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Tips for Performing a Background Check on a Babysitter

Perform a Background Check Is Performing a Background Check on a Babysitter necessary or overkill?

We have a sitter who is well known in the community, and came recommended by other families in the neighborhood. We also had her watch our child while we were present a few times before leaving our daughter solely in her care. This left us feeling secure that our child was being cared for by a responsible and kind individual. In this scenario we did not feel the need to run a background check, but if you are hiring a babysitter or nanny from a service or advertisement performing a background check is recommended. This can help you weed out Mary Poppins from any old carpetbagger.

Below are some guidelines to help you perform a background check:

Get Permission
Federal law requires all potential employers to obtain written permission for background checks from candidates. You should tell a potential babysitter that you plan to do a background check and have him or her sign a statement authorizing you do so.

Perform a Criminal Background Check

Contrary to what some sites may proclaim there is no way to do a national criminal records check. Only the FBI maintains a national database, called the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
Any search for criminal records should be carried out on a county by county basis in the counties where an individual lived, worked, and went to school, as well as the surrounding counties.

Perform a Social Security Number Trace.
This will Provide you with individuals current and past addresses for the last 7 to 10 years, as well as any other names that have been used. Based on this information you can target what jurisdictions should be checked for criminal records. A SSN trace can also be used to verify what a babysitter has told you and will make it difficult for a candidate to hide important information about possible criminal history.

Review DMV Records
Driving records can be a useful element in a comprehensive background check, especially if the babysitter will be driving your children. You do not want someone with a lead foot or history of accidents driving your children around. A DMV check can also be helpful in revealing a substance abuse problem if there are any DUI convictions on the record.

In my next Babysitter Article I will provide Tips for Choosing a Reliable Background Check Website.

Until then Feel free to Leave a comment about what steps you take to feel comfortable with who you leave your children with.

Thanks - Mike

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