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Caregiver 101: Information You Should Know Before You Hire

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Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2013 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:31 am, Mon Nov 11, 2013.

(Family Features) When looking for the perfect caregiver, many families don't know where to begin. Though the Internet offers a quick solution for finding caregiver information, it can also be a misleading source.

Whether looking for a babysitter for a few weeknights or a full-time nanny, knowing the history of your caregivers is vital. In fact, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, babysitters are responsible for 4.2 percent of criminal acts against children under six years of age. Though this is a small percentage, some believe these types of crimes could have been prevented with the appropriate information up front.

When conducting a background check, there are two main types to choose from: live court research and online database searches.

Online databases: With an affordable price tag and a quick turnaround with information, many people turn to online sites when looking for the appropriate caregiver for their family. Though many of these sites tout that their applicants are 'mom recommended,' many are simply electronic databases with little investigative reporting on applicant history. Though they do report major offenses, such as felonies, these sites often miss the mark on reporting minor crimes and misdemeanors. These are the types of crimes that speak volumes about an applicant's character and past.

Live court research: In addition to a traditional online search, you should also conduct the more thorough option of live court research. Though a more costly choice, live court research extensively searches current and past court records, both state and federal. Look for a screening company with the most up-to-date information, such as Validity Screening Solutions, who has more than 1,600 record researchers that cover all jurisdictions in the United States, to offer the most current and accurate information. For more information, visit www.validityscreening.com.

Create a caregiver checklist

"A thorough screening includes live court research in addition to an online web search," said Darren Dupriest, president and CEO of Validity Screening Solutions. "Make sure your search includes an all-encompassing look at an applicant's verifications, records with federal and state agencies and other personal assessment screenings, which are all important determinants when choosing the best caregiver for your family."

Before choosing the appropriate background check, make sure it hits all the important marks listed below:

Criminal Records: A thorough search will identify any felony or misdemeanor criminal convictions. This search should be current enough to include any pending cases involving the candidate.

Sex offender registries: A criminal record search alone does not include significant sex offender information because each state has its own stand-alone registry. Be sure to look for a screening company that offers a multi-state check.

Driving records: For caregivers required to drive on the job, a thorough check of their driving history is essential. This includes the possession of a valid driver's license, and ensuring it has not been suspended, revoked and the applicant has no objectionable moving violations.

Verification: A proper check will ensure that past employment, certifications and references are verified through the original source.

A complete review of a potential caregiver ensures you are entrusting your family to the safest, best care possible. It also provides peace of mind while you are away from them, which, in itself, is priceless.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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