Nanny Background Check: Do This First (Required by Law in 2023)

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | May 9, 2024

Elderly caretaker checked out on the left, parent and child looking at a nanny background check document on the right to look for any signs of criminal records.

Nanny Background Check
Nanny background check to search for criminal records, background history, employment, and public records for a nanny.

If you have been looking for a nanny for your child and are finally ready to decide, the first thing you should do is complete a detailed background screening, but a nanny background check also requires you to do something first and it is required by law.

To obtain a nanny background check, you must obtain consent from the nannies being checked (doing so without permission can lead to significant legal repercussions). This means filling out consent forms and talking with them about how you will use their data. However, there are other necessary steps to perform when conducting a nanny background check, depending on the state where you reside.

After obtaining legal consent to perform the background search, continue with the required processes for getting a records check report that is outlined below.

Several varieties of background screenings exist for parents when considering a nanny. The most common types of records checks are criminal background checks, although there are many different types of records searches that a parent can conduct.

An instant background report can verify a person’s name, date of birth, Social Security number (SSN), and address. This is an excellent place to begin if you have the individual’s full name and date of birth and want to confirm basic records. These name-based checks are referred to as level one. If you only have first and last names, start by looking for their middle name.

Some families choose to do credit checks, driving record checks, or even social media searches on a potential applicant. In addition, you can access the public records of a candidate, including county court records for criminal arrests and civil cases to gain insight into a nanny’s past.

More detailed background reports will dig deeper into the criminal history records of a candidate and can include arrests, convictions, sex offender status, and driving citations (which appear on their motor vehicles report). The cost of this type of records search can vary, so it is essential to decide what data you want or need before hiring a screening agency.

National Sex Offenders Registry FAQ screenshot used for a nanny background check.

(Image: U.S. Department of Justice3)

It’s also important to tailor the background check to your specific needs as an employer, as well as the needs of your nanny. For example, in addition to criminal records, a potential employer may want to consider conducting a search on the National Sex Offender Registry.

Guide To Conducting a Comprehensive Background Screening & Identity Verification

The steps you should take to secure a thorough records search on your candidate for nanny may vary from state to state. However, in general, the process will include:

  1. Asking for consent. It is legally required to get permission before conducting a records search on anyone for professional reasons. This means that you should have a conversation with the individual being checked and explain what information about them will be used.
  2. Gathering personal information. To complete a background check, you will need some basic information about the individual being screened, such as their name, birthday, and Social Security number.
  3. Checking references. One of the best ways to get an idea of the character of a nanny is to speak with their former employers or colleagues. References can tell you a lot about an individual’s work ethic and character.
  4. Cross-referencing databases. Various databases exist that can help verify the information collected about an individual. This includes checking criminal backgrounds, sex offender registries, and terrorist watch lists.
  5. Obtaining authorization forms. To get consent from the person being screened, you will need the appropriate documentation. This can include release forms, consent forms, and authorizations to conduct a background check (check with your state on the correct ones, or contract with a reputable third-party agency).
  6. Completing the search. Once you have all the necessary information, it is time to conduct the actual background screening. This usually includes hiring a reputable background check company to complete the search on your behalf.

The process of conducting a comprehensive background check on a candidate for a nanny can be time-consuming, but it is well worth the peace of mind it brings to parents. By following these simple steps, you can rest assured that your children are in safe hands.

Nanny background check identity screening for how to run a background check on a nanny background check services and the best nanny background check.

It’s important to keep in mind that these tips care options, and tricks apply to any background records searches. For example, knowing the criminal background of a nanny provides greater insight into who you’re allowing into your life—and helps ensure that your children are in the best possible hands.

Having a conversation about how to conduct background checks for nannies is never easy, but it’s vital for all families looking for childcare options. While you have a legal responsibility to respect the privacy of an individual’s records and information, you have a greater responsibility to keep your children safe.

Still, you must follow state and US laws that prohibit you from using the information you’ve gathered in a discriminatory manner. That means that if an individual has been found guilty of a crime, the law says it doesn’t mean they can never work with children again, and their background information and permanent records will reflect that fact.

What To Include in Your Background Check: Nanny Background Information You Need To Know

There is a variety of different permanent records information that you can request when conducting a background check on a potential nanny. Below is a list of some of the most vital types of information that you should gather:

US Dept of Health and Human Services Children Bureau website screenshot.

(Image: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services4)

  • Criminal record: This includes any arrests, convictions, or incarcerations the individual may have. It’s important to remember that not all arrests result in convictions and that many crimes may not show up on a background check.
  • Sex offender registry: If you are conducting background checks for nannies across state lines or into other jurisdictions outside of the United States, you should also include the records from sex offender registries. The goal is to help protect children vulnerable to sexual predators.
  • Child abuse registry: The Children’s Bureau created a statute that establishes state lists of individuals who have been convicted of child abuse or neglect. It’s important to know if the nanny you’re considering as a candidate has a background of harming children in any way.2
  • Driving record: The driving record of a potential candidate can help you assess their risk for causing accidents while transporting your children in a motor vehicle.
  • Education verification: The education level of a nanny candidate is an essential factor when it comes to keeping your children safe. If you’re considering hiring a nanny with little or no formal training, this should be reflected in the background check.
  • Employment background: Knowing how long a person has been employed by previous families can help paint a picture of their future with your family. In addition, you should check to see if they have been fired from a previous position and why (if appropriate). Options careers guide you by confirming former employment.
  • Citizenship status: Make sure that the potential candidate is legally allowed to work in the US or any other country where you need help watching over children. This will ensure the US nanny tax can be paid to the IRS, if applicable.

Nanny Background Check: Why Your Household Needs a Nanny’s Full Background

Background checks for nannies are a vital part of ensuring the safety of your children. When choosing nannies, parents want their children in trustworthy hands. There are many ways to ensure this happens by taking steps such as:

  • A comprehensive nanny screening process gives families peace of mind.
  • Verifying the identity records, experience, and references of a nanny is essential when choosing a caregiver or running a separate records check on caregivers.
  • Cross-referencing information across multiple databases to ensure you are hiring a trustworthy nanny.

Furthermore, choosing the wrong nanny may even lead to repercussions for your own public records. For example, if the nanny receives packages at your place of residence and someone searches “who resides here” it may put you in a tough situation.

Sadly, there are many nannies out there willing to take advantage of families. Having a nanny background report on a potential candidate can help you avoid hiring a nanny with a background that includes stealing, violence, and other crimes.

It’s important to research the laws surrounding childcare in your area before making any decisions about who will be watching your children while you are away from home.

Each state has different laws, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with local regulations. For example, currently, no state has laws that require you to complete background checks on nannies or anyone else on your payroll who will be caring for your children. Still, it is in your best interest to take every precaution to ensure your family’s safety.1

The Benefits of Paid Nanny Background Checks Versus Free Background Sites

Understanding what is documented on a criminal record, what a sex offender record is, and how the two are related to your nanny application is an important step in hiring a qualified babysitter.

close up photo of hands on laptop keyboard doing a nanny background check for childcare

Once you have decided the depth of the criminal background check you require, you can take measures to go about conducting your research. There are many paid databases available for your nanny background check, but there is also the option of using free websites if the price of a report does not fit into your budget.

When choosing between doing an in-depth investigation yourself or hiring someone else to conduct the screening, most parents opt for outsourcing this critical task. While you can perform a court records search in your county on your own, it can be time-consuming and potentially costly to conduct background checks for nannies by yourself. This is especially true if you are not familiar with the process or how to go about finding additional records online through your state or county websites. Plus, you can open yourself to liabilities if the check is performed inaccurately or violates some other employment protection law.

There is also little reason for parents who know what they want in screening reports not to use a paid service because it’s typically very affordable. Reputable background check companies can ensure that all state and US regulations are observed to protect you from potential legal liabilities.

A paid nanny background check will include a number of benefits that parents should look for when conducting their own research.

Some of the most important benefits to look for include:

  • A complete criminal records check – It’s vital that nanny background checks include a search across all local, state, and US records, including a records check for federal warrants. Otherwise, you could be missing out on critical data regarding an individual who may have been convicted of crimes in other states or countries.
  • Ability to check sex offender registries – Not all background check companies offer to run searches of sex offender registries, so you must ask about this before signing up. The goal is to ensure the safety of your children above anything else.
  • Access to child abuse registries – Similar to sex offender registries, not all databases include details on child abuse convictions. Again, it’s important to ask about this before signing up.
  • Motor vehicle records – A comprehensive check of the driving record report of nannies is essential for parents who want to ensure the safety of their children while in transit. Accidents and traffic violations can be red flags when considering a nanny to transport your kids.
  • Detailed education records – One of the most critical factors in hiring a nanny is to ensure they are qualified for the job. This includes checking their education records and whether or not they have any special training that would benefit a family member, such as CPR certification or senior care expertise.

All of these benefits would be nearly impossible to determine without the help of a reliable screening service. While no-cost criminal history search sites may run searches without fee, the data can be incomplete and even inaccurate. This can lead to parents making the wrong decision regarding who they entrust with their children.

These kinds of background websites are also prone to hackers who could steal your personal details when you click on ads or other links, so it’s best not to take additional chances. The only way to be 100% sure that the person you hire as a nanny is trustworthy and has an acceptable criminal history is by submitting their name to the database of a reputable screening company.

When it comes to finding the right person to care for your children in 2023, conducting a nanny background check is essential. By ensuring that a nanny has a clean criminal background and is qualified for the job, you can rest assured that your child is in safe hands. Paid databases offer more comprehensive searches than free background resources, so be sure to ask about the services they offer before making a purchase. A nanny background check is an investment in the safety and well-being of your family, and it’s well worth making.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Daycare Background Check the Same as a Nanny Background Search?

No, the two searches differ in intensity as well as legal requirements. Learn more about daycare records check.


1Price-Livingston, Susan. 18 September 1998. RE: Regulation of Nannies/Legislation in Other States. OLR. 2 December 2021. Web. <>

2Child Welfare Information Gateway. 2018. Establishment and Maintenance of Central Registries for Child Abuse or Neglect Reports. 2 December 2021. Web.   <>

3Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website. Retrieved May 9, 2024, from <>

4Data & Research. (n.d.). CHILDREN’S BUREAU An Office of the Administration for Children & Families. Retrieved May 9, 2024, from <>

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