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GOING BEYOND PUBLIC RECORDS CHECKS

Five children sitting on a bench

It is of value and some relevance to revisit the previously addressed difference between Screenings and Background Investigations in our 2018 August posting, “A NANNY BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION OR SCREENING?”. Emphasis was made qualifying the difference between an Investigation and a Screening noting an Investigation as a formal systematic inspection and methodical inquiry and examination or research to assess suitability for a particular use or purpose, versus a Screening which is a superficial part of that process.

A Screening routinely provides a superficial but detailed compilation of information from public records data bases on and relating to the queried target. The Background Investigation not only provides that, but entails additional information derived from the systematic inspection of that retrieved information as well as interviews of sources of information (SOI) including but not limited to referrals and recommendations and individuals uncovered from the review of that developed information.

Screenings entailing compiled public record checks traditionally include tax appraisal information such as property information as well as neighbor associations, criminal records, sexual offender registries, civil records, credit information (liens or judgments) and motor vehicle information all to varying degrees.

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First and foremost, public record data checks have tremendous usefulness and are excellent starting points in many investigations. Contingent on the type of investigation, they may be used to widen and broaden the scope of initial scrutiny. If the investigation requires more discreet discerning scrutiny, usually asking the applicant, candidate or the investigated for several business recommendation type references after obtaining the information through retrieval of public records is one of the easier and simplest way-to-go methods in developing viable and pursuable lead information. Professional background investigators realize not many business references voluntarily provided will be negative. The experienced investigator is keenly adept at interviewing and assessing these references.

Prior discussion with your investigator or investigation services is essential to aptly and economically convey what core skill sets and values are primarily being sought or are of higher value as certain employment positions require a higher level of skills, licenses, certifications, ethics and trustworthiness etc. Further, certain subjective values and principles necessary to certain positions that often must be shared in common with employers such as fairness, respect, responsibility, integrity, compassion, trustworthiness etc. are not found in any data bases and often, can only be evaluated by a skilled interviewer.

There are monthly, if not weekly,  numerous examples nationwide of unscrupulous, immoral and unprincipled circumstances of Nannys, Babysitters and Au Pairs who have committed transgressions against children or the aged. Often many of these caregivers have escaped in some way, scrutiny of their past. At times public record checks have been made, references have failed to have been verified or checked or even updated as it should be highlighted, people change. One of the more egregious examples of a terrible tragedy was a New York City incident within the last several years resulting in the murder of  two upper west side children by a nanny who misled a couple by a ginned-up reference letter written by the baby-sitter’s niece.

To re-emphasize, REGIUS is of the opinion that THERE SHOULD ALWAYS BE some type of initial Background Investigation conducted, even if it’s a minimal one. References must always be checked with some type of interview. You cannot be careless with trust especially when it involves your children or an elder relative. You don’t want that untrustworthy, inexperienced or unprofessional Caregiver that might get distracted or unfocused when they’re not supposed to be.

Professional investigative services are often more affordable than grasped and the value certainly unrealized.

Can you take THAT CHANCE???

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INCREASING SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS FOR CAREGIVERS

A man at the edge of a bridge, holding onto railings

National Suicide Prevention Week, this year from Sunday September 8, to Saturday September 14, 2019 is an annual week-long campaign in the United States to inform and engage health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and warning signs of suicide.

It’s difficult to NOT become aware of any suicide incidents within recent years either of personal knowledge or that has not been highlighted in media accounts.  As REGIUS Inc. will always attempt to promote safety and security methods in as many avenues that could be helpful, increasing or at the least, reinforcing, suicide prevention awareness for all and especially caregivers who guard our gems seems like “No-brainer”.

According to the CDC suicide deaths in adolescents ages 13 to 19 years continue to rise as a leading cause of death.

We, as parents and our CAREGIVERS including but not limited to Nannys, Au Pairs and baby sitters must recognize the possible and potential Risk factors. These factors often include:

Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves;
Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live;
Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain;
Talking about being a burden to others;
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs;
Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly;
Sleeping too little or too much;
Withdrawing or isolating themselves;
Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge;
Exhibiting extreme mood swings.

Additionally, there may be a history of mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
such as

Alcohol and other substance use disorders;
Hopelessness;
Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies;
History of trauma or abuse;
Major physical illnesses;
Previous suicide attempt(s) or a family history of suicide.

These risk factors by no means are necessarily singular or all inclusive and if you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 1-800-273-8255

The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

 

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NATIONAL GUN VIOLENCE AWARENESS DAY

An orange ribbon

JUNE  7, 2019

IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU SHOULD HAVE — HOW COULD YOU NOT?

          THEY ARE NOT JUST NAMES

Wear Orange today!

As the greatest country in the world, let’s  implore our elected officials to:

It’s a complex multi-dimensional problem but our future safety and security as  a society demand it.

