Who was this stranger in my home?

Received Wednesday, January 16, 2008-Rant & Warn
I hired a nanny based on a good interview and three positive references. She was working part time for one of the references – who RAVED about her – and was going to work part time for me. She was with us from April. After the holidays, she disappeared. I was concerned and thought maybe something happened to her, and remembered I had the references still. So I called her. The original employer said, “Oh I’m so glad you called. I never heard from Nelly again – she just disappeared in June.” When she started working full-time for US!

As the conversation progressed, it turned out that almost nothing she told me matched up with what she had told the other woman. She told me she was still at college. She told the other woman she’d finished last May. She told me she had an English boyfriend. She told the other woman she didn’t have a boyfriend. She told me she was American. She told the other woman she had trouble with her greencard. She told me she was 25. She told the other woman she was 29. She did tell both of us bullshit stories about health issues to get out of working – she got an ovarian cyst surgery, I got a broken collarbone. Which she took 2 months off to “heal” from – clearly she was trying out another job that didn’t work out.

Is this person mentally ill? We had long conversations about things that were not true! Why would someone do this? What is she gaining? She can’t use any of us as references now – and it turns out that one of her references was a friend, not a former employer. She was a GREAT nanny. Or so I thought. Now everything is under question – I’m asking myself, DID she go to story hour with my son? Did she abuse him in any way? Did she steal information from our house for identity theft?

Her name is Nelly (last name available) and she’s from Brooklyn.


Anonymous said...

She sounds nuts. Be glad she's gone.

You made mention of her going to story hour with your son - contact the bookstore/library/wherever story hour was held to see if anyone recalls her and your son there. I know some places have a sign-in sheet to monitor weekly attendance - if they have one, ask to see it to verify whether or not she was there. Is there anywhere else you asked her to frequently visit (a particular park, library, coffee shop) that you could check with?

Another good idea is, if your son is old enough, ask him to draw pictures of what he and the nanny did, places they went, etc. You can usually get a lot of information from a child's drawings.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Of course she did not go to story hour, and wherever else she told you. Are you kidding?

People, stop trusting strangers to watch your kids. If you are not a work at home person, or if you are not home and around for some other reason (slightly disabled, ill, etc.) then stop trusting strangers to watch your kids!

People are fully entrusting strangers to take care of their children, and I find it very alarming. You know nothing about the "references" you are calling. Of course some of them or all of them can easily be faked.

Did you know that nowadays, 10% of all homicides are CHILD ABUSE?

I heard this statistic on news radio 880 AM today (a NYC area news station). If you feel the need to verify it, you can go to their website.

erics mom said...

Come on, do you think in N.Y. its going to be easy to track where this nanny was all day with your kid. Unless, you buy that new device thats placed on the stroller or diaper bag that is the only way you will know where she went.
Even the library in town they tell you to sign in but alot of parents don't. They get busy talking or forget.

Anonymous said...

"TOLD YOU" she was 25/29? Does anyone take copies of people's IDs for chrissakes? I would never -- NEVER -- trust a person I had just met (references or not) with my DOG, let alone my child.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I had a friend that was like this. She told these slightly outrageous stories that were complete lies.
I don't know if it was her charming personality or what, but no one ever seemed to figure her out.
She would then take off and disappear out of nowhere ... totally destroying any chance of getting a good reference from these people.
What do I think the problem is? She's one of those people (kind of like a Grifter), that doesn't like to be around one place long enough. Personally I think, out of fear of being 'found out'. The stories are interesting and just barely believable.
Some people actually thrive on this excitement. It is a thrill for them. My friend gets easily bored ... then it's time to move on. Back several years ago she hurt a few people and I called her on it, but she's older now and has finally settled down.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

? ... huh? ... lol

Anonymous said...

Maybe there's a word missing?

Anonymous said...

It's in english, but this makes no sense.

You said you called the references in the beginning? You didn't call all of them, I guess? I need clarification.

FNG said...

I am a childcare provider that works part-time for several families in Northern NJ.

To answer a question posed-I work for several familes and only one ever asked for my ID. I answered an ad on Craigslist for a sitter- thinking I was going to an interview-and was left with the child -beautiful, 6 month old girl- that day! The mother felt she could leave right away because I lived 15 blocks away from her. But since she never asked me to validate that, how did she know that was the truth? I also went for a trial sitting job because the mom felt the only way she could tell if I would work out would be to leave me with her son a few hours while she shopped. It was around the Holidays of 2006. Since she only called me that one time I realized later on she must have had plans and her regular sitter was unavailable so she just got me from CL. -her son and I had a great time playing games so I know I did OK with him-

Very few of the families I worked for called more than one of my references and a few of the families called none of them.

It's pretty clear that many people don'teven do a half-assed check on who they leave their kids with.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I can't even begin to tell you how ill your post made me. That in this day and age some Parents could be so careless ... or more appropriately, care less.
I had a couple such "Interviews" myself and only as I looked back on it later, realized that they never checked my references and I was 'used' for one day, also.
I guess their regular Nanny was out sick and they didn't have back up?
Who knows, but it's a dangerous game these Parents are playing with their childrens lives.

MissDee said...

The nanny could be manic depressive, or bi polar, in which case, their moods go from extremely happy to extremely depressed in 5 mintues. Manic people, I believe, create "stories" that sound believable, but aren't.

It could've been that this nanny may have been under an emotional disorder, which, if she was diagnosed, was more than likely on medication. If she hadn't been taking her medication, well, that just makes it worse.

As for the references, well, did she have letters of reference, or did you actually speak to her references, OP? I'm happy for you and the safety of your children that she is gone. Keep checking your social security number periodically, to see if any accounts or lines of credit have been opened in your name. If so, you can get a block on your social. Keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, no reference checking is very common. I once had an interview (lasted about 10 minutes) and was hired on the spot. She didn't even ask for references, ID, anything. I started the next day, picking him up from preschool around 5pm and bringing him to my house until about 8pm. Well, I had horrible cell phone reception and no land line. She tried to call me to make sure I'd picked him up, but my phone didn't even receive the call. Eventually she got ahold of me (over an hour later) and she seemed to have no concern over it. If I had been her, I would have been freaking out and calling the cops. Well actually, if I were her I wouldn't have put myself in that situation. She didn't even know where I lived! All she had was my name, an email address and a cell phone number. Sad. Now I try to exchange full information with all the parents I work with.

mom with dd with anxiety that was misdiagnosed by prominent physician as being bipolar said...

Ms Dee,
You cannot seriously be attempting to diagnose someone from a three paragraph snippet on the web. This is worse than diagnosing Britney based on her behavior.

Bipolar is not the catch all for "odd behavior". Educate yourselves. Bipolar is being overdiagnosed right now. It is the ADD of this decade. It needs to stop!

We all have highs and lows. Some people lie. It doesn't make them bipolar. I am tired in the morning and have lots of energy in the afternoon. I'm not bipolar. Make the madness stop.

MissDee said...

11:17-I didn't say I was trying to diagnose anyone. It was a thought that I had.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

MissDee & Mom w/ dd ~
I stopped short of mentioning in my 7:04 post that my friend was also Bi-Polar because I didn't want her illness to be used as an excuse for her behavior.
I'm sorry Mom w/ dd, but MissDee was stating an opinion that *may* explain this Nannies actions, and although none of us are familiar with her personally ... it's definately a fair opinion.
MissDee ... good post.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, please leave Miss Dee alone, above bully. She only meant well.

Anonymous said...

