Nanny Thief Au Pair
On Sunday morning a friend stopped to tell me about the horror his son, and daughter-in-law, John and Jane Doe, recently experienced with their children’s sitter, Thief Au Pair.
John and Jane Doe are both professionals who were in need a full time sitter for their 2 preschool aged children when they came to learn of Au Pair. This lady had been referred to the Does by family friends and so they saw no need to have a background check run. In fact, any concerns they may have experienced quickly diminished as the first six months with Au Pair were flawless: the children were well fed and happy; appointments were kept and the house was clean when the Does would return home from work.
John and Jane were so impressed with the way their children were nurtured by Au Pair that they decided to take a much needed weekend get-away. So after work on a recent Friday, they packed a few things; kissed their children good bye; gave final instructions to Au Pair and went to their favorite spot on the map.
The Does spent wonderful three days together enjoying the sun, surf, romantic dinners knowing all the while knowing their children were in good hands…or so they had been led to believe. Little did they know when the Does left town Au Pair turned into Mrs. Hyde (Thief Au Pair). That’s right. Au Pair pulled the ole Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde switcheroo.
Thief Au Pair Hyde called her boyfriend who was a drug addict, a convicted child molester and all around ne’er-do-well; and, her mother, an alcoholic, not recovering, who lived 3 States away to come and join her at the Does home for the weekend.
When John and Jane returned home on Sunday evening they immediately know something was wrong. The children were “out of sorts… crying and carrying on” I was told. Their behavior was totally out of their pattern of normalcy and this immediately sent red flags up for the Does. A quick glance in the refrigerator let Jane know that her children were not fed the nutritious fruits and vegetables that had been purchased for them and it wasn’t long before their oldest child began to speak about the other two people that spent the weekend with them and talk about the candy and cookies they had been eating since mommy and daddy left.
Further investigation of their home revealed that someone during their absence absconded with jewelry, family heir looms, check book and credit cards. A check online of their bank accounts indicated the credit cards had been used and a check had been presented at the bank. Unbelievable you say? Not so. This happens more often that you want to believe.
We are talking about children here; relying on the word of a friend is too much of a risk and leaves too much to chance. Life happens and circumstances change people. Reputable people do not mind submitting to a background check because they know what you find will validate the information they have already presented.
So what do you protect your children and find someone reputable to be their care giver?
The best place to begin is to create an Application for Employment. Anyone who is in your employ should fill out an application which includes their social security number, current address, previous employer, references, a non-refundable application fee and a place for their signature and date. You will need this information for year end tax returns any way, so get it up front.
Repeat after me, “No one gets a free pass; my children are worth the extra effort this will take to insure the best care I can provide for them.”
Second, hire a licensed professional investigations firm to run a full criminal background check; conduct interviews of previous employers and references listed on the Nanny’s application; and verify their training, certifications and education.
Repeat after me, “Nothing is too good for the protection and safety of my children.”
Third, compile a personal inventory of ALL of your valued possessions. This can be done with the video app on your smart phone, but accompany the video with a hard copy of the items and estimated value or copy of appraisal if you have it. Keep a copy of the inventory in your home safe and give a copy to your attorney.
When you have completed the process and have hired a Nanny, prior to her/his first day on the job install a few Nanny Cams in key locations around your home or better yet, says Jeremy Bennett, Southern Crescent Technical College Department Chair Public Safety and Criminal Justice, have your home wired for interior and exterior video surveillance.
Repeat after me, “I love my children so much that I want to make our home as safe as it can be, and that includes employing first rate people with whom I entrust their care.”
Oh, the Does. The Does have filed a report with the local police, and did were able to have Au Pair Hyde and her merry band of thieves arrested when they presented another check at the bank. The Does preschoolers were checked by their pediatrician and given a clean bill of health. The Does are looking for another Nanny, but I am assured they will not complete due diligence first.
Got a Nanny; need a Nanny? What are you waiting for?!
NOTE: This blog post is a factual account. The names have been changed to protect those involved.