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Ride-Sharing: Understanding Possible Dangers

A smartphone with the Rideshare app open

As “Ride-Sharing” services expand and more people utilize their services that include but are not limited to young adults, caregivers with the elderly and or children, it is imperative to understand certain dangers that may be inherent with their use.

REGIUS often collaborates with other security and law enforcement professionals. One of its stronger strategic alliances is with Steve Kardian, author of The New Super Power For Women and  business owner of “Jane Jitsu” that specializes  in women’s self-defense. Steve is a 30-year law enforcement veteran and safety expert often called upon by the national media for his view points. In September of 2018, USA Today Magazine published an article he wrote and that he has again provided for further distribution and education. It has been partially edited (case studies removed) for brevity:

“An In-Depth Look at Ride-Share Applications and What to Do if Things Go Wrong”

Beth (not her real name), a 77-year old grandmother of four, called an Uber to take her home after attending Sunday morning church services near Dallas, Texas on October 22, 2017. The suspect, Hashem Ramezanpour, 41, abruptly pulled over minutes away from her Fort Worth home and sexually assaulted her in a wooded area. Afterwards, he drove her the rest of the way without saying a word.

According to online records, he surrendered to police officers and has been charged with aggravated sexual assault on an elderly/disabled person. He is being held on $100,000 bail. Beth has filed a lawsuit seeking more than one million in damages against San Francisco-based Uber and the suspect.

As the popularity of ride-share companies continues to increase, so do criticisms about the safety of using them as an alternative to taxi and limousine services. They have garnered the attention of the media and the public, in addition to that of trade and safety organizations. Some celebrities are speaking out as well.

Earlier this year, Pamela Anderson partnered with Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE), a non-profit organization that works to prevent sexual assault and Continue reading Ride-Sharing: Understanding Possible Dangers

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INTRODUCING SITUATIONAL AWARENESS TO CHILDREN

An awareness level meter designed as a vehicle speed meter

At the risk of under-addressing the topic, the purpose of this article is to introduce an important safety aspect to your children that they may practice with and without your presence as well as with your care givers including a baby sitter, nanny or Au-pair. It is an attribute and necessity at the basic level of emergency preparedness and it’s called Situational Awareness (“SA”).

“SA” may be practiced in varying stages of your life’s chapters. Its focus and terminology has been brought to the forefront through military usage but practiced domestically through the law enforcement, safety and security professions for decades. Plainly and as basically a definition; it’s the ability to perceive and analyze your surroundings based on your knowledge and experience and to make a decision or judgement of those elements and the projection of their future progression. “SA” is not just street smarts and not just for the streets. It can and is used in almost every facet of life and a critical attribute often overlooked and taken for granted. It is certainly not practiced or trained enough.

“SA” training for children is often begun without the concept’s formal title or in fact, its realization ever beginning. However, today’s current socio and economic climate almost mandate and warrant parents be more cognizant of the pitfalls of past parenting errors and make every effort in embracing positive parenting by taking  a more deliberate role in teaching “SA”.

The main purpose for providing your child “SA” is protection. That protection of course begins at home with you. Your positive behavior is ALWAYS the baseline. When your child is not with you, they use that baseline as a guide. What I mean by that is the baseline is your child’s reference point. The baseline is what is normal (because you have told them WHAT IS NOT NORMAL). They can compare other behavior to the baseline and what normal should be. That way when they are with a caregiver or someone else, they know what “should” happen and what is acceptable. Abnormalities of behavior must be explained to children in teaching so that anomalies later in life are apparent to them.

Clearly, there could be an infinite number of many situational “what if” scenarios, but this is only an aspect of “SA” preparedness. It is a skill like all others that must be practiced and utilized for success. It may be facilitated for the benefit of children in a “what if” game format scenario with necessary revisions mindful of your child’s ever evolving development. To further describe the “what if” context, consider a little league coach attempting to teach a child some fundamentals of infield baseball. By asking a child “what they would do if when playing second base with one out, a man on second no one on first and a ground ball hit to them what would they do?” Then, “What would they do if they were paying shortstop?” These “what if” scenarios of course have adaptable real life implications and can be continuously modified. As a parent you must provide your direction and insight with positive reinforcement in their problem solving capability. Repetition is paramount. To emphasize, in every scenario practiced with your child, the negative behavior unwanted, should be clearly distinguished and plainly discussed with your child.

You must thoroughly involve your child in other “SA” aspects that include but are not limited to residential scenarios and circumstances not under familiar settings. These include retail outlets, public gatherings, outside recreational activities etc.

How do you teach children to be more aware? Simply by starting games like “Did you notice?” Ask questions about their surroundings and making a game of it. Ask about people, the location of exits, displays, and what was going on in stores you were in. Practice more “what if” scenarios. Tell them what they should do if they ever become separated in a public area. Help your children identify physical characteristic of people like hair and eye color, tall or short etc. This will help them be able to identify and describe someone should they ever have to. Many schools are already proactive in this area due to mass casualty event training. Parents can be just as proactive with advanced and continuous “SA” training.

