Background Checks for Caregivers: Just the First Step

This past weekend, I was at a backyard BBQ and the hostess was telling about their move into their current home.  As her husband had been transfered to a few different cities for business, she was experienced at managing a move.  They had decided to stay in a hotel for a couple weeks in order to make some repairs to the home before living there.  She had labeled each box for the room the items would be going to and had separated out the items they would need in the short-term.

The moving company seemed very happy that she was well organized and the move went smoothly.  The day the moving truck was scheduled to arrive, she had been working on her laptop computer awaiting their arrival.  Once the movers drove up, she packed up her laptop and put it in a closet to be out of the way while the movers brought in the furniture and boxes.

The next day, she went to get her laptop computer out of the closet and it was not there.

The only people who had been in her home at that point were the movers, so she called the moving company and told them what happened.  After many more phone calls, one of the men on the moving crew did confess to stealing the laptop.  He had tossed it into the bushes by the house the day of the move and drove back that night to retrieve it.

My friend just wanted her information on the laptop back, but at that point all she was going to receive was a check from the the moving company's insurance to buy a new laptop computer.  She chose not to press charges, even though the moving company encouraged her to do so, because the thief knew where she lived, knew what belongings she had in her home and knew all about her family (which includes two small children).  She did not want the thief to retaliate in any way.  The biggest bummer of all, she said, was that the guy who stole her computer was her favorite guy on the moving crew.

If you talk to law enforcement officials, they will tell you this often happens - people choose not to press charges even when they have all the evidence to convict the guilty party of the crime, just because they don't want to deal with the legal bureaucracy, any negative publicity and backlash from the thief.  It is easier to just move on, lessons learned.

This is especially true when stolen items are either recovered or insurance compensation is received.  It then seems unnecessary to have the added headache of pressing charges.

However, what this means is that the person who is guilty of the crime will not have the crime information show on their record.  They can go and apply for a job the next day and their Background Check will come back clean  - because it is - no charges were "filed".  Similarly, sometimes a Judge will allow information to be taken off someone's record in exchange for community service.  Just like when you show up in court for a traffic ticket, sometimes if you agree to certain conditions, the Judge will delete the information from your official record so that your car insurance rates will not increase. 

Because of this, a Background Check should just be a starting point when hiring a Caregiver.  It should be used to verify that the name and Social Security number the individual provided do match their past names and addresses which are on record and that they are not listed as a Sex Offender or criminal.  It keeps the really bad guys and gals away. 

But then it is necessary to check multiple personal and business references to find out the person's character and to see if there is a steady employment history, long-term friends and associates who are able to provide feedback on their capabilities and consistent information.

Because another reality is that, just as in my friend's situation where her favorite mover was the thief, many times the person who is successful at having their crimes removed from their records or able to prevent charges from ever being filed is really charming - it comes with the territory! 

And these individuals, more than anyone, should not be caring for vulnerable seniors who may be lonely and looking for not just a Caregiver but also a friend.    

 

 

 

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Comments (2) -

  • Renee

    8/26/2008 11:12:54 PM | Reply

    Scary story! Unfortunately, not all that uncommon. Background checks are so important. I've always used them for babysitters, nannies, caregivers, etc. Watch a person's reaction when you tell them you'll be running a background check on them. Sometimes that's all you'll need!

  • Dana

    9/13/2008 10:53:15 PM | Reply

    As an owner of a senior care home business.I recommend that you only hire experience senior caregivers from the local senior and disabled services division within the state you reside in.  Senior services perform state and federal background checks! In addition to the above, I Also recommend prior to hiring a private care giver (any person for that matter) for your loved one.

    A quick search on goggle (First and last name) will revel any negative remarks or comments a person in question may post on there personal blogs like myspace or similar social networking sites. Also should any one post negative remarks on the internet about a question able person, important information may be reveled.    Dana

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