The tragic murder of two young children in New York, which police say was allegedly at the hands of their nanny Yoselyn Orgeta, has shocked the nation and parents in particular. It also brings up a chilling question: Is it possible to screen a potential caregiver so thoroughly that you can be absolutely certain you’ve taken every conceivable measure to avoid something like this?
The answer, sadly, is no. In this case, Fox News reports, Ortega came highly recommended by another family, she had no criminal background, and no known mental health issues — although police have reported that Ortega’s family says she may have recently sought or thought about seeking mental health treatment.
According to reports, parents Marina Kim and her husband Kevin were apparently very careful in vetting and hiring Ortega. Friends said that they even spent nine days with Ortega's family in the Dominican Republic prior to hiring her.
It’s difficult to know whether the most thorough of background checks would have surfaced any red flags in this instance. An expert told Fox News that they recommend the following guidelines when vetting caregivers:
- Get a criminal background and mental health check from a reputable nanny agency. (An expert told The New York Daily News that you may also consider hiring a private investigator to do a thorough background check. Also, inform your potential nanny that you are running a background check. If they balk, walk away.)
- Seek recommendations from other parents you know and trust.
- Do thorough research of all references, and don't rely solely on references given to you by the nanny. Ask questions about character and judgement.
- Perform several in-person interviews.
As horrifying as it is, random acts of violence can happen anywhere, at any time. Take measures to protect your family every day, and if you have a nanny, thank her for providing a safe, loving home for your children.
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Source: The New York Times, Fox News, Fox News, ABC News, The New York Daily News