Don’t leave childcare to chance; conduct an advanced background check
Many working parents have childcare needs, and if local family members are not available (and willing!) to do babysitting duty, parents often look to the community for good childcare. For some families, the best option is a day care center with full-time childcare staff, while others prefer smaller care facilities or even home-based caregivers who only supervise a few children at a time. All of these can be great options, but there are different considerations to take based on what type of care you prefer. The Washington Post recently ran a piece about what you should take into consideration when choosing a home day center for your children, including checking whether the facility has a license or not (some states don’t require one for home-based care, so long as a limited number of children are present), what kind of training certifications the caretaker(s) has, and whether or not the caretaker has undergone a background check. Because Mind Your Business started as a way for founder Karen Caruso to find a nanny for her own children, we’d like to take the Post’s advice a step further, and suggest that you do your own advanced background check if you’re going to use home-based or unlicensed childcare options. For those home-based caregivers that don’t have a license, there is no governing entity that ensures any kind of background checks or inspections have occurred. This means that literally anyone could be taking care of your child and there is no one to regulate what happens inside the home. Therefore, in addition to speaking to the caregiver about what kind of background checks they have undergone or require for their own part-time or full-time employees, we recommend that you conduct your own advanced background check, through a background screening service, on the following people:
- The caregiver — to ensure there is no criminal record that would put your child at risk. If the caregiver is reputable, they should not have a problem with you wanting to verify their record is clean.
- Any other adults living in the caregiver’s home — even if other adults are not present during the day, when children will be cared for, you want to ensure that no other adults in the household have felony records or are sex offenders. Unlike with licensed day care centers or schools, there are not restrictions on sex offenders living in unlicensed home day-care, at least in some states.
- Any other aides or helpers that come in either part- or full-time to assist with childcare — and be sure to request that if any new workers are hired while your child is still receiving care, you be given their names to conduct checks as well.
- The neighborhood — if you’d like, you can do a sweep of the sex offender registry to see if any live in the neighborhood in which your home care is located. While it may be unlikely your child would come in contact with any of the neighbors, you may feel better if you are aware of who is in the area.
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