Mandated Reporter or Tattle Tale?

Have You Ever Reported Unethical Behavior of Another Caregiver?

We all know that as nannies, we are Mandated Reporters and are required to report neglect and/or abuse of children, as should every adult over the age of 18. From a distance we all want to protect children and say we would report suspected neglect or abuse of children to the proper authorities but in reality it’s difficult to be the one who starts the process that may separate a parent and a child.

But, there are also many other ethical issues nannies and au pairs experience everyday.  Should we intrude in situations when behavior is unethical or inappropriate but does not directly impact a child?

Ask yourself what you would do in these real situations shared with us from other nannies.

Scenario 1: Abusive Nanny
A nanny and her charge saw a playmate at the playground. The toddler had a new nanny that she had met before, but didn’t know well. As the toddler friend tried to climb a toy she whined a little bit, as toddlers do when they are having trouble climbing. The new nanny grabbed the young child with great force and the nanny yelled at the child so loudly that everyone at the playground stopped what they were doing and looked over to see what was happening. The nanny’s angry reaction towards the child was completely inappropriate and unnecessary, although not necessarily criminal. What would you do? Would you call the former nanny that was your friend or the parents of the child after you saw her being yelled at inappropriately? In this situation would you call the parents, teacher, doctor, or police?

Scenario 2: Stealing Nanny
A live-out nanny complained about her job to an au pair. The au pair suggested the nanny leave the job and find another job she might like better. The live-out nanny confided that she buys her own groceries on her employer’s credit card. The au pair asked if her employer said that was okay to do that. The nanny answered, “She never looks at the receipts. I just throw them out. I feed my family this way. I can’t leave this job when I can feed my family on her credit card.”

Au Pairs live-in their employer’s home as part of a cultural exchange program. Live-in nannies are also expected and allowed to eat with the family that employs them. Most live-out nannies are invited and expected to eat meals with the children while they are working caring for them. What would you do? Tell the parents that employ the nanny that she’s been stealing from them or the police?

Scenario 3: Uncaring Nanny
Most parents and caregivers that attend Mommy and Me classes participate in the class when expected. But a nanny refuses to join in a class and texts during the class entire class instead. The bad attitude of the new nanny is discussed by all the other mothers and nannies after class as inappropriate and they all want to say something to teacher or parents about the non-caring nanny. What would you do? Do you say something to the teacher about the attitude of the nanny? Do you tell the parents about her bad attitude?

Scenario 4: Stalking Ex-Husband
The divorced father of the children has a restraining order to not come on the property of his estranged wife and their children. Everyone has told the nanny to not get involved with the parents‘ divorce. The nanny does her best to remain neutral. The nanny sees the father sitting in his car in front of the house in the street making the nanny uncomfortable. The nanny doesn’t leave the house with the kids fearing a confrontation. What would you do? Would you call the mother to tell her you feel as if the father is stalking the house? Or, do you call the police?


  1. I would definitely report scenario two and four. Scenarios one and three I'd wait to see if it continues. Somethings are not ok ever and somethings could just be a bad day for the nanny.

  2. I would report 1, 2, 4 because they are not only immoral but bordering on criminal.

  3. I find it interesting how many nannies say they will report abuse and neglect. Yet the responses from this FB page were not to tell parents if the nanny said she was stealing from them!I'm really upset to think anyone wouldn't report a crime! I feel we should put ourselves in the parents shoes and wouldn't you want to know if someone was stealing from you?? Does not sharing the crime to the parents or to the police make you an assecory to the crime?

  4. After so many years I think it's best to try to stay out of others peoples business as best you can. But when it comes to children we must say something even if you risk losing friends or jobs.

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