Setting the Record Straight About Pre-Screening

For the past week we have been discussing misleading advertising by some nanny web sites claiming that they pre-screen caregivers posted on their web sites.

Three more nanny web sites have answered our questions about “pre-screening” which we share with you below.

Shannon Pitts, CEO of InteliMark Enterprises explains, “ does pre-screen every candidate and family profile to ensure our quality standards are maintained and to be sure our terms of service are upheld which protects nannies and families alike.”

Mr. Pitts continues, “We also have a proprietary 30-point fraud prevention system that helps to identify and immediately block potential scammers, helping to make one of the safest online job matching sites for nannies and families.”

Perhaps “pre-screening” is defined differently by different nanny industry businesses. We liked Pat Cascio’s definition of pre-screening and that is what we referred to as pre-screening. Ms. Cascio, the owner of Morningside Nannies in Houston, Texas says that pre-screening nanny candidates includes finding out all information needed to make a great placement for the family and job seeker. Pre-screening nanny candidates requires the caregiver to complete an application for employment, be personally interviewed by nanny agency staff, and have all references verified to ensure the individual has professional childcare related work experience.

Ms. Cascio says, “[To pre-screen] nanny placement agencies must assess the nanny’s skills and ability to handle the job requirements before ever sending the job applicant on job interviews.”

After explaining Ms. Cascio’s definition of “pre-screening” to nanny web sites Mike Nagel of in Waltham, Massachusetts says that, “Safety is our top concern. has multiple review processes in place that all our care providers go through before we upload their profiles onto our web site.”

Mr. Nagel says, “Each caregiver’s profile is hand-reviewed by a team of moms who work from home — our ‘Mom Force.’ The Mom Force reviews profiles scanning for any red flags, scams, spammers, and other safety-related concerns. They also remove contact information, last names, and children’s names from the body of each profile. This is to ensure the safety of our members. Wherever possible, we also double-check their advertised certifications.”

“Our Mom Force not only reviews caregivers profiles, but they also review all job postings that appear on the web site. Job posts are, again, scanned for any red flags, fraud, scams, and so on. We do this to ensure not only the safety of our members searching for care but also those providing care, as well,” explains Mr. Nagel.

He continues, “We also offer our Premium Members the opportunity to request unlimited, free background check of caregivers, as well as the ability to listen to recorded references and read reviews from other members of the community.”

“While we take all of these precautions and all nanny profiles are mom-reviewed before we allow them on our site, your article has brought to our attention that some of our affiliate marketing partners are using the phrase ‘Pre-screened Nannies’ to describe our service. We will work with them to modify their descriptions of our service to be consistent with how we describe ourselves. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”

Mary Schwartz, Director, PR of says, “We do not screen the caregivers but rather give our care seekers the tools and information to screen and find the perfect match.”
Ms. Schwartz continues, “Our four-step screening process not only helps guide parents and care seekers through a thorough hiring process, it also helps our members keep safety at the forefront of each interaction.”

“In order to help care seekers track their progress, we provide an interactive checklist on each caregiver profile for care seekers to mark off as they complete each step. You can read more about the process and how we walk parents through the process on our web site,” says Ms. Schwartz.

Lora Brawley, nanny care consultant and nanny trainer of recommends parents always get involved in checking references of nanny job applicants even when using a nanny placement agency. “What I would say is that for families not to assume that just because they’re using a reputable placement agency that they’re getting a well screened caregiver, especially if the nanny has nanny experience. Many agencies barely scratch the surface when interviewing nannies about the type of care giving environment they provide. Most focus on what the nanny is willing to do so they can jump to the placement phase,” says Ms. Brawley.


  1. I think this series of blog entries are really important and I think it stresses the need of parents to be super dillegent anytime they hire household help.I think parents AND NANNIES should contact the better business bureau. They have a web site just google their name and see if the company is a member. Then you can see all the complaints made about the company before using them to find a nanny to hire (or family to work for).Ask your close friends who they used, because I understand some agencies are newer and have less experience, but you can try new agencies if your friends had a great experience with them.But if the nanny web site does not have a way to call them directly, list names of people to call re: questions and concerns, they should be avoided.

  2. I have had five nanny jobs in a span of about 20 years as a nanny. The 2 jobs I found from listings my resume on the Internet nanny websites no background check was ever conducted. They do take a long time to respond to customer service emails, if at all.After reading yesterday's article I never even thought to check a parent's background! Make perfect sense too since I wish I had known more about one of the families I worked for (bankruptcy had trouble with paying me on time, checks bouncing, and the so on).I would hate to leave my name and possibly expose the family in anyway.