Mom with dd with anxiety ...
Prominent Dr. or not, he must've gotten his Degree from a gumball machine.
Bipolar Disorder has certain specific characteristics, and there are certain questions to ask and guidelines to follow, to ascertain whether or not a person has Bipolar.
A Dr. that doesn't take the time with his patient to ask the 'right' questions ... is doing a poor job and you should find another Dr. (and I hope you have).

Anonymous said...

Um ... Britney was easy to diagnose BECAUSE of the symptoms of Bipolar that she displayed.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to point out that not all people with bi-polar lie. I was diagnosed with bi-polar about 8 years ago, but I wasnt a liar. When I'm manic I have so much energy, I sleep less and I get a lot of stuff done. The depressive part of the cycle is what knocks me on my butt. I sleep for 12 hours a night, still take naps after work for 3-4 hours and cry at the dumbest things ever. The other day I cried cause of a commercial. Oh and I also overeat while depressed. Fortunately for me meds work and I do really well on them.

Just wanted to point out that not everyone with bipolar lies.

Anonymous said...

What symptoms of Britnney's do you know about? The ones you read in a tabloid magazine?

Get real. Anyone who attempts to diagnose someone or go along with sensationalized accounts to guestimate a diagnosis is his/herself C R A Z Y.

I too take offense to Ms. Dee's characterization. This nanny may have had so much else going on besides what is accounted for here. You have an incomplete profile so spare me the diagnosis.

And Bipolar is being misdiagnosed in adolescences. It is a national problem. Adolescenses are impulsive, they have highs and lows (hormones) and now over 40 percent of those diagnosed with bipolar are suggested not to have bipolar.

The problem is this. Children can be tough. Anyone been through the terrible twos? keep this over diagnosing and overmedicating children up and we will have a diagnosis for terrible twos. It will have a fancy name and we will be presecibed pills or syrup to give the child. Sick. Sick. Sick.


§marypoppin'pills§ said...

Symptoms of Bi-Polar Disorder:

Depressive episodes ~
Excessive crying
Loss of pleasure
Abnormal sleep
Low energy
Difficulty concentrating
Loss of appetite or overeating
Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
Thoughts of death or suicide

Manic Episodes ~
Manic episodes are periods of elated mood, which can include racing thoughts, extreme irritability or reckless behavior. Symptoms may include:
Inappropriate sense of euphoria (elation)
Racing thoughts; talking too much
Extreme irritability
Reckless behavior
Abnormal sleep
Excessive energy
Out of control spending
Difficulty concentrating
Abnormally increased activity, including sexual activity (Hypersexuality)
Poor judgment
Aggressive behavior

EP said...

Yes, even in a correctly diagnosed bipolar patient, there are all sorts of variances. My sister is diagnosed as bipolar and she cringes everytime Britney is talked about as alternately crazy and bipolar. For the record, my sister never had any outstanding symptoms of bipolar disorder. She was first diagnosed as depressed and that was changed to bipolar. She takes medication and is fine. No one knows she is on medication. No one calls her crazy. She doesn't behave crazily. Her head doesn't spin around oh and she has sole custody of her three very happy children.

Anonymous said...


All you have to do is WATCH Britneys behavior. It isn't about reading it in the Tabloids.

And I'd like to know where you got your Info. about Bipolar being misdiagnosed/over-diagnosed?

Anonymous said...

Tyical teenage behavior:

crying (teen girls)
Abnormal sleep
Low energy
Difficulty concentrating
Irritability (esp. teen girls)
Loss of appetite or overeating
(could appear either since teens binge and try and lose weight alternately)
Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness (trying to find themselves)

Racing thoughts; talking too much (ever been behind a group of teens in a store?)
Extreme irritability
Reckless behavior
Abnormal sleep
Excessive energy
Difficulty concentrating
Abnormally increased activity, including sexual activity
Poor judgment
Aggressive behavior

And most teens have experiences of euphoria. One smile from that guy can send them over the moon. The next time he fails to notice her, she is crushed.

Come on people. If you have children, you need to fight this harder. Do not allow your children to be incorrectly diagnosed. If the medication works, consider this, you could properly medicate a tantrumming two year old so he didn't have tantrums. Or you could allow natura to take it's course.

Our government wants to turn us in to a nation of zombies. Zombies with inventory codes stamped on our foreheads.

Anonymous said...

Are you with Britney evaluating her? Are you watching her up close? Or do you just have camera snippets? Clearly she has problems, but they are more than likely a combination of ailents and chemical imbalances.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I will agree with you there. In both cases with my brother and my friend, they were originally diagnosed as 'Depressed'. Because they weren't in their 'Manic' phase.
But eventually, both were diagnosed properly ... because of the symptoms, specifically Manic.
By the way ... my friend is a compulsive liar and my brother is not. So that can't be used as a symptom to diagnose it.

ED said...

Bipolar Express.
By: Bower, Bruce. Science News, 9/8/2007, Vol. 172 Issue 10, p150-150
The article discusses the findings of researchers who studied the data regarding the number of bipolar cases diagnosed in children between 1994 and 2003. The data shows an exponential increase in the number of cases that may suggest that children are being misdiagnosed. Researchers are trying to determine the cause of this increase in bipolar cases. Reading Level (Lexile): 1450;

Bipolar Diagnosis in U.S. Children Soars in Decade (Update2)

By Rob Waters

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The number of American children diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental illness, jumped 40- fold from 1994 to 2003, according to a study in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

By 2003, the diagnosis was applied to 1 in 100 kids, researchers found. Of the 800,000 people ages 19 and younger with the diagnosis, nine in 10 were treated with at least one drug and two-thirds with two or more, according to the study, reported yesterday. Adult diagnoses almost doubled to 1,069 for each 100,000 people, and the rate among kids reached 1,003.
(Bristol Meyers is the devil- they want to have your children misdiagnosed so they can make billions)

Bipolar disorder misdiagnosed in children with ADD:

EP said...

That was me
EP not ED

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

Typical teenage behavior or not, all I did was list the symptoms of Bipolar. I am not trying to differentiate between the two.
I thought that since it was being discussed, it would help to list them.
I'm not getting involved in the "over-medicating" of our youth argument.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about adults and I know nothing of Britney's mental history/hereditary triggers but I do know for 100 percent certain that bipolar disorder cannot be diagnosed 100 percent in children and teens because children and teens are hormonal, do have mood swings, lots of energy, sleep in strange patterns etc.

A noted source on the subject, Frederick Goodwin says there haven't been enough long-term studies, and it can be hard to separate bipolar disorders from ADHD and conduct disorders. Right now, no one agrees as to how it is defined among children.

NO ONE agrees
No one agrees.
No one agrees.

Look out for your children, no one else will.

mom said...

I don't exactly see the reason oyu are all arguing here. You're sort of saying the same things anyway:

1) Britney MAY or MAY NOT be Bipolar.

2) This Nanny MAY or MAY NOT be BiPolar.

3) Teenagers exhibit a lot of really crazy behavior at times (believe me, I know), which can be easily and incorrectly mistaken for signs of mental illness. Please do not rush to medicate your kids without AT LEAST two medical opinions from doctoer who are not affiliated with one another.

On the other hand (my personal opinion), do not pass off alarming symptoms in your teen that seem scary, excessive, or very persistent. (Teen moods tend to if, for example, your teen is depressed for an extended period, think about checking it out.) Teen suicide remains a prevalent and serious concern. I htink the problem goes both ways with teens because they are so moody and unpredictable. Too often they are simply medicated (particularly normally boisterous little boys who are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD), and alternately, too often serious warning sign are passed off as "teenage itis."

