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Caregiver Background Checks

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October 11, 2011 Return to News & Events

Caregivers and Background Checks: Take the Time to Check for Crime

As the average life expectancy of an average American continues to increase, the demand for well-qualified and trained caregivers will increase as well.  Unfortunately, the continued economic woes and increasing cost of institutionalized care giving have made elder care a challenging situation.  Many individuals turn to in-home care as a means of reducing cost.  A caregiver comes into the home a few hours a day to assist with daily activities as well as keep a watchful eye in case of emergency.  In-home caregivers are viewed as a low cost alternative.  However, in many in-home care-giving situations the ability to properly vet a caregiver in the hiring processing is often not there and the potential of risk to the elderly is exponentially increased.  Low cost solutions are often a time bomb waiting to go off.

In many states the caregiver industry is unregulated, especially if the care giving takes place in the home and is not institutionally operated.  Individuals requiring elder care for their parents or grandparents face an enormous cost potential and providing care in-home is often considered the most cost effective alternative.  Caregivers are hired to come to the home and perform required duties.  Unfortunately supervision is often at a minimum and, in certain cases, the elderly are very susceptible to fall victim of criminal activities.

Due to a relative lack of regulation, the care giving industry becomes a hotbed of criminal activity and malfeasant individuals are drawn to it.  Additionally, in states that allow individuals to do a criminal background check through the Department of Justice few actually conduct a search.

In a recent article in the Desert Sun ( another startling statement came to light:

A California Senate Health Committee report in April found one in four of accused and convicted caregivers in the state had a criminal record. Even more alarming was a finding that long-term care applicants are three times more likely to have a criminal record, likely because there are no restrictions against home-care workers having felony convictions.                                                     
( )

Fortunately, there are steps an individual can do to proactively mitigate the risk involved in hiring a caregiver.  Low cost background screening is available.  Often, the very idea of doing a comprehensive background check will stop potential predators in their tracks, before they even apply for a position.

When conducting a caregiver background check one should request the following reports:

  1. Social Security Number Trace:  This document will highlight counties of residency as well as any issues with Social Security Number attachment and AKAs.
  2. County Criminal Records Check:  This report will illustrate any criminal activity from the county level, which is the most accurate and relevant area of review.
  3. National Criminal Records Check:  An important document to screen for potential criminal activity that occurs outside of an area of residency as well as a number of white collar crimes.
  4. National Sex Offenders Registry Check:  Sex offenses occur within all at-risk populations, including elder.


Caregivers are employees and should be treated as such.  A full vetting of their past significantly reduces risk and potential financial loss.  Contact for more information on how a Criminal Background Check can help create a safe environment for those at risk.

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