Palm Beach Angels Healthy Aging & Home Care Blog


Background Check for Caregivers in Palm BeachOlder adults, especially those with dementia, are vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and neglect. They are less likely to notice and less able to report misconduct. If you leave your loved one alone with a caregiver, you want to make sure that the person does not have a criminal history. 

Nearly 5,000 older adults were victims of crime in Palm Beach County alone last year. Florida’s Adult Protective Services receives almost 300 calls per month for elder abuse and exploitation. Whether you employ a private caregiver directly for home care or companionship services, or chose to use a home care agency, it is critical that the caregiver is screened through a comprehensive criminal background check. Too often, this is either not done at all or the screening procedure used is inadequate. 

Florida requires all caregivers working through an agency to complete a Level 2 Background Screening. No background screening requirements currently apply to private care-givers hired directly by an individual or a family. Palm Beach County now requires all caregivers to be licensed and to complete a criminal background check similar to the state requirement, which is helpful but flawed.  The state’s system does provide some measure of protection. Unfortunately, the system is far from perfect and misses important databases that may reveal past criminal behavior.

Many home care companies rely exclusively on Florida’s Level 2 screening process to screen their caregivers. Florida’s screening process relies on the FBI fingerprint database which was intended to store investigative leads for law enforcement — not as a background screening tool. It is plagued by inconsistencies and gaps. According to the Department of Justice, the FBI database is missing important information for about 50% of its records. Some misdemeanor and relatively recent criminal misconduct may not show up in the state screening system. The state screening process is not designed to pick up criminal conduct recorded at the county level or in the Federal District Court databases.

The more reliable screening process is a nationwide search that cross-checks verified Social Security numbers with names, and determines each county in which the applicant lived in the past seven years. Criminal records are then checked in each relevant county and Federal District Court database. It is prudent to screen caregivers through the Department of Motor Vehicles databases, which may reveal DUI convictions and other reckless or negligent behavior.

At Visiting Angels of the Palm Beaches we use more rigorous procedures that go above and beyond the standard state FBI screening, like the federal criminal background check. Our home care agency also screens HHAs and CNAs for skills, education and experience, and is audited on a regular basis for compliance to state rules and regulations for your peace of mind.  

Entrusting the welfare of your loved one to a caregiver or companion in the Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, or Jupiter area is serious business. Don’t cut corners in order to save money, you need to protect your family and loved one against fraud and abuse. At the end of the day, using a home care agency can you save you time, money and heartaches.

If you still wish to directly employ a private caregiver, order a comprehensive back-ground check yourself. There are several companies that perform these more comprehensive screenings. I recommend checking with the Association of Professional Background Screeners at for a list of companies that meet their accreditation standards. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 561-328-7611 or

Till Next Time!

Irv Seldin, JD, Owner and CEO of Visiting Angels of the Palm Beaches.

Article not intended as medical, financial or legal advice

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.