In other words, just like Britney and the nanny in this post, your teen MAY or MAY NOT need psychological intervention.

Paige said...

Thank you anonymous at 12:02- I work in a family practitioner's office. We sometimes make referals for parents and the rate of people coming back diagnosed as bipolar makes me so angry. Especially since I have seen these children since they were 4 weeks old and because I know that it is financially advantageous to some doctors and clinics to follow the guidelines that are pushed by none other than the drug manufacturers. Do not use the drug manufacturer's website as your resource. I mean for G-d's sake, there are now pills for people who kick their legs at night and now a brand new pill for penis odor. How many proctologists and urologists are going to feign being blown away by non existent penis odor so they can write a prescription for a penis odor pill and get $ in their pockets??

PS It's called a bar of soap. It works well with water.

Anonymous said...

Hi, em!

Anonymous said...

I have severe RLS (restless leg syndrome) ... and it is NO joke.
It can keep me awake for hours at night, feeling like I have bugs crawling all over them.
It is a real disorder, and I wasn't diagnosed by some Dr. trying to make money off of me.

Anonymous said...

And once again ... mom may put all of this in a nutshell and end this discussion once and for all!

Anonymous said...

Wow--talk about going off topic. Started with a good discussion about checking references for even temporary childcare and ended up with arguing about restless leg syndrome.

Anonymous said...

Oh, piss off. What are you, BLOG MONITOR?

Anonymous said...

This person is just a nut- a piece of crap nut. A grifter. Someone without a conscience. Your kids meant nothing to her. And I don't mean as she was leaving, I doubt they ever did. this has nothing to do with bipolar disorder (thanks to the dumnass who suggested that) or restless leg syndrome. You cannot be too trusting of the person you let in your house. Why do people ask more of the person who is going to housesit for them or borrow the car then they do the person they leave their supposedly precious children with? I would find this nanny and kick her ass. I would stomp all over it and then I would plaster her picture all over brooklyn. We don't need those types.

Anonymous said...

I am a nanny who worked for parents before who never asked for a valid ID, my address etc. The family that i currently work for have never asked me for my ID or address and only checked out one of my references, they don,t even know where i live and i have been with them for a year now looking after kids new born to 4yr old. Why would anyone hire someone with out proper ID to look after their kids? I don,t blame the sitter i blame the parent, do your home work on these people that you invite in your kids life.

madame sir michael carmichael buck buck mcfate said...

The people who are listing symptoms of bipolar, etc. on this thread should remember that diagnosis and symptoms of mental illness is different in children than in adults. What has been rattled off here on this thread mainly pertains to adults. It is more difficult to diagnose children's mental illness than it is for adults.

Anonymous said...

Being bipolar it is SO frustrating when any bad mother, nanny, or person in general is automatically assumed to be bipolar. Bipolar is a serious illness. If this woman is indeed bipolar then her ass should not be kicked as 1:22 PM sweetly suggested, she needs to get the help that she needs in order to get her life together.

Anonymous said...

There are so many bipolar people out there. I don't think they appreciate this ever evolving stigma where bipolar seems to be the new "super crazy". There are all kinds of levels of bipolar and all kinds of medication. And the only person who should professing to use the title of biplar on someone is a DOCTOR and then not on a child.

Anonymous said...

Reading the comments related to the reference checks and hiring process of some families have me worried. Back when I first hired my nanny, I did do my homework--I treated it as any job in my business--I used a job application that required she list her social and address and I made a photocopy of her license and performed a background check in addition to checking references and having two trials--first with us in the house and next with us leaving for a few hours. I have a fantastic nanny--several other families have gone out of their way to tell me how good she is with my kids and I've seen it first hand. I have 2 school aged children and a toddler. My older children have two afterschool activities my neighbors' two children are also in. Several months ago, my nanny and neighbors asked me if they could do car pools to these activities so that both nannies don't have to drive there and back to drop off and there and back again to pick up every week. Made sense to me, and my nanny said it would make her afternoons easier, so we now carpool with my neighbor twice a week. I trust and know my nanny well, but I also have a lot of details and personal information about who she is from before I ever hired her. However, although I've met and spoken to the nanny who shares the shuttling with mine several times and my impression is very good--she is caring and attentive towards her charges from what I've seen and has been with my neighbors for awhile, when push comes to shove, I don't know any of her personal information and am really trusting that my neighbors who hired her did their homework. Have I made a mistake with this carpooling arrangement? Should I change it even though it seems to be working for both families (and my kids like going back and forth with their friends)?

Anonymous said...

Re: nannies whose references weren't checked.
One of the things I rely on when deciding whether or not to accept a job offer is the feedback from my references as to what impression they got of the mom.
I would never work for someone who didn't even check my references! What kind of employer would they be? They obviously don't care about quality care for their children, and are irresponsible as well.
UES Nanny

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

Even though your situation is unique, your children are still in the care of this Nanny during the carpool. If you have a close enough relationship with the Mother of the other kids, I see no reason why you shouldn't ask about her references. It may be a little late in doing so, but better now than never.
Hopefully it won't be too awkward, but these are your kids ... and it's important.

Anonymous said...

I know how awkward after the fact questions can be...bus she is right, theser are your KIDS...irreplacable. Right after we moved to Texas, my first grade son came home from a playdate in our very nice neighborhood and told me excitedly about how he and his new playmate had climbed up to a shelf and looked at the boy's Daddy's gun. He then happily reported that the bullets were on a hihger shelf, but that they didn't climb up there. After that I had to ask every single person before my kids went to play at their houses, "And, do you have any guns in your home?" I felt like a complete dumbass every time...because MOST people are not foolish enough to leave guns around where kids play, and they are invariably insulted when they think you are suggesting that they might be...but, because of the occasional jackass out there, I had to ask...because those are my kids and simply I couldn't take the chance.

FNG said...

8:21 there is no harm in asking to see the nanny's abstract from motor vehicles. It's free and easy enough to obtain. You can ask the mother who hired her privately and if she doesn't have it then you can ask the nanny. Awkward or not your kids are your kids and you can't be to careful.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I don't know why you would feel like a dumba**.
Invariably I ask questions of my sons playdates all the time, and on occasion I get a mom who agrees that these are questions that must be asked.
The only time I would worry about how I felt is the mom who would make me feel like a dumba** ... and those would be the kids I wouldn't want my son to play with anyway!

You do what you have to do to keep your children safe. That is what makes you a good mom!

MissDee said...

1:22-I'm the "dumbass" that suggested that the nanny may have bipolar. And FYI: I did get an A-/B+ in Introductory Psychology that semester, which was a college level transfer course from a 2 year tech school to any 4 year college in the country. And yeah, this is coming from the child that was told she was beautiful (with blonde curls and dark blue eyes) and stupid at the same time from her own father. So, if I am so dumb, I must be smarter than you!

*LOL* This did go into a new direction-OP, then bipolar, Britney, and back to the original topic.

11:28-You are a great mom! Keep it up!!

mom said...

Yipes! I am 11:28. I accidentally put anonymous. Oh well.

And you do make a good point MaryPP that I probably should have been more confident in my RIGHT to ask that question of everybody.

I was a much more timid person then than I am today.

Anonymous said...

Because the nanny was clearly suffering from some psychiatric problems it does NOT necessarily follow that she abused your son. Yes, you should have been more careful, but I doubt that you were care less. There seems to be a lot of hysterical and paranoid parents and nannies out there replying to this. It could even be said that there paranoia is likely to manifest into some sort of abuse, after all a LIAR is somebody that cannot trust anybody else right?

