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Dos and Donts When Running Babysitter Background Checks

Being Thorough in Your Babysitter Background Search

To ensure that the person you hire to babysit your children will be worthy of your trust, it is a good idea to perform a variety of background checks.  A brief list of background checks recommended when hiring a babysitter is provided below.

1. Character and professional references – Such references will indicate the level of professionalism, experience, kindness, warmth, and dependability of your potential babysitter.  Reference information can also indicate the babysitter candidate’s honesty.  For example, are the dates of employment provided by the candidate the same as the dates of employment provided by the references?

2. Criminal background checks – These checks will tell you if your babysitter candidate has a record of any criminal offenses that would make him/her not a suitable candidate to babysit your children.

3.Driver’s records checks — These checks will tell you if your babysitter candidate can be entrusted to safely transport your children.  (Note: if your babysitter will not be driving with your children in the automobile, you may not want this background information. However, even if your babysitter won’t be transporting your children, these records can indicate the level of risk that the babysitter is comfortable with on a day-to-day basis.  For example, if s/he has long history of speeding, negligent driving, etc., you can assume that this candidate is comfortable “living on the edge”.  You would then need to decide if you are comfortable exposing your children to that risk.)

4. Drug testing — Pre-employment drug testing reduces the likelihood that your babysitter candidate may abuse substances (i.e., illegal drugs).

5. Higher education and licensure verifications – If your babysitter candidate tells you that he/she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, or if he/she claims to be licensed as an LPN, it is wise to confirm this information because the accuracy or falseness of those claims speak directly to the candidate’s fitness for the job.

6. Sex offender registry/child abuse registry/vulnerable adult abuse registry record checks – If your babysitter has a record of sexual abuse or assault, child abuse, or vulnerable adult abuse, this is likely not a candidate worthy of your futher consideration.

7. Credit history record checks – If your babysitter will be left without adult supervision in your home, and thus have unsupervised access to your financial and other assets, you may want to request a copy of his/her credit history to determine how responsible the candidate has been in handling his/her finances. A person in financial distress is more likely to engage in theft than a person who is not in financial distress.

8. Social Security record checks – By checking these records, you will be able to confirm that your babysitter candidate’s name and Social Security number are (or are not) valid according to the records of the federal Social Security Administration.


Illegal Questions You Can’t Ask a Caregiver

When conducting a babysitting interview, it’s important to keep in mind that there are some questions that you just can’t ask.  Following is a list of illegal questions.

1. How old are you?  When were you born?  (Note:  you can ask if the candidate meets the legal minimum age threshold specified by federal law for the requirements of the job you are seeking to fill.)

2. Where were you born?  (Note:  you can ask if the candidate is legally authorized to work in the USA.)

3. What is your race or ethnicity?

4. What is your religion?  (Note: if you expect your babysitter to instill religious beliefs and practices in your children, you may ask if he/she is willing to do so pursuant to your beliefs and practices, but you may not ask if those beliefs and practices conflict with his/hers.)

5. Are you married?  What is your maiden name?

6. Do you intend to become pregnant any time soon?

7. Are you, in any way, disabled?

(If the candidate has served in the military) Were you discharged honorably, dishonorably, or medically?

Have you ever been arrested?  (You can only ask about convictions and charges to which he/she has plead guilty or no contest.)

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