The Smack Addict Babysitter: Why You Should Background Check Your Caregiver

Every couple with children knows how refreshing it can be to get a night off from taking care of the kids to spend time with one another. A romantic date night is the perfect way to reinforce the intimate bond between lovers, which can be strained under the pressures of raising children.

One of the biggest concerns for parents looking to spend time alone with each other is finding the right caregiver. No parent wants to think about what might happen if they leave their child in the hands of a criminal or psychopath. Even someone who is just a little careless and absent-minded can put a child in serious danger.

That's why people use sitter-finding services and websites that have a list of reputable caregivers in their area. In theory, these sites are supposed to take the hassle and stress out of finding a responsible, trustworthy babysitter.

But as one northern New Jersey family found out recently, it doesn't always work that way. Their story is a perfect reminder of why you should never trust online babysitter databases until you have independently verified the history of the person who will be entering your home to take care of your children.

The Cautionary Tale of Ann Guadagnino

Ann Guadagnino was a babysitter listed on Care.com, a website that connects caregivers with people in need of childcare or senior citizen care. A New Jersey family living in Hunterdon County hired Guadagnino to take care of their five-year-old twins.

Upon the family's return, they noticed that jewelry and valuables worth thousands of dollars were missing from their home. On November 14, 2014, the family reported the theft to police in their area. The valuables were recovered the next day at a local pawnshop. The family would later find out that Guadagnino had a heroin addiction and had stolen the family's valuables to support her habit.

In fact, according to NJ.com, Guadagnino had been arrested just one year previously and charged with possession of heroin, drug paraphernalia, and a hypodermic syringe. The story was even published online, making it hard to fathom how Care.com could have missed such an obvious blemish on Guadagnino's qualifications as a babysitter.

The New Jersey family recently filed a complaint against Care.com, alleging that the site failed to discover the nanny's criminal record in its screening process. The complaint also alleges that Care.com does not adequately warn potential clients that the criminal database they use to check the records of babysitters could be incomplete.

This isn't the first time Care.com has been in hot water: in another incident, the Koopmeiners family's infant daughter was killed by a drunk babysitter who slammed the child's head against a wooden table. The sitter who the Koopmeiners family hired was also found on Care.com

Avoid a Shady Caregiver With a Complete Background Check

To prevent yourself from ending up in a situation like this family did, it's important that you know who you are bringing into your home. A complete background check from a dependable private investigator in Orange County can help you find out important information like:

  • Your babysitter's criminal history, if they have one.
  • Whether or not your caregiver is on the registered sex offender list for your area.
  • Your babysitter's civil records, which will show if they have been involved in a dispute with other families in the past.

Even if your caregiver has a clean record, it doesn't mean they are fit to look after your children, parents, or other loved ones. A seasoned private investigator will know what questions should be asked to help determine whether or not a prospective caregiver has bad intentions. At Linked Investigations, we even offer to conduct the interview and ask the tough questions, so you don't look like the 'bad guy.' This can go a long way toward establishing a good working relationship between you and the candidate you ultimately decide to hire.

You simply cannot afford to gamble when it comes to the safety of your child or an elderly parent. Sites like Care.com are great for finding babysitters, but stories like these have proven time and time again that they cannot be relied upon to make sure that your nanny can be trusted with your loved ones. A thorough background check from a dependable private investigator will give you much more confidence in the people you have around your child.

Published on: 
May 22, 2015
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