Anonymous said...

Even through our kid's middle teen years, I always called to find out what adults would be home, what the approach to alcohol would be, etc., etc.

From elementary through high school, our daughter went to a private, top-notch, academically-sound school that emphasized strong, caring values. And cost a bundle. It was a fabulous school for her, but you wouldn't believe how irresponsible an amazing number of the parents were.

Fortunately, they were always proud to admit it. "I leave the alcohol cabinet unlocked. They're going to get into it anyway." That was from a mother who also planned not to be in attendance for the party of 12, 13 and 14 year olds (boys and girls) she was "hosting". "I'm not going to be there!" she said, indignantly. No adults would be present. Mom was proud of this, too.

Or, in another case, when our daughter was invited for a weekend in Atlantic City, the host dad had absolutely no idea what his (also 14 yo) daughter and her three friends (including my daughter) would be doing while he and his wife gambled all weekend.

That's exactly what he said, too: "My wife and I will be gambling all weekend." He thought that the girls would probably call room service for food: "that's what they did last year" (!). For entertainment? "They can walk all around Atlantic City, anywhere they want, whenever they want to." Right. Maybe his kid, but, for sure, not mine.

Did the irresponsible parents think I was weird? Oh yeah. Did my kid hate it? Oh yeah. But then she got older, a couple of things happened, and suddenly the light bulb went off.

Funny, the responsible parents never seemed to think my calls were strange. Sometimes it took a minute, because parents didn't typically call, but the responsible parents were on board as soon as they realized what I was after, every time.

Check everything. Always. You could be very sorry you didn't, but you'll never be sorry you did. And never, never assume that a fancy address, a fat wallet, or a "good" car mean anything about character. They don't. Ever.

Original Poster said...

I am the original poster. For those of you say that I could care less about who watches my son, I have two words for you, and one of them is OFF. I care a great deal. I interviewed and reference checked several nannies and this one was head and shoulders above the rest. I checked ALL of her references - one was a school teacher, and one was a priest, and one was a woman she was currently working for - and was going to continue working for part-time.

Should I have done more? YES. Thanks for reminding me how I failed. I will always get ID now, I will do background checks, etc etc.

Honestly, I DO think she cared about my son. That's what makes it so crazy. I am a WAHM and I was there 95% of the time they were together. She was caring, loving, and genuinely engaged with him and his development. But that's why so many questions were raised with the lies.

also anonymous said...

I could have written the comment at 11:39. As for a lightbulb going off in my daughter's head, I think it would be the party I did not allow her to attend where a fight broke out and one of the kids died because all of the kids were too scared to call 9-1-1, you know because even they knew it was wrong that their parents had let them have an unsupervised drinking party.

Anonymous said...

NEVER trust a priest as a reference (even IF he does have a big wallet and a “good” car).
Priests are hypocrites and more than likely pedophiles.

Anonymous said...

NEVER trust a priest as a reference (even IF he does have a big wallet and a “good” car).
Priests are hypocrites and more than likely pedophiles.

Anonymous said...

Mom, is that you?

mom said...

No, it wasn't me...but it sounds like she thinks the way I do. Her daughter sounds much older than mine...but it sounds like she did a good job and her daughter is the better off for it.

Your kids have the whole world to choos from for friends..but they only get one mom and dad. We do not have to be their friends...and, believe it or not, someday they will really appreciate it so much more if we do not try to be.

Anonymous said...

This is the carpool Mom. So, after the good advice from MPP and Mom, I stopped by my neighbor's house to ask about her nanny. I started by telling her I felt a little awkward since I didn't ask when we started the arrangment months ago, but it occurred to me I don't really KNOW her nanny. She started laughed and said she'd be right back. She went upstairs and came back with a folder containing copies of her nannies license, letters of reference, resume and background check. I said wow you copied those fast. She said that's why she was laughing--she had made up the folder for me when we first talked about maybe starting carpooling together and was shocked I never asked for it. She said you know you have quite a reputation for being the overprotective Mom in the neighborhood. (I also check out a family before I allow a playdate at there home as others here mentioned and I also call the parent of any new friends who come over my house for a playdate just to introduce myself and let them know that they will be in my home, who else will be there, who will be in charge of them at the time--me or the nanny--and get emergency numbers and find out if there are any rules, dietary restrictions, etc I should be aware of). She knew how carefully we screened candidates back when we hired our nanny and said it was out of character that I hadn't asked until now but she thought I was mellowing in my old age :-)

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I'm so glad that it turned out the way it did - that's exactly how it usually turns out for me!
You sound like a great mom, and your kids are very lucky to have you! ☺

Anonymous said...

Hi. I really feel for you. We just had a similarly terrible situation with our nanny of almost 3 years too. We have since been interviewing many people and finally thought we found someone great today. We asked for references, and she gave us two numbers who when we called were clearly friends of hers and not families she supposedly worked for. It was such a disappointment, especially after we had a long talk about honesty and communication during the interview. This process can be so disheartening and scary. I hope you find someone genuine, honest and caring for your children. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Dear Carpool Mom, and any others that can help answer this question: How exactly do you check out a family before you have a playdate at their home?

My son is 6 years old and in 1st grade. Over the past couple of years, he has had many drop off playdates with a handful of kids -- families we know well. These have generally been friends we have known since he was born, or neighbors we have known for several years, or families we knew from nursery school (which was a closer knit community). Now that he is in 1st grade at a public community school (in lower Westchester County outside of NYC), he is friends with kids from class, and playdates are more inclined to arise with families we are meeting for the first time. I am wondering exactly how to check out the family, and perhaps more importantly, the babysitter if the parent will not be at home or around during the playdate.

I would really appreciate your ideas and suggestions.

Last week he had a playdate at the house of a boy from class. He had played there 3 times already. The boy had played here one time. (The boy prefers having playdates at his own home so that is why it is "uneven" so far.) The mom had been home all those times. The sitter/housekeeper had also been there, and I met her once when I picked him up after the very first playdate.

This time the mom was away. I knew in advance that she would be away. The sitter picked up my son and the friend from school (plus the sibling and the sibling's friend). The playdate was successful and everything was fine.

However, right before pick up time at school, I realized I didn't have the sitter's cell number. I also was not sure if the mom had given her my numbers. She is a responsible type, so I thought she probably did, but I just didn't know for sure. I tried stopping by the house after school when I thought they'd be home from school and beginning the playdate, but they hadn't arrived yet. My husband and I then tried calling the home number, but they didn't answer and we didn't leave a message. Then there was only 45 minutes left to the playdate. As I said, everything was fine.

As it turned out, the mom had indeed given the sitter my numbers. When I picked him up, I chatted for a while and got the sitter's cell number. The whole thing had just made me a bit nervous, but luckily everything was fine. We are not in the habit of leaving our children with sitters we don't know, just because they happen to work for a family that we do know. It is too bad I did not realize that I didn't have the sitter's cell earlier, but luckily everything was fine.

Anonymous said...

