Our case of the week actually involves two different cases that we completed by conducting surveillance on nannies.
It is critical to the overall process that you have your nanny followed whether she is driving or is simply walking through your neighborhood with your child. Here are two common instances that we discovered last week.
In San Diego, our investigators followed a nanny from the client’s residence, where she was to pick up two children and bring them directly back to their home. Instead the nanny made two stops that would be unknown to the parents.
Her first stop was at a residence, later determined to be her boyfriend. She exited the vehicle and escorted the two children, ages four and six, into the home. She remained inside for thirty-eight minutes. We had no way of determining if the two children were being supervised by the nanny during the visit. More disturbingly, we had no information as to the character of the boyfriend. The parents were immediately notified of these events.
The nanny’s next stop was a local convenience store. She entered the store leaving the two children inside the vehicle. She was observed to purchase cigarettes and an energy drink. The nanny then exited the store and smoked a cigarette outside of the vehicle.
While the parents were both returning to their home to confront the nanny, they were advised of the second stop. They were told that it would be best to have one of our investigators confront the nanny upon her arrival at the residence. This keeps things civil and avoids unnecessary confrontation.
One of our investigators arrived at the residence before the nanny and the two children. Upon exiting the vehicle, she was immediately confronted by the investigator. They were shortly joined by the second investigator. Not surprisingly, the nanny initially denied making the two stops. The surveillance video was played for the nanny and her denials then fell on deaf ears.
We coordinated the firing of the nanny on the spot. She was advised a check for services rendered would be mailed to her and then she was escorted off the property. The two children were taken to their family physician where they fortunately received a clean bill of health.
The second case was in an upscale community in Orange County which is guarded and gated. The community has tremendous facilities for the residents including pools and two parks. It is very common for the nannies to take the children to these areas, be the preschool age children during the day or for the older children once they have returned home from school.
It has been our experience that most parents have no problem with nannies taking their children to these areas. The children can play with other children and the nannies can often engage with other nannies in the area. The latter is where problems can arise.
We have often seen where nannies too often engage in conversations with other adults and are not entirely attentive to the child or children in their immediate care. In this case, the nanny in question drove the one child to the pool area in her vehicle. There was no problem with that – as her driving record with the California Department of Motor Vehicles had been checked when our staff did her background investigation prior to her hire. Her record was clean, with no tickets or accidents.
This was a one-person surveillance, meaning our investigator had to make a tough decision. The nanny was observed to leave the child at the pool with, what appeared to be, another nanny. She entered her vehicle and departed the area. The investigator made the decision to follow the nanny while simultaneously calling both parents on their cells phones. The nanny was followed a short distance out of the community to a local shopping center. She first went to a Starbucks and obtained an unknown beverage. Later she was followed to a women’s clothing store where she spent the next fifty-eight minutes shopping.
During that timeframe a second investigator, who had been summoned from our Newport Beach corporate office, and the father both arrived at the pool area. The father located his child and took her from the second nanny.
The investigator following the nanny at the store confronted and advised that her services, based on her actions, were no longer needed. She advised a check would be sent to her residence for the work she had completed to date. As is all of these cases, when the nanny’s behavior is so outrageous in placing a child in danger, it is best not to have the parents personally confront or fire the nanny. Just tell your private investigator your wishes, and they can professionally end the working relationship for you.
In a previous post titled Nanny background checks: Worth it, I wrote about the process of selecting a nanny and (more importantly) using nanny agencies. The fairly straightforward tips and guidelines in that post will make the nanny selection process simpler and easier, but the key is not to stop there once your nanny is in place.
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