can signal a myriad of other problems.
- Personally contact all references and verify all prior employment. We provide you forms and guidelines for these interviews in the Members Only Toolkit and encourage you to use them. References from teachers and clergy are encouraged, and are often the only real references the younger candidate may have. Follow up all written references with a telephone call if possible, or better yet try to meet the person informally for coffee to chat. People may be reluctant to admit to concerns on paper, but will sometimes share them 'off the record'. Experts suggest that you attempt to get an additional reference for your candidate from their chosen references. A question like "Do you know anyone else who might be able to give me a character reference on Susie?" will often elicit a name and number of someone who has not been briefed by the candidate ahead of time. Many families utilize the reference checking services of Verifications Inc. either in lieu of personally contacting references, including previous employers, or more often in addition to the personal check. Families report this service adds a level of comfort to the background checking process.
- Check DMV records, even if the nanny will not be driving. Either require that the nanny provide you an original, current DMV record or order this search independently as part of the criminal background check.
- Verify education. Candidate can send you copies of transcripts or diploma. If you can, talk to a teacher or administrator that knows her.
- TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. Don't worry that your spouse or coworker might think you are paranoid. If your gut says there is something wrong, move on to other candidates.
- Employ a nanny without checking references and employment history.
- Ignore unexplained gaps or discrepancies in work and education history - always check them out until you are completely satisfied.