One of the things I started doing when I searched for a nanny was looking up not only the nanny's address, but the references addresses on and Google Earth to verify they are real references after having a few reference checks that didn't seem authentic. For the few times an applicant did not provide a full street address, I found them on the internet by searching the white pages and my town and surrounding towns have the tax rolls open to the public. Most of the times everything checked out, but I caught 2 applicants who both interviewed very well--had the right answers to all my questions, etc.--falsifying references through this practice. The references lived in tenaments--not where someone who would employ a professional nanny, let alone at the salary they claimed they made, would live. One was from Craig's List and the other was from an agency, so don't think you're getting any better candidates from an agency (the agency claimed to be shocked when I called them, but a friend of mine about a mile away who was also searching for a nanny was given her name after I called them--so the agency obviously didn't care about her dishonesty and was just looking for a family who wouldn't check as carefully). Also, beware references where only a cell phone number is provided. Always ask for the home number so you can make sure the town she claims she worked in and the number match. And always do a full background check before you allow a candidate to be alone with your child. It's sad you have to be so paranoid, but these are your kids.

WiserNanny said...

I am a nanny and I no lonmger give out my SS and personal information outside of my name and address on interviews. Why? Because last summer I had my identity stolen by a woman claiming to be hiring a nanny. Turns out she was interviewing, taking personal info and opening credit accounts all over. She was working with her husband and using her kids as well as part of the scam. What a mess to clear up!

I am perfectly willing to provide my address verified with my state issued digital driver's license, my phone number and my DMV abstract but no one gets my DL #, address AND my SS number anymore unless it's for payroll purposes. If they want to check for a criminal record, I am happy to provide my fingerprints and name and address as that's all that's needed for that.

Anonymous said...

Actually a check of SS records is standard as part of a background check to verify if a candidate has worked at the places and for the times they said on their interview (and in that instance it goes to a third party company not the employer). And of course, once you are hired you have to provide it for payroll purposes. I agree though, that is not something that should be given out on an interview.

HR MgtTurnedNanny said...

Most people are unaware of this but in the State of NJ, you are permitted by law to say very little about a former employee other than if they worked for you, how long they were employed and would you rehire them. This is applicable to any postion including domestics. You can actually sue if someone gives a negative reference in NJ and likely win even if the negative reference is true. For instamce, It is OK to say "Ms. Smith was my nanny for 6 months and I would not rehire her again." but it is not OK to say "Ms. Smith was my nanny for six months and I would not rehire her because she was a terrible nanny! She was always late!" Because unless you have time cards or similar to prove she was always late, and by always you mean every single day, you could be held liable. People don't realize that several states have this same stipulation. SS numbers are the norm to ask for to do a background check but all they are really used for is a credit check. A person is only in the system if they commited and were convicted of a crime and for that all you need are fingerprints, a name and last known address. So no SS# from me either, unless you are giving me a paycheck and I have all your info too!

mom said...

9:20 is actually right. My husband has to deal with this all the time in hiring and firing secretaries. It is difficult to get any information, other than dates of employment out of past employers when checking references...and he never gives any more information that that either...NO MATTER WHAT...and he is a lawyer.

He has had to let a couple of real doozies go, but is helpless in letting the future employer know wjat they are in for when they call to chek her references.

Anonymous said...

11:02 - I generally call and introduce myself if my child requests a playdate with a new friend. I will chat for awhile about school, activities, etc. and ask when the Mom or the nanny drops off for school so I can make a point of meeting them in person. I ask who will be in the house during the playdate, who will be in charge and what they will be doing. When a nanny or babysitter is involved, I ask how long they have their nanny and where they found her (this is really a pretty common discussion among working Moms, so it's not an odd topic to touch on). I always ask my nanny if she knows their nanny or Mom. She is very protective of my kids and very observant. She has freely told me that certain children should only play at our house if she has seen the nanny (and in one case a Mom) be inattentive. I also will sometimes quietly ask friends I know and trust in the neighborhood if they know the family/nanny. I always make sure that I have the family's home and cell number and if a nanny is supervising, how to reach her if needed. I also offer our numbers when I talk to the parents, plus I always keep a list of our phone numbers in my child's backpack.

I'm in southern Westchester too, and I've never thought of the gun conversation Mom mentioned, but might not be a bad question. With my older daughter, I do ask if the children will be playing any video games or on a computer and if yes, I ask the parents to not allow my child to do so if there is an Internet connection since I do not allow her unmonitored Internet access.

mom said...

11:02 I meant to respond to your post earlier too, but got busy and then forgot. Oops. But 11:37 has some great advice and covered most of what I would have also said.

I am potentially a little "overzealous" when it comes to my kids (especially when they were small and more dependent and helpless.) When they were very young I would often try to get the mom and child to meet us at the park or some other neutral spot for the first playdate or two. That way I could see her, get to know her, have a sense of whether she was "all there," and see first hand how well she interacted with and supervised her child. There actually turned out to be a couple of moms that I found to be far too irresponsible to leave my child with based on these preliminary playdates. After that, if my child really liked her child, I would try to meet all future invitations with something like, "Hey, let's do something fun together with them like go to Chuck E Cheese, etc." That way I would be there to watch my own child and (hopefully) she would be oblivious to the fact that my child was NEVER going to be alone with her. I would also try to have the children of such parents come to my house from time ot time instead...but that gets a little awkward after a few times if you won't let them reciprocate. If there was going to be a babysitter I didn't know at somebody's house during a playdate, I would say something like, "Hey, I LOVE to have kids at my house. Let your child come to my house this time and let's not overwhelm your babysitter. We're going ot be making cookies that day anyway, and it will be so much fun for them to help! Then you can have them at your house next time." That always worked. I also made a point (because, believe it or not, this is not obvious to some moms) to tell the people when I dropped my small children off at their houses, that my child was not allowed to play outside unsupervised.

I picked my first grade son up from a playdate once and he had a hole in his shirt. I asked what had happened, and the mom said, as if it were perfectly normal, that she thought the boys had gotten into some chemicals in the maintenance shed at her apartment complex(when she obviously let them run around unsupervised despite my explicit instructions not to do that) and some chemicals must have burned a hole in it...per the boys explanation anyway. She was completely unapologetic for her gross lack of judgment. Obviously, my son never went back again. This was my fault because I had had some reservations about this particuar mom but let him go anyway. I thought that severely limiting the time he was left there, along with the very explicit instructions not to let them play outside alone, would guarantee a safe outcome. I was an idiot. Trust your instincts...every time!

Once I was at a new friend's house (on one of these "snoopy" first meetings) with my two or three year old. The boys were in her very small backyard and we were talking in the room just inside and keeping an eye on them. Then her husband said he would go out and watch them, so I eased up on my watching. Pretty soon I noticed her hubby standing on the patio table and looking pretty off into the distance as if something very interesting was happening. I said, "What's he doing?" My friend said, as if it were perfectly normal, "Oh, he probaby sent to kids to the park on the big wheels." This "park" was a greenbelt bordered by a MAJOR road...which the kids had just about reached. I jumped up and ran full speed out the door after my child. When I came back I stated the very obvious, by way of explanation for my behavior...which they clearly found odd and bewildering..."My son does not know about streets and cars. He can't play by the street alone." She repeated this agian slowly to her husband, as if to explain that my two/three year old was somehow different than her two/three year old...who they apparently believed was completely trustworthy playing next to a major multi-lane in each direction, high speed limit, road. He never went there alone again, although we probably met at the park and other places several hundred times...literally.

A neighbor a few doors down invited my son to Chuck E Cheese when he was in kindergarten. I said yes and he was very excited. They arrived to pick him up in a compact car that was laden, almost to the point of the car resting on the tires, with apparently every living relative, from every generation of their family. Their kids were stuffed in on top, minus seatbelts, like sausages. There was NO WAY my son was getting in that car, despite their many protestations that it was perfectly safe and that they "did it this way all the time." Very awkward. I quickly invited myself and my other children along and drove him myself. The last time he played at that child's house was the day I walked over to get him and found several adult family members conversing nonchalantly beside their car, which they were allowing my son and theirs to play inside, pulling all of the gears and knobs, as it was parked on a sloped driveway and another little girl was sitting on her tricycle directly behind the back bumper. I told them how incredibly unsafe that was, took my son home and that was it for them.

