Child Care Guide
If you are leaving your child in the hands of a carer for several hours each day then it is essential that you have peace of mind and know your child is safe in your absence. The type of care that you choose for your child will affect the options available to you for finding information on your chosen care provider.
Is your child safe?
Essentially all people who work with or near children in main organizations such as child care day centers, schools and after school care clubs run by authorities or schools have to by law have a criminal records check made, this includes everyone, care providers, teachers, meal providers and parents who volunteer their services within these establishments.
The check is referenced using a computer which checks your background for any criminal offences that you have on record with the criminal records bureau.
However this only works for those in organisations and any person you employ through means of your own, for example hiring a carer through an advertisement, background checks will have to be made by yourself.
Parents who choose to hire a nanny, au-pair or child carer themselves cannot apply for a criminal records background check, however if the nanny, au-pair or child carer is supplied through an agency then the agency can ask for a criminal background check to be made.
Day care centers
Staff working in day care centers run by local authorities will have had the screening process automatically when they applied for the position, this will have included the criminal background check with the criminal records bureau.
After school clubs
If the after school club is organised by a school then full background checks will have been made on teachers and also any parent who volunteers to work in the school system, the background check will have included a criminal records check with the criminal records bureau. Day care centers will also have been screened thoroughly to ensure no person with a criminal background works with children.
If you employ a nanny from an agency then they will have had background checks and screens with the criminal records bureau before being taken on by the agency.
If you hire an au-pair through advertising yourself then it will be down to you to make a background check on the person and ask for references, as most au-pairs have come from other countries this can be difficult.
All child minders have to registered by law and have adequate training and as such will also be screened for any criminal activities.
What you can do to check the background of a prospective child carer
If you decide to hire a child carer yourself then you cannot check their past with the criminal records bureau you will have to try and find out for yourself if the person is suitable to be working with children. It is always a good idea to ask for references from other positions the candidate has been employed in.
The carer should have references from families they have previously worked for and should offer these to you during the interview. Always follow up on the references which should include telephone numbers, call the numbers and ask about the child carer, questions such as:
- Was the carer trustworthy?
- Why did the carer leave the position?
- What was the level of care provided by the child carer?
- Was the child carer punctual?
- Were the parents happy with the level of care provided?
- Would they recommend the child carer?
Background checks can be made by companies specialising in tracking people and several web sites also offer the opportunity of conducting background checks on people.
The level of information you can find out about a person having a background check performed on them varies from simple checks such as history of addresses, age, if they have children or not to more expensive and through checks including any criminal convictions.
It is always wise to tell the person you are going to conduct a background search on them before doing so and if they have nothing to hide then this won’t cause a problem.
Word of mouth can also be used and friends can often recommend baby sitters or child minders they have used in the past who are trustworthy. Whichever method you choose to take always remain vigilant and on the lookout for signs that something could be amiss.