Background checks for Care.com have failed parents more than once since the popular family care site was founded in 2006. Just since December, 2015, two incidents involving Care.com nannies and law enforcement have made it to local news media. Lawsuits have also been filed against Care.com by parents whose children actually died while under the care of a hired Care.com caregiver. In all of these cases, Care.com nannies and babysitters passed background checks. Parents of young children are now calling for Care.com to make changes to their background checks, making them tighter and more thorough, according to ABC affiliate WSB-TV.
As it stands, if parents want to feel even halfway safe and secure with their choice of caregivers, they have to pay as much as $300 to Care.com for the most expensive background check option, the Premier Background Check. Premier Background Checks are touted as the most comprehensive background check out of the four background checks currently offered by Care.com. Preliminary, Preferred, and Preferred Plus Background Checks start at $59, but are also only automated screenings of potential caregivers. The Premier Background Check comes with a promise that a human will prepare the results, more specifically, an investigative professional.
“Unlike the Preliminary, Preferred, and Preferred+ checks, which are mostly automated searches essentially untouched by human hands, the Premier Background Check is prepared by investigative professionals, who are involved in each step of the process, from data entry to analysis to report preparation.”
When it comes to choosing a background check through Care.com, parents probably get what they pay for. Care.com even has a disclaimer on their website saying their background checks vary in comprehensiveness, and not any background check is going to be 100 percent accurate. Even so, hundreds of dollars spent on an unautomated background check for one night out without the kids may seem a bit steep for some parents, especially if some caregivers still fall through the cracks. WSB-TV reported on two specific incidents with Care.com babysitters whose background checks missed a few important criminal details. In both cases, parents paid for background checks through Care.com but didn’t specify which ones they chose.
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— Taylor Skowronski (@TaylorGreenday) January 8, 2016
One case involved a Georgia babysitter hired through Care.com who was arrested for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from the family who vetted her beforehand. A Dekalb County, Georgia, couple used Care.com in 2013 to find a babysitter for their two children. Keating McCarthy said her and her husband only wanted a night out and even paid for a background check before hiring Gina Groves. Groves’ background check came back clean, and she reportedly had glowing reviews on Care.com from other satisfied parents.
The McCarthys only used Groves as a caregiver twice, once for their children and once for their dog. Soon afterward, the McCarthys found out Groves had charged at least $5,000 on their credit cards and even tried to open credit card accounts in their name. Local police told the McCarthys that Groves had four warrants out for her arrest, important details the Care.com background check failed to catch.
“When I heard that, I was just blown away. We have gone back to trying to find friends and neighbors,” said McCarthy.
A second case involved a Care.com babysitter in Massachusetts who was found drunk early in January while caring for an infant. Salem parents of a 4-month-old baby called police when they came home to find their sitter, 52-year-old Susan Conway-Lally, too drunk to open the door. Neighbors of Conway-Lally told Fox News out of Boston that she had struggled with alcohol addiction for years. Conway-Lally even admitted in court that she had a very bad alcohol problem. But the Care.com background check failed to uncover Conway-Lally’s longtime drinking problem.
— Tara West (@TaraMWest) January 9, 2016
There are currently three known pending lawsuits against Care.com for failure to conduct proper background checks, according to Boston.com. Care.com won’t comment publicly on any caregiver hired through their site but say that safety is of paramount importance to them. Parents are calling for Care.com to make drastic changes to the background checks. Currently, Care.com runs background checks based only on what information caregivers provide. Joseph Hardy, a detective with Dekalb County police, suggests fingerprint background checks, saying that is the only way to make sure someone is who they say they are.
Care.com doesn’t specify what changes they may make to background checks in the future but does ensure members that safety measures will be re-evaluated.
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