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Criminal Checks on Household Help

Jun 20, 2008
It is one thing to fear that the person you hire is not going to care for your child properly and is put in the face of danger, but it is quite another thing to fear that the person who is coming into your home might have a criminal past.

Reference checks will say many things about a prospective nanny or housekeeper. For example, a former boss might tell you that the nanny was excellent with children, reliable, responsible and hardworking. Then you might go down the list and find that one of the references states that the same nanny was late all the time and this presented a problem. However, what if none of the references say anything about one's shady past because none of them knew of any criminal activity? You would then think that most likely with a good criminal and reference background check that you are 99% safe with your candidate.

Consider this - there is always the possibility that a crime might have existed without being discovered. Here is the best way to do a criminal check.

First do a social security trace that will give you what is called a "mega history" on the person. This will outline all counties in the last 7 years where a person has lived. From this list you can narrow your search using the candidate's date of birth and social security number checking all the counties that are listed on the trace. If the candidate has many names, then you must do the trace on all of them, using the sequence of names as listed on the driver's license and social security card.

The real dilemma lies if you discover a criminal record on someone who is working out beautifully with the children and appears to be a good employee? What do you do? Do you give her the benefit of the doubt? Do you keep someone in your home that you like because you are willing to give this person a chance? Would you forgive the crime and believe that people can change and never return to those dark days? Or, do you immediately throw the person out and feel relieved that nothing bad happened in your home during the short time she was there?

There are many criminals today that wander our streets after doing the time required to pay for their wrongdoings. Many cannot possibly assimilate into society because so few are willing to give them a chance. It might be easier to let a former felon into other settings before letting him/her into your home with your children. The truth is that it would be extremely difficult to not think constantly about the former crime and worry about the possibility that the person would do it again.

We might be forgiving in many ways to others who hurt us or do us wrong, but we are not so obliging when it comes to a former felon working in our home as a nanny or housekeeper.

In all of this, there is one more scenario to ponder. You might hire a nanny or housekeeper who has no criminal background, a fabulous set of working references, a clean driving record and what appears to be a "perfect" nanny or housekeeper. Then after five long wonderful years working together closely with your family members and in your home, this same person decides that she is desperate and finds herself wanting things that do not belong to her or that she cannot obtain on her own. She begins her criminal career right there in your home and you are completely oblivious to it until one day the truth is known.

This very thing just happened to someone very close to me (my mother) and needless to say, she was devastated.

We can never be sure about anyone. People may have a brief or even extensive criminal past and end up turning completely around for the better. Others might never have any criminal past and end up doing something completely out of character due to desperation, envy and greed. Whenever you have someone in your home, it is a risk you take. Whenever you hand your children over to another person, you are taking a risk. You can run all the criminal background checks you want on anyone, but the truth remains that you can never be too sure about anyone. It is a wonderful feeling to be a trusting soul, but we must always keep one eye fully open and stay vigilant at all times - no matter who it is that enters our lives.
About the Author
Marta Perrone, author of How to Find, Hire, Train and Maintain Household Help. Free report: Top 10 Mistakes Household Employers Make When Recruiting Help.
http://www.domesticpublications.com, http://domestic-connections.com, http://martaperrone.com
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