Further, as a parent it is also important to consider the “SA” skills of your caregiver and those considerations must be discussed in detail and periodically revisited to ensure the caregiver maintains proficiency.

For a good comprehensive book surrounding the situational mindset read Steve Kardian’s, “The New Super Power for Women” (https://www.amazon.com/New-Superpower-Women-Situations-Unthinkable/dp/B074CK3HWS )and don’t let the title fool you! Its contents are adaptable for all.

One of his briefer YOUTUBE videos brings that message to the point:        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Lg4CknIZ8U

For those who like blogs and shorter articles with great pointers, check out: https://prettyloaded.org/category/situational-awareness-parents/

 

 

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A NANNY BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION OR SCREENING?

A man on the phone writing on a pad with children’s blocks around him

The preliminary and initial interview for your prospective Nanny or Au Pair is one of the pillars of the foundation of your future arrangement with whom you will entrust your most precious jewels. This and secondary interviews will establish the framework for expectations and guidance for acceptable operational standards and protocols within your family structure. It may also determine whether or not you utilize a Background Investigation or a Screening Service for your needs.

Many parents new to questioning aspects, tactics, techniques and etiquette when first entering this new realm may ask themselves, “What questions can I or should I even ask?” “Should I have a Nanny Background Investigation done?”, “Or a Screening check completed or simply ask questions myself?” The answer to all of these questions is, YES, YES and YES!!

There are many competent sites and blogs with tips on what questions to ask during an initial interview including tone and style. There are way too many questions to itemize or detail to list here or anywhere else for that matter. Of course there are initial basic questions you should cover, but from there, the multitude of questions may vary and always become contingent upon a particular response. Follow-up questions can be always addressed in secondary and tertiary interviews if your hiring process with that prospective Nanny or Au Pair continues. Some examples of initial basic but primary questions are detailed at:

https://nanny.com/nanny/
https://www.care.com/c/stories/10348/how-to-interview-a-nanny-questions-checklist/
https://www.sittercity.com/parents/find-child-care/babysitter-interview-checklist

In scheduling your first personal interview, it’s recommended the initial meeting always be located in a neutral place, preferably public to capitalize on the safety aspect for all involved parties (you as well as the prospective Nanny or Au Pair). If it’s not possible to have someone accompany you on the initial meeting, follow these guidelines for setting up and scheduling your first meet and greet. Also remember that your child or children should not be present until your prospective Nanny or Au Pair has been minimally vetted and you are comfortable with their qualifications, demeanor and suitability. Setting up scheduling should be accomplished telephonically to allow that “first gauging” of feeling each other out. Trust your gut and intuition. If anything makes you uncomfortable during that first call, cancel the appointment. It’s not worth risking your safety.

Your questions for the initial meeting should already be prepared; general at first, and then to the point with specificity. The meeting can last for moderate duration if needed, but it should be made clear that this is only the first of at least several interviews that will be conducted and probably not just by yourself EVEN, if that is to be the case. Be polite with a relaxed state of mind and be as observant as possible. Make mental notes of the individual’s demeanor, articulation and the response time to your questions. Is eye contact maintained? Is the body upright and open? You should be able to gauge if your prospective Nanny is experienced and be willing for further scrutiny both at your personal level and at a professional level with a potential background investigation. When leaving, a second interview should be scheduled as a follow-up. As safety for all parties is of always paramount importance, the location and time of any public meeting should always be shared with other family members and they should be contacted as soon as the meeting is over and once you have safely returned.

Finally, before departing if not already done so, collect a list of the prospective Nanny or Au Pair’s basic pedigree information you or your professional service will need to begin at least a basic screening process. Make sure you are provided not only with some recommendations or referrals but with some information that can be corroborated such as the last employer, education and professional licenses if any. Pedigree information includes at least a person’s full name, date of birth, social security number, residential address, place of birth, parents name and telephone number. The next meeting should be set for a business location such as an office.

A current, short article of  value,”How to Find A Baby Sitter”by Cristin Howard in Smart Parent Advice  may be found here https://smartparentadvice.com/find-a-babysitter/

A book, Secrets of the NANNY WHISPERER, first edition 2015 by Tammy Gold is “A Practical Guide For Finding and Achieving the Gold Standard of Care for Your Child” and is an encyclopedia of knowledge in this regard.

To qualify the difference between an Investigation and a Screening as it relates to a Background Investigation versus a Screening service; an Investigation is a formal systematic inspection and methodical inquiry and examination or research to assess suitability for a particular use or purpose, versus a Screening which is a superficial part of that process. Screening services routinely provide a superficial but detailed compilation of information from public records data bases on and relating to the queried target. The Background Investigation not only provides that, but entails additional information derived from the systematic inspection of that retrieved information as well as interviews of sources of information (SOI) including but not limited to referrals and recommendations and individuals uncovered from the review of that developed information.