In our neighborhood we tended to have very large windows which sat about 4-6 inches off the floor, and raised upward so that there was basically a huge hole in the wall, with only a flimsy screen for protection...even upstairs. I used to tell my next door neighbor each time I let my 2 year old go over to play with hers that he could not come if she left the windows open wide, as she often did.(Think Connor Clapton) I told her each time, because she let me know that she thought this was ridiculous (but she always respected my wishes. She was a great gal.) Then one day she came over, breathless, and told me that she had just found her own two year old hanging half in/half out the open upstairs window and that she should have listened to me in the first place. Her floor level upstairs windows windows were never opened more than a fraction after that, whether my toddlers were there or not.

I could actually go on and on with stories of things that happened at other people's houses (not that I did everything perfect myself, or that my kids never got hurt at our house. Kids get hurt. Fact of life.)

I am one of the moms that had the reputation of being extra, extra careful with my I always checked from every angle I could think of before I let them go. It's just that no two people are going to have the exact same standards, so you have to be really careful who you let watch your kids...and you have to figure out your drop dead deal breaking issues are(guns, playing outside alone, or whatever your personal issues are) and not be afraid to discuss them carefully with whoever is with your child in your absence. It's scary because you can think of the really obvious things to tell people...but you can't possibly think of every little thing, and you shouldn't have to warn about "don't let them play in the car", or "Two year olds shouldn't play on the highway", or "My son isn't allowed to play with caustic chemicals." Some people are just plain brainless sometimes. That's what always scared me.

One more:
My daughter had a friend at whose house she played from time to time. Enough that I knew each of the parents well enough. One day I passed the father up at the school. We walked right by each other, and nobody else was around. I looked at him so as to say hello. He purposely avoided eye contact with me. It was truly bizarre, and I thought not a good sign at all that this man who had my child at his house repeatedly could not even look me in the eye. I called my husband and asked his opinion. He said that, although he had nothing concrete to go on other than his gut, he had never had a great feeling about that Dad (he knew him from several Indian Princess camping trips), and that what I had just told him was enough to tip the scales to "our daughter is never going over there again." I was glad to hear him say that, because that was what I was also thinking. These are our kids. Sometimes we have only a feeling...but better safe than sorry.

Listen to your guts, ladies. I think that if I started all over as a mom now, my kids would be in far less of the situations I listed above. I would trust my instincts so much more than I did, and be even far more careful than I was, looking back at all that did happen and all that could have happened.

Sorry so long. This is a topic that I feel is incredibly IMPORTANT.

cali mom said...

Mom, scary horror stories. I am amazed what people DON'T seem to even think about with kids.

My unbalanced sister, who will NEVER be alone with my son, likes to tell a story at parties about when one of her kids was 4, and she was also "watching" the 3 year old of her friend who had ditched the no-good father so was a single mom, and the kids were happily entertained playing with the cleaning suplies under the sink, so she decided that would be a good opportunity for her to catch a few winks. And to her great surprise and apparently amusement, the 2 girls came to wake her up and show her the funny game they were playing, which was that one had doused the other with cleanser. She is apparently to this day amazed that such a thing could happen, and seems to think nothing of it, even telling the story when the girl's mom is there. If I had heard of such a thing I'd have called CPS on her for endangering my niece and if the friend had been my daughter, we'd no longer be friends!!

cali mom said...

Oh, and this is the sister who "raised" 4 kids to adulthood (by soome miracle) so she constantly takes the attitude like your MIL mom, that SHE knows SO much better than poor little bewildered ME on how to handle any child-rearing situiation, as if SHE coould do it all better. And she is getting her masters' in child development, hoping to open her own daycare. YIKES.

Anonymous said...

whoa cali mom, if you were "westchester mom", I would be able to guess the name of that irresponsible and hopeless "mom".
I think I know where she could find her soul mate!

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone, Thank you for answering my request for suggestions as to what to ask and how to check out parents and nannies where my child will play. (This is anonymous at 11:02 here -- but maybe I will call myself lower Westchester mom for this thread.) To anonymous at 11:37 who also said she was from "southern Westchester," why do you think you did not think to ask about guns? Is it because you have a daughter maybe, and I have a son, and boys can sometimes be more "intrigued" by a gun? Or do you just have the impression that people who live near you don't tend to have guns? Just wondering.

To Mom, thank you so much for your stories. They are very intriguing. I wish you would share even more of them.

Thanks everyone, and I hope more people comment on the ways that they check out parents/nannies before their child plays at the friend's house.

mom said...

I didn't ask about guns when we were in California. I kinda figured it might be a Texas thing. I mean, I know people have guns everywhere. I hear the stories all the time about the little kids who shoot themselves or friends all over this country. But in Texas it is very, very common for people to have guns. In fact, completely the opposite of what I would have ever believed possible about us...we even have guns now! There is so much sport shooting here that you just get used to it after a while. (I even shoot..and am not half bad...hehehe.) Of course, we didn't get any guns until the kids were older, and they are kept locked in a gun safe at all times when not specifically in use.

Thanks 4:02 for the compliment about my stories. Sometimes I feel a little funny about it because they make for such loooong posts. But I suppose that my best asset here is that I do have a lot of experience...and I, myself, learn best by that is how I also like to relate my experiences and opinions. I think I could be so much better of a mom if I started all over now...except with all of the knowledge that I have gained along the way thorugh my experiences. My own kids were kind of guinnea pigs, I guess, in the early years, as I lopped along doing my best but always being knocked for a loop by some or another unexpected situation that you never seem to be able to find the answers to in any parenting book! Oh well, as with all of and learn. Maybe that's why I keep hearing that being a grandparent is sooo much more fun (which is hard for me to imagine...but I do KEEP ON hearing that!) I suspect it is because we learn over time the true wisdom in the phrase "Don't sweat the small stuff."

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I truly enjoy your stories, too.
I'm at that 'over-protective' stage with my 6 y.o., also.
Most Parents are cool about it and think it's because I lost a baby right after he was born because of complications. They're probably right.
But those that don't know my history sometimes give me a rough time about it. It used to really annoy me but the first time my behavior 'saved' my son from a horrific injury, I got over that feeling real quick.
Just last week my brothers friend (who has a son 1 yr. older than mine), was teasing me because I wouldn't allow my son to walk the perimeter of our HIGH backyard deck (like a balance beam) ... and I told him to get his down. He just laughed at me and made some snide remark ... something to the effect of "loosen up, mom". Then not a minute later, guess who falls off? That little boy was really lucky he wasn't seriously hurt ... thank God. However, I did get an apology from the Dad (a very lengthy one at that!)
I know we all make mistakes, but the best you can do for your child is to limit how many they have to suffer from.

mom said...

Don't ever let anybody make you feel guilty for looking out for your child. As long as you are not protective in such an obsessive and unhelathy way that your child is negatively affected, it's nobody's business but oyur own.

I always wonder why some people care so much about others being protective over their small kids. Maybe it shows them something about themselves that they don't how they themselves are too lazy or uninvolved with their own kids? I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Lower Westchester Mom: This is 11:37 or southern westchester Mom. To answer your question on why it never occured to me to ask about guns in the home, I don't think it was a gender thing. Because I was not raised around guns and don't really know anyone who has ever mentioned they owned a gun, it just never was an issue I thought about. But that doesn't mean that some parents in my neighborhood don't own a gun.

