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Complete Guide to the Care.com Background Check

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Care.com connects families who are in need of help around the home with trusted caregivers.

While Care.com is known for being a go-to resource for child care, it also provides senior care, pet care, and housekeeping.

Finding an employer who you can trust with your family and home is a scary prospect.

You wouldn’t want to just let anybody off the street enter your home and start caring for your family without properly screening them.

Luckily you have plenty of background check options you can choose from if you decide to go with Care.com. Which one do you go with?

Let’s take a look at all of the different types of background checks Care.com offers and why we think you should invest in one.

Are Background Checks Needed?

care homepage


Background checks are an integral component in facilitating a safe and secure transaction between your family and your future care provider.

Background checks uncover any blemishes that may steer you away from hiring certain caregivers.

By diving deep into caregivers’ records, you can find any red flags that would make you or your family feel uncomfortable.

It also gives you peace of mind and gives you a sense of reassurance knowing that the applicant you are leaning towards is the perfect fit for your family.

You can really never be too safe.

To make you feel a stronger sense of security, Care.com facilitates background checks with third-parties and also offers an entire “Safety Guide” on their website.

What families sometimes struggle with is which background check you need to feel safe and how much will it end up costing?

How Much Do Background Checks Cost?

There are three different types of background checks you can perform on candidates, all of which have different levels of coverage and pricing.

Depending on which background check you decide to go with, the higher the coverage, the more expensive it will be.

Care.com offers three types of background check services.

  • Criminal Records Check: $59
  • Criminal Records Check + Motor Vehicle Record: $79
  • Investigative Criminal Plus Check: $300

Since the Investigative Criminal Plus Check costs $300, you can expect it to be the most comprehensive of the bunch.

But let’s dig a little deeper and go over what each of these checks looks for.

Criminal Records Check

care background checks page

The criminal records check is the most basic of background checks that you can enlist in.

This check looks through certain federal and county-based databases for any criminal activity.

The check covers the previous seven years of the candidate’s criminal history, but only looks at county-based databases in which the person has lived in.

Included in this background check are the following searches:

  • Social Security Number Trace: This check identifies the address and address history of the candidate and provides alternate names and aliases of the person.
  • Multi-Jurisdictional Database Search: Also known as the National Criminal Database Search, this is a national criminal search that looks over public and non-public records with records being subject to availability.
  • Sex Offender Search: The sex offender check looks at the Federal Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website and checks for sex offender status in every state besides Nevada.
  • Federal Courthouse Records Search: This assures that the candidate doesn’t have any federal crimes on their record.
  • County Criminal Records Search: Checks the criminal history in each county where the candidate has lived.

While this background check is a great start, there are quite a few holes in coverage that you may not feel comfortable with.

There have been reports across the web that question the background checks that Care.com endorses, however, if you were to go with the most premium option, you can likely avoid any of those missing records that some of the basic background checks might not uncover.

Motor Vehicle Records Check

Beyond just a criminal background check, you can also do a Motor Vehicle Records Check.

This will cover any driving incidents within the state the candidate’s license was issued.

The check doesn’t cover criminal activity, however, it does provide families with an additional way to gauge a candidate’s judgment and their level of responsibility.

The information and violations that might show up in a Motor Vehicle Records Check include the following:

  • License restrictions
  • Expiration date, license type, and license class
  • Endorsements
  • Traffic violations
  • Accidents
  • DUIs
  • Revocations or suspensions

Typically a standard violation will stay on someone’s driving record for three years.

If the violation is more serious, the offense can stay on their record for five years or more.

Investigative Criminal Plus Check

The Investigative Criminal Plus background check is the most comprehensive background check option you can do through Care.com.

Coming in at $300, this check is the best option if you want to feel 100 percent safe with your choice of caregiver.

The Investigative Criminal Plus Check encompasses all of the previously mentioned background searches, plus a few more.

The following searches that we already went over are also included in this option:

  • Multi-Jurisdictional Database Search
  • Sex Offender Search
  • Federal Courthouse Records Search
  • County Criminal Records Search
  • Motor Vehicle Records Check

Beyond these checks, there are five additional searches that you get by paying for the premium option. Let’s go into detail on each one.

  • Advanced Identity Research: Using consumer records, this search digs up names and aliases that may be associated with the candidate over the past 10 years. If new names or records are brought to the attention of the third-party checker, then they’ll use those names to cross-reference with all other databases.
  • State-Level Criminal Records Search: This is a thorough check of all 50 states for criminal records, criminal convictions, warrants, prison sentences, and the sex offender registry.
  • National Bankruptcy Records Search: This search looks to see if the candidate has filed for bankruptcy at any time over the past 10 years.
  • National Wants & Warrants Search: This is a federal search that covers the entire United States — even in areas where the candidate hasn’t lived — for warrants reported by local, state, and federal authorities.
  • Civil Restraining Orders Search: The Civil Restraining Orders Search looks for any current or past restraining orders, covering only the counties in which the candidate has lived and goes back two years.

While the Investigative Criminal Plus Check is the most expensive, it’s also the most comprehensive.

We recommend going with this option if you want to feel safe with such an important choice.

If you decide to go with this option, the candidate screening shouldn’t stop there.

There are also a few more checks you can do yourself before and after you decide on a candidate.

Beyond Background Checks

While background checks act as a much-needed gatekeeper when going through the hiring process, there are also other things you can do to ensure that your candidate is the perfect pick.

Before making your final decision, you should thoroughly scan through the candidate’s profile.

You should browse through all of their certifications, read over their work experience, and make sure that their contact information is all verified.

Also, reviews are an excellent way to get a feel of how great an employee actually is.

There’s nothing better than reading through first-hand reviews from previous parents or homeowners who highly recommend caregivers.

Before running the background check, you should also consider meeting with the caregiver, either by video chat or in person.

This will really give you a feel for how the person is and what their personality is like.

Lastly, after you have completely vetted your caregiver with a background check and everything else mentioned above, you should carefully monitor your caregiver’s performance.

You can do things like drop in to the home unexpectedly, ask your neighbors for feedback, and continue to monitor their online activity.

Sometimes you also might have a gut feeling that something is off.

It’s always up to you if you want to continue with your current caregiver or find a new one.

You Can Never Be Too Safe

How much are you willing to pay to have peace of mind?

That’s really all that it comes down to.

If you’re comfortable not performing the most expensive background check, then that’s your choice.

In today’s day and age, our preferred choice is to just fork over the extra $300 and pay for the premium background check service.

By going with the top option, you can then make an informed hiring decision when it comes to finding potential caregivers for your loved ones.

You also have the option of going above and beyond and using an additional third-party to run your own background check — whatever makes you feel most safe.

Whether you’re looking for a child care provider, pet sitter, or general home care, we highly recommend background checking your candidates before allowing them into your home.

After all, you can never be too safe! 

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