Background Check Guide

The background on background checks

Obtaining and reviewing a background check is an essential step in finding the best care; however, itís important to understand that it is only part of the process. Background checks can be helpful and uncover potential warning signs about candidates; however, background checks are not always 100% accurate or complete and are run based on the information provided by the member. As with all background checks, the background checks offered through Care.com vary in comprehensiveness. This guide provides in-depth information on whatís covered by each background check you can request through Care.com:

Preliminary Background Check

The Preliminary Background Check is an automated search and should only be used as an initial screening tool, to help narrow your list of candidates. It can include the following:

  • Social Security Number Verification - The Social Security Number Verification is a search of credit bureau and public records databases to determine what name or names are associated with a particular Social Security number. This is not a check of the Social Security Administration's databases.

  • National Criminal Database Search - The National Criminal Database search can include misdemeanor and felony records; however, many states and counties do not make their data available online. Consequently there are large gaps in the coverage provided by this search. Online databases that are used to perform these checks may only be updated periodically, therefore, sometimes missing or omitting recent criminal record charges. Additionally, the majority of records contained in this database are convictions only; it generally does not include charges or arrests that do not result in a conviction. Click here to see what records are covered in your area.

  • Sex Offender Registry Search - The Sex Offender Registry Search covers all 50 states and may reveal information relative to people with histories of sexual crimes, the severity of those offenses, personal defendant identifiers and arrest dates. Typically only level 2 and level 3 sex offenders are included in the Sex Offender Registry.

Due to the limitations of the Preliminary Background Check, we strongly recommend you order a Preferred, Preferred+, or Premier Background Check on your lead candidate before making your final hiring decision.

Preferred Background Check

The Preferred Background Check is more comprehensive than the Preliminary Background Check and includes a review of Federal and State or County Courthouse public records, covering the counties the candidate is believed to have lived in the last 7 years. These records are searched via access to direct, real time links with a number of courthouses and, in some cases, by a nationwide network of court-runners located in each county.

The Preferred Background Check includes everything from the Preliminary Background Check, plus:

  • Federal Courthouse Records Search - The Federal Courthouse Records search is a search of the criminal records of the specific U.S. district court covering the region where a candidate has resided over the last seven years, for convictions of federal crimes (e.g., money laundering, counterfeiting, racketeering and crimes committed across state lines, etc.).

  • State/County Criminal Records Search - The State/County Criminal Records search is a search of criminal records in the states and/or counties the candidate has resided over the last seven years. The majority of records returned are convictions; it generally does not include charges or arrests that do not result in a conviction.

Preferred+ Background Checks

Will your caregiver be driving your loved ones around? That might be the deciding factor when selecting how much background screening you need.

The Preferred+ Background Check includes everything from the Preferred Background Check, plus:

  • Motor Vehicle Record Check - The MVR check will report the following information, for the state where the license being checked was issued: status of the operatorís driving privileges, restrictions, expiration date, license type and class, endorsements, suspensions or revocations, violations, accidents, and DUIís. If a candidate has ever had an incident, while being licensed by another state, since most states do not have reciprocity, only violations in the state where the license was issued will be returned.

Premier Background Check

Unlike the Preliminary, Preferred, and Preferred+ checks, which are mostly automated searches with minimal human intervention, the Premier Background Check includes searches that are prepared by investigative professionals. PFC Information Services, the background check vendor who performs the Premier Background Check, works with a network of research specialists who go directly to the source to pull the most up-to-date and complete information available. PFC also utilizes comprehensive online sources obtained from state law enforcement agencies and statewide administrative offices of the courts.

The Premier Background Check includes:

  • SSN Verification - The Social Security Number Verification is a search of credit bureau and public records databases to determine what name or names are associated with a particular Social Security number. This is not a check of the Social Security Administration's databases.

  • National Criminal Database - The National Criminal Database can include misdemeanor and felony records; however, individual states and counties decide what information is included in the National Criminal Database. Click here to see what records are covered in your area. Additionally, online databases that are used to perform these checks may only be updated periodically, therefore, sometimes missing or omitting recent criminal record charges.

  • National Sex Offender Registry - The National Sex Offender Registry is a national search of the U.S. Justice Departmentís Sex Offender Registry and may reveal a personís history of sexual crimes, the severity of those offenses, personal defendant identifiers and arrest dates. Typically only level 2 and level 3 sex offenders are included. This search is conducted in real time.

  • State/County Criminal Records Search - The State/County Criminal Records search is a real-time search of criminal records in the states and/or counties the candidate has resided over the last seven years. The search covers all names used by the candidate (i.e. aliases) as disclosed by him or her to PFC or as otherwise developed or discovered by PFC in the conduct of its background check. The majority of records returned are convictions; it generally does not include charges or arrests that do not result in a conviction. PFC works with its own network of courthouse researchers who are dispatched directly to the source to pull the most up-to-date and complete information available. PFC also gathers criminal data from premium online state criminal repositories and statewide court records, which are provided by state law enforcement agencies or state administrative offices of the courts.

  • US District Court Criminal Records - The US District Court records are researched for criminal litigation in the state or states where the subject has lived during the last 7 years.

  • Driving Records - The DMV report can be obtained in every state, with the exception of Alaska, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. Generally, violations remain on the DMV report for three years, although convictions for serious offenses are reported for 5 years or more, depending on the state. Convictions for DUI or "wet reckless" are of critical importance, as they can point to substance abuse problems.

  • National Bankruptcy Records - A National Bankruptcy Records search can reveal if the candidate has filed for bankruptcy and, if so, whether the bankruptcy was classified as 7 or 13. Additional debtors, liabilities, and filing and discharge dates are included.

  • National Wants & Warrants - The National Wants and Warrants search can include any open, extraditable warrants pertaining to the candidate.

  • Civil Restraining Orders - The Civil Restraining Order search can uncover any civil restraining orders filed against the candidate or filed by the candidate against another individual. Restraining orders are frequently filed in the context of domestic disputes.

Unlike the Preliminary, Preferred, and Preferred+ Background Checks, the process for requesting a Premier Background Check is offline. If you request a Premier Background Check on a candidate and the candidate accepts your request, a member of our team will contact you to walk you through this simple and straightforward process.