There are considerations in making a decision to do a Background Investigation versus just utilizing a Screening service for a Nanny. How do you make that decision and what is right for you and your family? If you have never used a particular Nanny or Au Pair before, we are of the opinion that THERE SHOULD ALWAYS BE some type of initial Background Investigation conducted, even if it’s a minimal one. References must always be checked with some type of interview. You cannot be careless with trust especially when it involves your children. You don’t want that untrustworthy, inexperienced or unprofessional Nanny, Au Pair or even a Baby Sitter for that matter that might get distracted or unfocused when they’re not supposed to be.

“FB & IG blowin up 2day”

Further, when you have a Background Investigation conducted, you get the resources that come with a professional service that you don’t get access to with a Screening service. Those resources could be as complex as links through foreign affiliates or as simple and subtle as information retrieved from an applicant’s home visit. Clients are provided with a thorough investigation complete with that information they would have received with a Screening but, with interviews and follow-ups. Of course, these interviews don’t include your own which you should always conduct.

Many parents feel they know what questions they want to ask and what questions they want answered. There is an art to interviews and interrogations. Both are different, both are conducted differently and seasoned interviewers and interrogators will tell you that there are subtle methods that are employed in both methodologies that allow the questioner a perspective to capitalize on their tradecraft that ultimately benefit the clients. Not only do Background Investigations provide you the additional benefit of professional interviews of your Nanny’s or Au Pair’s referrals and recommendations but some security services may even provide further insight of their findings based on their experience conducting and evaluating similar investigations. This perspective enables you, the client, even greater capability in making hiring assessments. Screening services are usually deficient in this regard. Professional investigative services are often more affordable than grasped and the value certainly unrealized.

If a Nanny or Au Pair has been employed before and can provide results of a background check preferably within the past year of the initial interview, usually a screening from a service may suffice. Depending on what service you utilize and the information requested, the client is left to pursue and question all unexplored or unanswered avenues. Often, retrieved results may be difficult to interpret to the inexperienced viewer and the next steps may be uncertain. Having experience interpreting those types of results is imperative.

From a professional investigator’s strategic mindset, a practical approach to focusing the selection process may be viewed in increments:

1. Establishing a prioritized list of candidates (up to 5) based on
preferential qualitative characteristics you deem necessary (first)
and then preferable or desirable;

2. Telephonically interview these individuals and rank them in an order
based on their responses. Set up an initial personal interview with
each individual. Realize any interview can always be cancelled later
(if necessary).

3. After all interviews are scheduled, re-prioritize your list based on
their telephonic responses and your intuition of the calls. You can
continue meeting with all candidates or you may at least want to
reschedule if not cancel, the last two in your re-prioritized list.
Continue with the personal interview process mindful of the prior
considerations in this article;

4. A Background Investigation or Screening for all applicants is not
necessary unless you’re financially viable and is not practical until
immediate consideration of the individual is at hand or forewarned.
Utilizing Background Investigations and Screening services towards the
end of your focused searches and prioritized lists during the process
is more practical, ordered and certainly economic.

 

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BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS FOR BUSINESS

A business meeting with six employees around a table

There was an excellent article from
https://chiefexecutive.net/when-entrepreneurs-are-devastated-by-fraud/ written by J.P. Donlon conveying and emphasizing the importance of due diligence in making the right hiring decision and the necessity of a basic background investigation for any employee who will be handling cash. The article is a short and must read for small business startups and entrepreneurs. Its importance is not necessarily just for those employers whose employees will be handlIng cash, but for any employer whose employees will be placed in a position of responsibility for individual care, safety or well-being; the holding of public trust, or any position where significant liability to the employer attaches.

Small businesses have learned and are learning what established organizations and most civil servant (city state, and Federal) agencies have learned through trial and error and have already put in place to safeguard their business organizations; internal and already long operationalized redundant types of audit systems with employee conduct oversight are well practiced and continually developed. These internal audit managements are devised primarily to ensure accountability, transparency and levels of brand quality as well as organizational distinction at all levels. Mid-level size businesses have also begun a new era of periodic post-employment employee checks to ensure their employees maintain a level consistent with the company profile and expectations. See Michael Sasso and Jeff Green’s recent article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-11/your-boss-is-watching-the-new-era-of-rolling-background-checks.

As an employer, if in doubt of having or considering the need for a pre or post- employment background investigation, many security companies provide free initial consults. These consults often reveal that investigations or screenings are not as time consuming, awkward or costly as some employers imagine and often very beneficial. The extent of a background is always contingent on the employer and the potential liability from actions of the prospective employee must always be weighed.