Mom, I love your stories too. Your comments on the wide open windows made me smile. I had neighbors make comments because I have installed window guards--the same type you would use in an apartment building in NYC--in all my windows above the ground floor. Fact is though a two story fall onto my concrete driveway is as life threatening as an apartment and what do I care if it looks odd?

LastMinuteSitta said...

An ad I placed on CraigsList advertising my sitting services was answered by a couple looking for someone to sit that night. Thier sitter had canceled at the last minute and they had expensive Broadway show tickets.

I met them and their kids an hour before they left for the show. I was with their kids from 5pm until 1am and all they knew about me was my first name. They never asked where I lived, my last name or for ID. This is not the first or last time I have sat for people within minutes of meeting them and without having to provide any references or ID. And they uusually pay top dollar too because they are desperate for a sitter. Crazy!

Anonymous said...

LMS ...
Are you serious? In this day and age there is actually someone who would take an unknown caretaker on CL (of all places?) to watch their kids?!
I hope they enjoyed their stupid show.
I would at least hope you left them with one hellava impression for them to pick you outright like that.

NY Manny, 28 said...

I had an ad for manny on craigslist and recived little interest. Most parents are hesitant to hire a male to care for their children. But sure enough, I did get one couple with four children who needed me for a Saturday OVERNIGHT. She "interviewed" me by phone and then said she was in a bind and I sounded perfect. She told me she dad to leave on Friday at 7:30 and asked if I could come then. I am the one who had to suggest that I come early and meet the children while she was still around. As it were, she handed me off to the children and went to make phone calls, finish packing. She returned to say goodbye and had written down her cellphone number.
Are people this stupid? Yes. And judging from what I observed and heard from the children, this mama didn't make a habbit out of putting her children's needs first.

☼marypoppin'pills☼ said...

NY Manny
Well ... if you're posting here and telling your story, you probably are a safe bet. ☺ She's just lucky she got you and not some lunatic.
How could a Parent be so thoughtless as to who cares for their children?
Back when I was little about 30 yrs. ago (and it was much safer), my Mom used a lot of Daycare and I specifically remember one not-so-nice-Nanny.
She was quite abusive and I was afraid to say anything because she threatened we would be "sent away".
It was such a thrill that I actually got to confront her now as an Adult about 5 yrs. ago.
I was finally able to let go of a lot of 'baggage'.
Parents really need to be more vigilant who they allow to care for their children.

Anonymoose said...

MPP, you actually got to confront your mean nanny? Great for you!

I was "inapropriately touched" by a close family friend who owned I finally got the nerve to tell my mom when I was 12. She was angry of course but told me not to tell my uncles for fear they would kill him. She didn't want to go to the police for fear it would bring grief to his wife. He died when I was 16 and my family actually sent flowers and paid their respects though I refused to go. To this day I cannot walk into that store or look at his wife even though I doubt she had any idea. I have had therapy and am pretty much well adjusted as best I can be but I would have loved to opportunity to confront the bastard.

triesToBeCarefulMom said...

Help. So I have been reading this thread, much I had already thought of but Mom, you have thought of things that had not crossed my mind, so thank you.

Recently I am in the position of looking for a nanny and have struck out with agencies - no nannies available. So I am looking on websites, newspaper ads etc. Position is on the books.

Question - how much ID can I ask to see and when in the process? Any good websites or agencies for background checks? Any recommendations for *what* to check - driving? Ss number? I don't want them to think that I'm trying to steal their identity but I am thinking that before they start I should have the right to get copies of everything - or will that put legitimate nannies off?


Anonymous said...

There was a really good post about a week or two ago that listed all of the things you could ask for (and it spoke of ID theft, also) ... I would try to search that post out. It has alot of good info in it. At least until somebody posts back for you, it will help.

Anonymous said...

I would ask for (and make copies of) S.S.#, drivers license, (green card, etc. if necessary).
There are some reputable background check sites:


I've heard of both. I don't know which one is better, but you can certainly get all the Info you need to get started.
I assume this is your first Nanny search so don't forget to set up a WA (work agreement) and a Contract (with hours to be worked, Holidays off and pay).
Lay out from the beginning what you and your Nanny expect from each other so there won't be any surprises (like being asked to do housework that isn't child related), down the road.
Hopefully you will get several responses to your post. There are alot of people here that will help you out on your way, and can provide you with plenty more Info.
Good luck!
.... and use your instincts!!

Anonymous said...

Hello TriestobeCarefulmom-

It really depends on the state you live in and their labor laws there.
Some states you can't ask about age, only if they are in good enough health to complete their job and you can ask for a doctors release note stating the same in just about any state.

A good way to check a background and get info straight from the horse's mouth so to speak. Contact your local police station and see if, for a fee, if they will let your potential employer come down, be fingerprinted and them run the prints and SS # (of course, the future employee will have to be there in person) You can also take them to a local testing lab and have them do a simple urine or urine/blood or urine/blood/ hair analysis (which is the most accurate and most expensive) Beware of agencies that do background checks and provide nannies. Many of the security agencies get the same information available to you for free or for a nominal charge. Keep in mind that you have the right in most states to ask if they have been convicted of any crimes, and the ONLY way to truly verify they haven't is to run fingerprints and DNA (DNA is unlikely to be provided by most future nannies but I personally wouldn't have a problem with it) Most security checking agencies simply run a credit check and a basic criminal history check based off of ID and the SS#. In this day and age giving false information, this information provided can easily be fake and therefore, you could be getting bad info back from the agency. An abstract can be obtained from DMV in any state, and are easily verified with a phone call to DMV with the subject on the line with you to give permission to verify the Abstract (Driving record) is correct. However, in some states, like NJ, unless driving is part of the job description, you are only permitted to ask if they have reliable transportation NOT if they have a car or can they drive!
Nanny agencies can be good but again, they are in the business to make money and if they can't provide you with someone great they will try to provide you with anyone they can get. Don't assume because you got a nanny from an agency all the homework has been done for you. They may insure and bond their employees but few people know that only means if the employee is CONVICTED of stealing from you, you will be reimbursed.
Also, keep in mind when hiring an AU Pair from anohter country, the background and criminal checks done are NOT like any done on citizens here. In some countries, burning kids hands for stealing, or beatings with straps or switches is still acceptable and widely practiced therefore it's not a crime. Also, records are not kept as well as here and usually anyone who can come up with the large fee required to be brought over by the agency will be accepted and brought over.

The best way you can hire a nanny is to thoroughly screen the person. Call all their references and make sure you ask the right questions. Also ask the references if they can provide info with perhaps a neighbor who might have seen nanny and the children interacting in the yard that you can call.

Much ado is made about being CPR certified and all my employers ask about it but CPR certification will not help if the child is bleeding heavily, having an unexpected allergic reaction to an unknown allergy or has fallen down a flight of stairs and is hurt. In fact, after a severe fall attempting CPR can actually do greater harm than good. A better question to ask is have you ever handled an emergency before if so what was it and what did you do? Despite vigilence children fall down and get hurt sometimes. An honest nanny of experience will likely have handled all sorts of emergencies, perhaps even a major one in her time, so be confident that life and experience is the best certification someone can have.

