Caregiver Background Checks

With the baby boomers aging a large portion of the US Populous is in need of caregivers.  The roles for caregivers in the home or in assisted living or in nursing homes have become critical to daily life.  Given the responsibility of watching over and caring for our at-risk populations (individuals that cannot necessarily take care of themselves, such as young children and the elderly), the selection of a caregiver must be taken with a great deal of scrutiny.

The vetting process of a caregiver is extremely important.  Whether a family decides to work with another family member, namely one outside the immediate family, or an outside service, the decision cannot be taken lightly.  However, many families are not familiar with the hiring process of employing an individual and may forgo the vetting process completely leaving their loved one with someone who may take advantage of them either by financial abuse or physical abuse.  Even families hiring a caregiver should use a professional employment screening company to properly vet the applicant before giving them access to the home or unsupervised time with the elderly.

One of the most important parts of the vetting of caregivers is a background check, with first and foremost being criminal background checks.  It is a relatively inexpensive tool that can provide invaluable information utilized in making a well-informed decision.  A thorough background check can uncover a criminal past or questionable character that may pose a significant risk to the elderly.

Caregiver background checks are valuable in at least two noteworthy key areas:

  1. Verification of previous employment, references, and professional accreditation.
  2. Review of all public documents primarily criminal records that may be pertinent to the hiring of a caregiver.

Understanding the details of an individual’s past provides insight into their potential future.  A professional employment screening process is designed to mitigate risk and expose red flags.

Key reports often used in a Caregiver background check include:

  • Criminal History Report – Drawn from county courthouses, a criminal history report provides the most current information available on a given individual.
  • Social Security Records Trace – Provides information on the county of an individual’s recent recorded residence.  This informs which county a criminal history report should be drawn from and provides verification of AKAs.
  • Sexual Predator Registry – Includes a Full 50-State Sex Offender Registry Search
  • DMV Report – If driving history is relevant

Without question a background check is the single most important part of the vetting process.

Care.com, one of America’s largest portals for individuals looking for work and those looking for them notes:

“A background check will look for criminal background records (felonies, misdemeanors or sex offender listings), in various places where you are believed to have lived. A more expensive check can provide them with information on your driving records, civil restraining orders, bankruptcy records and warrants.”  care.com/c/stories/2705/background-checks-how-to-handle-them/

The Children Welfare Information Gateway proclaims equally stringent requirements for background screening.

From ChildWelfare.gov:

A criminal records check refers specifically to a check of the individual’s name in State, local, or Federal law enforcement agencies’ records, including databases of records, for any history of criminal convictions. All States, the District of Columbia, and Guam require checks of State criminal records as part of the background investigation of prospective foster and adoptive parents and other caregivers. Nearly all States also require checks of national criminal recordschildwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/background.pdf#page=2&view=Who needs background checks

In the end it is extremely important for families and organizations that care for the elderly to hire caregivers only after a professional background check is performed to increase the odds of protecting the vulnerable and at-risk populous of the USA.  It is also important to note that laws and regulations governing the background screening industry can vary from state to state as well as from one jurisdiction to another.  This is why utilizing a professional third party background screening agency still remains a best practice for both families and organizations looking to protect the elderly.

To read more about how important it is for families and businesses to perform thorough background screening on all caregiver’s before giving them access to the elderly read recent CriminalBackgroundRecords.com press release:  Caregiver Background Checks

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