  3. I really think that nanny web sites really need to make it as clear as possible on every page of their web sites that they do not do background checks, but that parents need to do it. What does "qualified" caregivers mean to On their other web site at the link here it says Qualified. How are they qualified? Experience, age, education? Or is it just that they have a verifiable email address and valid credit card? T.Montclair NJ

  4. There are still tons of ads for citinannies.comcare.comsittercity.comall over the internet using pre-screened. I do not beleive for a minute that they don't place the ads on third party sites and sittercity have the ads on craigslist. You have to put the ads there. Backpage too. Then when I google the terms these businesses come up. I understand the argument earlier that third party sites aren't authorized to advertise for the web sites they list. But, the words pre-screened are on craigslist and backpage. They place those ads on craigslist and backpage. Basiclally parents and nannies can contact Better Business Bureau and complain about the false advertising claims.Nanny Tracey, Atlanta

  5. If nannies are making comments about safety for parents then they have to accept that nanny cams are a part of life too. Nannies can't get defensive or offended if parents video tape them to protect themselves too.

  6. Some of the sites are too slick and shiny. Good marketing and lots of media attention but still have misleading wording in their ads. Some info on the sites still look misleading to me. Can greataupair provide the pre-screening process FOR NANNIES? I would be interested in learning what they actually do. Doesn't seem like he answered the question.Maria LopezMiami Florida

  7. Parents don't need a "Mom Force." I have plenty of moms that are friends and can help me out and read job applicant resumes with me. Parents need to conduct background checks. Calling a Mom Force pre-screening is just smoke and mirrors. A whole bunch of nothing when it comes to keeping children safe.Mommy Ellen in North Carolina

  8. I am a nanny of 10 yrs and know many great nannies and au pairs. What I have noticed is that the au pair companies are very involved in the placements of au pairs and families. The au pairs I have met are allowed to talk to the au pair agency staff constantly. They speak with customer service constantly. I find that nanny agencies have that same interaction with their placements.But, nanny web sites are the opposite. It is nearly impossible to get in touch with MOST (not all) nanny web site customer service or staff. I think with experience and complaints that improves. I know my former employers were able to speak with steve lampert of enannysource and staff of homework solutions so I think those are exceptions.Most of the newer nanny web sites have slick advertising and look good but lack the customer service and screening of au pair agencies and nanny referral agencies.Sandrea F. Newark NJ

  9. Great post!<3 Lindsay

  10. Thank you so much for this very important information. Although at first I thought it is doubtful that these businesses would intentionally mislead parents in their advertisements, I just looked at some myself and they definitely are intentionally using the word Pre-Screened. When using that word of one of five words then it is intentional. They cannot blame third party site directories since these directories found the term in their other advertising or on their web sites!I really think Better Business Bureau should hear about this.Shannon, Mother of 3Nanny Emplolyer

  11. I think Mr Pitt's quotes don't make sense. It is not he or his staff that are screening the nannies. It's misleading to claim that they prescreen. It's the Visa application that is doing screening and then the parents that are making the reference calls and deciding who fits in their family. I really they did nothing to help me or the parents find my current nanny job. They absolutely did not prescreen me, the parents had to do all the work.Sally, Essex County NJ

  12. I found this online:You can use the search services to check out your baby sitter, nanny, au pair, day care center and staff, and even school teachers and workers. You can use it to search geographically and find out if known sex offenders live near you. It’s now possible to determine exactly where they live.When You Choose a Criminal Background Search Service, Here’s What to Look ForTo help you find the best possible service for criminal background checking, here are the things I’ve found important to consider during a review:1. Free versus Paid I’ve been disappointed by the free services. Better to pay the small fee and get quality information you can trust. Many of the better services have special offers of multi-year memberships for a low one-time fee. The cost can be less than what you’d pay for a low-priced blouse or golf shirt. 2. SpeedYou want a service that responds quickly and gives you exactly the information you need. Make sure you try it out. Check both speed and accuracy!3. Proprietary DatabaseIf a service compiles their own database, it’s a sign they’re more likely to be in the business for the long term. That’s because a proprietary database is costly to build and maintain. A company wouldn’t invest if they didn’t expect to stay in business. From a usability standpoint, a dedicated database is better too. You get a single interface that you can quickly learn.(One note: I’ve never seen a free service that has its own database. Most of the free services I’ve checked out are really just link farms – they just point you at some public or government database. You could get that from the general search engines.)4. Training and SupportBe sure you can easily learn to use any service you choose. Actually, you’ll find that the better services are pretty intuitive: you’ll know what to do just by looking at it. But better services will also provide extra, in-depth searching. If you ever need the extra, it might require you dig into it a bit before you can fully use it. Just make sure your service has easy, accessible ways to learn, like tutorials. And don’t ignore support. Sooner or later you’ll have questions or there will be something you need help to get resolved. The best services offer free, live support with a phone number or live chat where you can talk directly with a person.Final WordIt’s a threatening world but fortunately, you can use modern technology to better protect your children. Like the experts recommend, sign up for Criminal Background Checking service and use it regularly.Visit National Alert Registry

  13. is aggressively advertising as I inquired about using the service and now receive 2or 3 emails at least a week, asking me to become a member. Their latest campaign is called Care on Call, to try to get parents to use their Caregivers at the last minute, which does not allow for time to do any checking other than reading reviews.Were you able to get information on exactly what kind of backgroundchecking they either say is "free" with membership or the charge $9.97for?If it is the National Criminal Background Check, then it is freeon the web for anyone. The National Sex Offenders Registry is also free on line. When we tried our people with known criminalbackgrounds and they came up as having clear criminal records.

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