by eNannySourceBlog Myths About Background Checks (1)

Background checks are an essential part of the prescreening hiring process for nannies. Gathering as much information as legally possible on a candidate allows parents to make educated and informed decisions about whom they choose to leave their children with. Yet when it comes to background checks, parents and nannies are often misinformed about what they are and what they mean. Clearly communicating what a background check is, and isn’t, can ensure parents are empowered to make the right hiring decisions for their family.


Myth: All background checks are created equally.

Reality: Background checks can encompass nationwide database searches, county court records searches, motor vehicle driving records reports, statewide searches, civil court record searches, social security traces, educational and credential verification, credit reports, and the list goes on. Understanding what the background check you are ordering or reviewing on a candidate includes is essential to evaluating the information reported out. 

Myth: There are no industry standards on background checks. 

Reality: Different nanny agencies may run different background checks. Some may be part of their pre-employment screening package and others may be available to add on as an additional purchase.

According to the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies, at minimum, all APNA agencies must conduct the following background checks on every nanny candidate placed:

  • Social Security Number verification for identity authentication and to obtain former names and addresses.
  • Statewide and/or county felony and misdemeanor checks in the location where the candidate currently lives.
  • National Sex Offender Registry search.
  • Driving record.


In addition to the required basic background components listed above, APNA’s recommended practice is to conduct the following additional checks:

  • Felony and misdemeanor checks in every jurisdiction where the candidate has worked and lived during the past seven years.
  • Every name used by the candidate during the past seven years is checked for criminal records.
  • Conducting annual updates to existing background checks on temporary nannies or babysitters.


Protecting candidates from identity theft by utilizing background screening companies that do not engage in the offshoring of candidates’ SSNs, dates of birth, or driver’s license numbers for the processing of background checks.


Myth: You only should conduct a background check once, before hiring a candidate. 

Reality: Conducting annual background checks ensures you have updated information on an employee. If a nanny transports the children for work, for example, it would be important to know if the nanny has had any motor vehicle violations that would require a reevaluation of her performance in that area. Background checks should be conducted periodically, especially if the nanny’s responsibilities change or if there are any concerns or suspicions that arise during their employment.

Myth: You don’t need permission from a candidate to run a background check for employment screening purposes.

Reality: There are federal and state laws which dictate rules about employee screening. You should be familiar with the laws that apply to you. Compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a law that requires accuracy, fairness and protection of personal information, and all other applicable local, state, and federal laws is required as is obtaining consent from the candidate whom you are screening.

Myth: Background checks are only needed on full-time nannies.

Reality: Background checks are essential for any individual who will be responsible for the care of your child, whether full-time, part-time, or occasional babysitting. The safety and well-being of children should always be a priority. 

Myth: Nanny background checks are too expensive.

Reality: The cost of a background check can vary depending on the depth of the check and the service provider. However, considering the safety and security of your child, the cost is usually minimal compared to the peace of mind it provides.

Myth: Nanny agencies always conduct thorough background checks, so parents don’t need to worry.

Reality: While reputable nanny agencies often conduct background checks on their nannies, it’s still essential for parents to verify the information provided and to understand which checks are completed and how they are completed. Parents should ask for copies of background check reports and any other relevant and supporting documentation to ensure thoroughness. They also may wish to inquire as to if any additional searches are offered for purchase. 

Myth: Nanny background checks are foolproof.

Reality: While background checks are an important tool for screening potential nannies, they are not infallible. Background checks report data points based on the information provided. Ensuring that you are running the right checks on the right person can minimize data errors that lead to inaccurate reporting. It’s essential for parents to also trust their instincts, conduct interviews, check references, and communicate openly with the nanny to ensure a safe and positive childcare experience.

By dispelling these myths and understanding what a background check is, and isn’t, as well as the importance of thorough background checks, parents can make more informed decisions when hiring a nanny and better ensure the safety and well-being of their children.

To learn more about nanny background checks and to run an affordable, FCRA compliant background check on a nanny, visit

Sponsored Blog 2024 Conference ENannySource

Share This: