Peace of Mind When Hiring Caregivers

Too often, families and agencies discover the value of thorough background investigations after something has gone wrong.

A caregiver proves to be unreliable.

Something of value is missing from a home.

Or, worse yet, a child or other family member is injured.

For over 30 years, PFC Information Services has helped nanny agencies make well-informed and safe hiring recommendations.

We do this by ensuring that the background investigations we deliver to clients are never compromised by sloppy research methods or shortcuts.

We conduct thorough research so that you can sleep well at night.

Now as part of the Imperative family, PFC still offers best-in-class background investigations along with:

  • Paperless authorization forms
  • Easier state and federal compliance tools
  • Heightened data security

But we also know that when dealing with a topic as sensitive as hiring a caregiver, the human touch is critical. 

Our team of professional background investigations analysts are always just a phone call away, ready to answer your questions.

Common Investigations

We can customize background investigations to meet every risk and budgetary concern.

Our most commonly requested investigation packages are outlined below.

Call us at toll free 877-473-2287 to discuss your unique requirements!

Criminal Research

Most household employers correctly prioritize understanding a potential caregiver’s criminal history for insight into how they may behave when given access to a child.

A quick Google search will identify dozens of websites offering “national” or “nationwide” criminal records searches. Often, they’re offered at ridiculously low prices. (hint: you get what you pay for)

What these sites hide in the small print is that it is often illegal to use these searches for employment purposes (including hiring a nanny).

And what they won’t tell you is that these searches miss about half of all the records that the more thorough research process outlined below will reveal.

“Oh, I’m just concerned about catching ‘the big stuff.'” Unfortunately, criminal databases are just as likely to miss serious felonies as they are relatively-minor misdemeanors.

Only rely on online criminal databases if you are comfortable risking missing half of the records that more thorough research methods would identify.

Imperative offers three standard criminal background investigations:

Critical Criminal Background Investigation Diligent Criminal Background Investigation Basic-Plus Criminal Background Investigation 
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Advanced Identity Research
Multijurisdictional Criminal Records Database Search
County-level Misdemeanor and Felony Criminal Records Searches **
State-level Criminal Records Searches
Federal District Criminal Records Searches
USDOJ National Sex Offender Public Website Search * *
National Wants and Warrants Search

* Many but not all sex offender registrations are included in the multijurisdictional criminal records database.
** County research conducted in county of current residence only.

Criminal Research Components Explained

Advanced Identity Research

Individuals with checkered pasts often use aliases, alter their dates of birth or social security numbers, or otherwise try to “fudge” their identity information—sometimes even stealing others’ identity information.

So the first step in conducting a thorough background check on your nanny is verifying that they are who they say they are.

This is accomplished by reviewing consumer reference files–information from sources like credit bureaus and financial institutions.

You’ve heard of “big data?” This is it.

Imperative’s trained analysts will sort through this data to corroborate your nanny’s identity claims, initiating additional research into any red flags that may appear.

Multijurisdictional Criminal Records Database Search

Sometimes referred to as a “national” or “nationwide” criminal history search, this database contains millions of criminal records, sex-offender registrations, the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s (OFAC) list of identified terrorists and other international criminals (often referred to as the Patriot Act list) and other sources.

Some jurisdictions provide limited or no information for inclusion in this database. Half or more of the available criminal records in the United States are missing from this database.

To ensure maximum possible accuracy, any records found in the database are verified with the originating county prior to inclusion in our Report. Notations of any records found in the database will refer back to the Report entry for the originating county.

County-level Misdemeanor and Felony Criminal Records Searches

This is the most important component of criminal research because 98% of criminal records originate at the county level.

Imperative will conduct searches of the misdemeanor and felony criminal court records of each county associated with your nanny in the past ten years. 

This is not a database search–we will be searching the live records of the courts, which usually means visiting the actual courthouse. This is the only way to ensure the most thorough research possible.

Counties and names included in research are determined based upon information provided by your applicant and other information developed during Advanced Identity Research.

Each search will cover a minimum of ten years of criminal records in that county, if available – most will cover longer periods.

It is important to note that these are searches of judicial (court) records, not records maintained by law enforcement or other agencies including investigations, arrest warrants, or arrest and detention records. Until a criminal case has been filed against a defendant, the matter will not appear in the court’s records.

State-level Criminal Records Searches

Each state offers some mix of state criminal records repository, prison records, and sex offender registries.

These resources are used primarily to identify potential cases that did not occur in counties already included in the county-level criminal searches.

Imperative will search the available records in each state associated with your nanny in the past ten years using the information developed during Advanced Identity Research.

Federal District Criminal Records Searches

The federal courts account for only 2% of the criminal records in the US. However, they include very serious offenses such as bank robbery, interstate drug and gun crimes, human trafficking, and child pornography. 

Imperative will, at a minimum, search each federal district associated with your nanny in the past ten years. 

USDOJ National Sex Offender Public Website Search

The US Department of Justice has built the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, a single web portal that will search all of the individual sex offender registry websites of all fifty states at once.

While this single search touches dozens of sex offender databases, it is important to realize that each state has its own registration requirements—what requires registration in one state may not require registration in another. Additionally, many states restrict which registered offenders are listed on their public website.

Imperative will use this website to conduct a search under all names associated with your nanny.

National Wants and Warrants Search

Local, state, and federal authorities report many extraditable arrest warrants to the FBI for inclusion in the National Crime Information Center’s (NCIC) database. This is the one portion of the NCIC database that is available to the public.

Typically, only warrants for the most serious offenses are reported to the database.

Imperative will conduct of this database under all names associated with your nanny.

Caregiver Qualifications Investigations

Beyond past criminal behavior, other information about a nanny may also affect their fitness for duty.

What have other employers’ experiences been with them?

Are they safety-conscious?

Are there any issues in their personal lives that may follow them into your home?

For instance, even if a nanny isn’t expected to drive a child anywhere, the fact that she has a number of traffic tickets or even a suspended license may suggest that she is not a very safety-conscious or “by-the-book” type of person.

Imperative offers several qualifications packages to help identify potential red-flags.


  Premier Caregiver Qualifications Investigation Advanced Caregiver Qualifications Investigation Basic Caregiver Qualifications Investigation 
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State Driving History
Civil Protective Orders (CPO) Search

National Bankruptcy Search

Employment Verification

Education Verification  
License and Certification Verification  
County Civil Litigation Search    
Federal Civil Litigation Search    


Qualifications Research Components Explained

State Driving History (MVR)

As noted earlier, a nanny’s driving history may be relevant even is she isn’t expected to drive as part of her responsibilities, because it speaks to her personal responsibility and safety awareness.

Most states provide at least three to five years of information about driving infractions and accidents.

Our online reporting system returns driving records instantly in most states. 

Civil Protective Order Search

Personal issues sometimes follow nannies to work.

Identifying potentially-dangerous relationships is one way of flagging such issues.

Civil protective orders (also called restraining orders or stay-away orders) filed by or against your nanny in each county in which they’ve lived for the past two years can help identify these relationships.

These orders are frequently filed in the context of domestic disputes, but they can also be filed in non-domestic situations, e.g., coworkers, former employers, neighbors, etc.

National Bankruptcy Search

A search of the federal bankruptcy courts’ records can provide additional insight into how your nanny conducts her personal business. 

While not all bankruptcies are caused due to the debtor’s irresponsibility, reviewing the kinds of debt they have, and the amounts owed can be informative.

For instance, bankruptcy documents may reveal significant gambling debts or civil suit judgments against your nanny.

Likewise, some individuals are “frequent-filers,” routinely filing for bankruptcy to get some breathing room from creditors but never following through on the bankruptcy claim. This manipulation of the bankruptcy courts’ process may also be illustrative to your nanny’s character.

Employment Verification

Whether your nanny claims she was previously employed by a fast-food restaurant or another family, those previous employers may provide important information about her  behavior—particularly their integrity, personal conduct, reliability, and safety.

And even if the previous employer will not provide any insight into her behavior, just confirming that she told you the truth about her length of employment  and job title is an important integrity test.

Education Verification

Regardless of whether you require a college degree, you should always verify any education claims your nanny makes.

Many people lie to prospective employers about college degrees that they never actually received.

Even if you don’t care if the nanny has a degree, if you catch her lying to you about a degree, can you expect her behavior to change once you’ve hired her?

License & Certification Verification

Some nannies claim licenses or certifications. It is easy to make such claims because many employers do not verify those claims.

Like education, license or certification claims should be verified if only to verify the applicant’s honesty.

County Civil Litigation Search

While being a party to litigation may not automatically eliminate your nanny candidate from consideration, it is important for many families to understand why your nanny has been sued in the past or who they’ve sued. (Might your family be next?)

Imperative will conduct searches of the civil court records of each county associated with your nanny in the past ten years. 

This is not a database search–we will be searching the live records of the courts, which usually means visiting the actual courthouse. This is the only way to ensure the most thorough research possible.

Federal Civil Litigation Search

Civil cases may also be filed by or against your nanny at the federal court level. The federal courts often handle disputes between individuals in separate states or federally-regulated matters.

Imperative will conduct searches of the civil court records of each federal district associated with your nanny in the past ten years. 

This is not a database search–we will be searching the live records of the courts, sometimes requiring a visit to the actual courthouse. This is the only way to ensure the most thorough research possible.

Legal Compliance

Background investigations are subject to federal, state, and local consumer-protection laws.

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) will apply to your nanny background check–even if they are “contractors” or you are paying them “off the books.”

Also, ignore the word “credit” in the law’s title–it applies to all employment background checks even when a credit report isn’t included.

The FCRA requires that you disclose in writing that you will be running a background check on your nanny. You also have to obtain their written authorization to run the background check. 

Then, if information on the report may negatively affect your hiring decision, the FCRA requires that you give your nanny a copy of the report along with a summary of their rights under the law before you make the hiring decision.

Then, after you make the hiring decision, you have to give them notice of the decision and other information.

Some states and even local municipalities have additional disclosure requirements.

The good news is that Imperative provides an automated system to make the necessary disclosures to and receive the necessary authorizations from your applicant. And, if you decide not to hire your applicant because of the background check, we provide those communications electronically at no additional cost.

How Does the Imperative Process Work?

Our secure, web-based system makes ordering and receiving background investigation fast and easy.

To order a report, you simply log in and select what you would like to include in your background check.

Then simply provide us with the applicant’s name and email address.  Our system will send your applicant an email inviting them to log into our system.

Once they log in, they will receive the necessary legal notifications under federal and, as applicable, state and local law and will give the required consent for you to receive the background investigation. 

Then, we’ll gather their name, date of birth, address, social security number, and other information necessary to complete the investigation.

Once the applicant completes this process, we will initiate the background investigation.

At any time, you can log into our website to check the status of your report and review any research that has already been completed.

Once completed, we will email you that the report is available online.

How long does it take?

Our commitment is to complete each report by the end of the third full business day. Most reports are completed much more quickly.

Because some courts do not make their records readily available for public review, it can sometimes take longer to complete reports in those areas. Additionally, when a record is found, obtaining all of the relevant information from the court’s files (often located in offsite archives) may take an extra couple of days.

If we anticipate that a report is going to take more than three business days, our commitment is to let you know and, to the extent possible, give your an estimated completion date.

Begin Making Well-Informed Hiring Decisions Today!

There are dozens of ways online background screening companies can cut corners on your background checks to get the price really low.

But do you really want the low-bidder to perform the background check on your next nanny hire? 

For over 30 years, the PFC brand has stood for high-quality and great service.

Call us at 877-473-2287 or schedule a call below to explore how we can improve the peace of mind in your hiring process!

Need just one background check? Order it today!