Once you find the right person, hire her and drop in on her unexpectedly. Not only in the beginning but several months into her tenure. Look for the kids to be showing you crafts they did together or talking about activities. Have a friend or relative drop in unexpectedly as well to say "Hi" to the kids from time to time. And always, always listen to your children, watch their mood. Talk to them. Don;t bother with hidden nanny cams. I know nanny who knows where every "Hidden" camera in her employers home is LOL. Leave insignificant amounts of cash around. A few singles or a five here and there. A dishonest person won't be able to resist after a while and it will start to disappear.

Good luck in your search!

triestobecarefulmom said...

Thank you for the advice. This was partly prompted by a real-life experience with someone whose id and story didn't match, to the extent she would let me see things (obviously she isn't in my home).

I used intelius (paid, but relatively cheap) to do background checks and I think that might be what enannysource uses too. Problem with intelius - seems like their databases aren't fully cross-referenced. So for example, look up an email, find a name and address, but search the address, that name may not come up (maybe minor differences in # of spaces between words??)

By the way - it is a bad time of year to look for a nanny - how would I go about getting background info on an au pair? Are some countries "safer" in how they screen them, or what info is available?

Thanks again all. I have benefited a lot from this discussion.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where you're looking, but it's actually a great time of year to be looking for a nanny.

Many leave after the Holiday Season, especially if their needs for a new contract haven't been met. Some are looking for raises they may not get for whatever reason, and are now looking for a new family.
This is also the time of year when old contracts are up, and there may be some discrepancies and some nannies are let go.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but jobs don't last forever, and sometimes the nanny is just looking for a fair shake and some families may not be willing to give it.

I hope you know what you're getting into with looking to hire an Au Pair.
No offense, but I hope you're not just trying to save some money.

Good luck in your search.

triestobecarefulmom said...

umm, no, I don't know what I'm getting into with hiring an au pair... is there some big issue with it? I thought it was legal, mostly worked out ok etc?

I'm signed up with 2 agencies, 3 websites. Very, very few candidates in the suburbs of NYC where I am (too far to commute to NYC every day). Person has to drive and be legal and seems like that is hard to find. But if there are other places I should be looking - please tell!

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I know there are ALOT of legalities with hiring an Au Pair.
There are certain things that you have to furnish her with, not to mention that most are very young and inexperienced, etc.
If I were you and seriously considering hiring one, I would look up as much info as possible just to familiarize yourself.

Personally (and this is MY opinion only) ... I think an Au Pair could work great with a SAHM, but not one who is working out of the home for an extended period of time.

I hope things work out and you find yourself a good and SAFE Caregiver.
Let us know what happens!

Hope these Resources help:

This one is by Parents and provides alot of good Info:

triestobecarefulmom said...

Will check them out - thanks MPP!

Anonymous said...

Tries to be careful Mom: Don't know exactly where you are, but I, and two of my co-workers further north in Westchester county, had luck with Keep in mind, it is not an agency, so you still have to do your own careful screening, but you can do a quick reference check using Lexis/Nexis through the site and other parents can rate the caregivers (although it appears few do). Within two weeks of putting up a profile and posting a job, I had 2 VERY strong candidates, one of which I hired.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I would not recommend SitterCity. They are having a run of bad luck lately because it seems they haven't been screening their employees well enough. Check the BBB ... I bet they have some complaints.
They were just recently in the News because one of their nannies killed a baby they were taking care of.

Helaine said...

I will admit I dabbled in Sitter City years ago. The site was set up pretty well and nearly every one on the site was a college aged sitter looking for extra side money. This was a perfect fit for my family and I did find a great sitter off of Sitter City in 2002. The problem is the creator got greedy once she started doing well and sought to have more and more babysitters post their resumes. This resulted in an influx of Caribbean women, uneducated women (as in perhaps a 9th grade education) and a whole lot of people who worked at Burger King or Petsmart and wanted to work with children. Not ideal. Genivive or whatever her name is sure made a mess of things. Sitter City is where a parent would go to get a smart sitter. Now, it's a giant cesspool. Possibly even worse than Craig's list- if you could imagine that!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Info. Helaine.
People need to be aware of what is safe for their children.

Anonymous said...

My experience with sittercity is very different from Helaine's. I was referred there by a friend of my husbands' last spring. We found a great nanny, educated, grew up the next town over, and with strong childcare experience, but she would not be available for six weeks. So, I went back to sittercity to find a temporary for the summer. Ended up finding a graduate child psych student living in my town who was interning as a teaching assistant at one of the elementary schools. She did a great job as a temporary and we continue to use her as a weekly tutor and occasional sitter. Like any of the online nanny sites, there are people on there I would never consider, but there is enough detailed information in the profiles, it's easy to weed out the worse, even before a phone interview. Just keep in mind that none of these nanny internet sites do any screening of the nannies on there, so you need to screen carefully and do your own homework.

Bad Experience M said...

The problem with Sitter City is not that there are not candidates like the great ones you found. The problem has come from word of mouth-positive about Sitter City. This leads people to go online without proper knowledge of what sittercity is. Anyone can put their resume or profile on. There is no screening. None at all. And these women who don't have experience cut and paste experience from good profiles. There are some good sitters on there. But for ALL of the MONEY that person has made, why not screen who can put their ad on there? I mean why not DO SOMETHING for YOUR MONEY? Don't forget Craigs List may not be the best place- but that guy does it all for FREE.

I hate to see greedy people loom victorious. The modifications to the site should have happened in 2004-2005 when cash was rolling in. But I think it went straight in to the pockets.

And who's the wiser?

Not the family with the dead baby on their hands. The family that chose Sitter City because of family's that had found good sitters and suggested Sitter City.

At the least there should be a disclaimer on that site. Warning people.

Maybe something like,
"The individuals posting their experience and resumes on this site have not been screened in any way shape or form. They may or may not be who they claim to be. They may or may not have the education they claim to be. Please verify such. It is up to you to authenticate the very identity of the candidate you choose from Sitter City as we have not done that either. We also cannot confirm whether the picture of the person posted is in fact the person placing the ad. We cannot vouch for any real or imagined child care experience professed by the Sitter City candidates. Some of our candidates have impeccable references. Many of our candidates have fictional job experience and use there friends and family to vouch as references for them by phone and in print. It is your responsibility to be able to tell the difference. Choosing a name off of Sitter City must be seen as drawing a name out of a very large, weathered hat. A hat that is lying in the gutter."

Bad Experience M said...

There are many typos in my post above. Deal with it. "their experience", etc.

TriesToBeCarefulMom said...

I'm in NJ but will check out sittercity with this in mind. It can't be any worse than putting an ad in a newspaper - which I've also done lately.

(favorite response - "can you drive?" yes. "do you have a driver's license?" no. )

Anonymous said...

Bad Experience Mom--I agree with you. A noticeable disclaimer should be on all online nanny sites (and if you ask me many traditional nanny agency's material). I used, Craig's List and as well as sittercity and a traditional nanny agency when I was searching. True, I had a good experience with sittercity which is where we found both our permanent and temporary hire, and true, I was turned onto the site by a friend. But, as far as I know, none of these sites check that the people on their site are any good or do any background investigation on them. But then again, the agency I used who claims they screen candidates sent me two interviews far worse than any I selected for in person interviewing from the online sources. I completely gave up on Craig's List after two weeks--there are probably some good people mixed in (my temporary actual said she posted there), but so many fake "my wonderful nanny is leaving" ads and disreputable agencies in disguise, I decided it wasn't worth the time it took to go through them. Noone should take any nanny source (online or traditional) as anything better than an open classified ad listing in a newspaper and always do your own homework and screening. This is such an important and personal choice, there really are no shortcuts.