How to Do Background Checks on a Nanny

You may want to run a background check on your potential Nanny. Here's how...


Thanks to a law in New York state, you can.

Kieran’s Law took effect on October 27, 1998, to allow parents and guardians of children to access New York State criminal history  information  regarding  potential  in-house caregivers  being  considered  for  employment. Kieran’s  Law  applies  only  to  caregivers  (e.g., nannies,  babysitters) who will be providing childcare in the child’s home for 15 hours or more per week.

The law allows parents, with the voluntary consent of the prospective caregiver, to forward the prospective employee’s fingerprints to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). DCJS will conduct a search of its records so that a criminal background search can be conducted. Once the background check is completed, the parents will be notified of any criminal convictions in New York State so that they can make an informed decision regarding the fitness and competency of their child’s caretaker. A $75 fee, payable by the parents, will be charged for each background check conducted by DCJS. This fee may be reduced based on the prospective employer’s financial situation and ability to pay. More information here.




- Tell your potential nanny that you want to run a background check on them. If they react to this decision and backs away, this is a red flag to be wary of.

- Run background checks on all the names your nanny has had, including (but not limited to) your Nanny's maiden AND married name.

- A background check is not sufficient on its own and for many nannies in NYC, complete background checks cannot be done. Be sure to check all your nanny's references carefully and speak to references in person (see Park Slope Parent's advice on interviewing references here).


Who can help me with a background check?


1) The State of New York Office of Child and Family Services



2) New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)


The New York DMV offer what they call a "masked abstract."  A "masked abstract" provides you with any prior license or driving convictions, accidents, suspensions, or revocations.  However, to get a "masked abstract" you must get permissible use prior to obtaining.  To find out more information (and also to find out what you can and cannot obtain in a "masked abstract" visit the New York DMV online.

If you visit a DMV office, your request for the prospective employee’s driving record can be processed on the same day.

 PSP member experience: "I ended up running a background check through the DMV. There is a type of check called abstract history that pulls any auto violations as well as arrests etc. It's not as comprehensive as a history check done through the state but it's cheap and easy. You just need to have a notarized signed form  by the nanny agreeing to it."


3) Sex Offender Registry


A free search in available through the Division of Criminal Justice Services.


4) The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services


If you are seeking a criminal background check on a potential caregiver for your child, you can request a Caregiver Criminal History Record Search Request Form (DCJS-3249) and fingerprint card by writing to: New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Criminal History Record Search Unit 4 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203-3702 Or by calling: (518) 485-7675 or (518) 457-9847

Note that criminal history information obtained from DCJS pursuant to Kieran’s Law is confidential. Unauthorized disclosure or redisclosure of the information is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison.
Parents who obtain criminal history information from DCJS and employ ten or more persons in any capacity should be aware that Section 752 of the Correction Law may limit an individual’s authority to refuse to hire someone based upon a criminal conviction to those instances in which there is a direct relationship between the criminal conviction and the prospective employment.


5) New York Courts


You need to have the individual’s full Name and DOB. You can submit your search via OCA’s on-line application called Direct Access or you can complete the CHRS application form which can be downloaded from the NYS Courts website. Submit the application with a check or money order made out to the NYS Office of Court Administration. The search mechanism is based on finding an EXACT match of the actual name and date of birth of the individual searched. The individual's middle initial is not used as part of the search mechanism. Any variation of either the Name or DOB in the database is not considered a match and is not reported. Searches can also be requested for business entities.

5) Private Organizations

You can also pay a small fee to an organization who can run background checks for you:



Ultimately, if everything still checks out in black and white, and your gut is still hesitant - follow your instinct. While starting the search process all over again may seem like a hassle, you could end up saving yourself big time in the future.



Kieran’s Law, it can help you make an informed decision:

Kieran's Law PDF fact sheet:

 History of Kieran's Law:


Last updated October 2016


Disclaimer: This post has been written for educational purposes only by Park Slope Parents and is not meant to be legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice or be relied upon. The post may contain errors, inaccuracies and/or omissions. We recommend checking with a professional for specific advice.