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Does a nanny background check count as vetting a nanny?

August 29, 2011

In the many years I’ve been in the nanny business I’ve heard so many times from families that didn’t use a nanny agency say they’ve done a nanny background check as if that means they’ve screened the nanny.  I’ve felt they feel like they’ve done what was really necessary to vet their new hire.  My guess is that what underlies this is the anxiety of hiring a nanny that they’re bringing into their home to care for their children without really knowing how to screen a nanny.

I’m not sure why some families don’t do everything necessary to assure themselves that they’ve really checked their new nanny out.  Recently a nanny told me that she actually hands out nanny hiring materials to families that are interested in her from online nanny sites.  My guess is that harried, busy families simply don’t have the time and knowledge to really screen a nanny fully, so they hang their hat on a nanny background check and call it a day.

Here’s what nanny background checks can do.  They can match up the name with the SSN, they can do a nationwide background check, and they can do county criminal checks and provide you with a driving report.  All together these checks are as good as it gets in an imperfect world to avoid hiring a nanny with a criminal record or DUI.

Here’s what nanny background checks can’t do.  They can’t help prevent you from hiring a complete irresponsible jerk!  They won’t help you hire a loving, caring engaged person to take care of your children.  They can’t even prevent you from hiring someone who’s stolen from other families, but hasn’t been caught yet.


5 Responses to Does a nanny background check count as vetting a nanny?

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eden says:

what a great nanny for handing that material out, it’d be great if more nannies were sensitive to the hiring process and did the same!

Gail C. says:

I think if a prospective family only runs a background check it’s simply because they don’t know that there are other checks that can and should be done… If you are hiring a nanny, treat it just like any other job – ask for references (and call and check them), conduct a background check and do a thorough interview.

Sam says:

Running a background check is a great place to start when you’re vetting out your nanny – once you have that you at least have a baseline for if you want to continue through the interview process or not.

Karen says:

Background checks are actually the last step in our hiring process. We do a phone interview, in person interview, reference checks, second in person interview with the child and then a background check if everything else checks out. So far, it’s worked in our favor.

jenna says:

personally, i think reference checks are one of the best things you can do when hiring a nanny – hearing from other families who have used the nanny before can sometimes be more telling than anything else!