Safe Help In Your Home

Step One: Gathering Documentation

I want to hire in-home help
I provide in-home help
I work for an agency that places workers in clients' homes
About Us
Contact Us
You’ll want:
• A resume
• A list of references
• A credit check
• A DMV clearance
• A fingerprint clearance

List your education and credentials in reverse chronological order.
List your work experience in reverse chronological order. Be prepared to explain gaps. Don’t try to hide or disguise anything.


Contact the people you’d like to use as references and ask permission to give their names and phone numbers to prospective employers. Let them know the sort of work you are seeking and ask if they’ll be comfortable describing your capabilities for those duties. Ask them to be honest with you about what they’ll say—it won’t help you to give potential employers references who have reservations about your skills.

Prepare a list of at least three amenable references to append to your resume. For each, provide the reference’s name, contact information, how long and in what capacity you’ve known the reference.

Credit Check

Get a credit check. It’s free once a year through Be prepared to explain problematic entries. Be honest about debts—people earning $25,000 (or less!) per year are likely to have some debts, and perhaps high balances on a couple of credit cards. But, you can still be financially responsible. Are your payments made monthly? Is anything in arrears? Have any accounts been sent to collection agencies? Is your car loan about the same as your annual income?

DMV Clearance

The DMV will give you a printout of your driving history for a nominal fee. In some jurisdictions, you can do this on line, in others you have to go to the DMV’s office and wait in line. A clean DMV clearance shows prospective employers that you drive safely and responsibly.

Fingerprint Clearance

Childcare agencies routinely fingerprint and screen applicants to ensure that the people they hire don’t have documented histories of child abuse or neglect or of criminal behavior. Standards for work with seniors are unfortunately more lax and agencies rarely fingerprint. You can show the high standard of care you offer by screening yourself and making your clearances available to prospective employers. You can demonstrate honesty and responsibility by providing documentation of fingerprint clearances from these data bases:
• sex offender registries,
• the child abuse and neglect index, and
• other criminal data bases.

These screens are important because they allow you to show that you do not pose a danger to clients.

Find out how you can obtain a fingerprint clearance in your county. Usually, you pay a nominal fee (about $15) to the DMV or police or sheriff’s department to be fingerprinted and then an agency is charged about $85-100 for the state Department of Justice to run the prints against existing prints in their child abuse and criminal data bases. Call your county’s child care referral agency to see if there is a “warm line” or “trust line” in your area that lets people fingerprint themselves so they can show their clearance to families considering using their services. There are also companies that will screen and check references; your local senior center and child care referral agency should be able to steer you to them.

See what information is available from your county’s Adult Protective Services office. Read your state’s information on reporting elder abuse and neglect. Review a copy of your state’s elder abuse reporting form. Add a sentence to your resume saying you are familiar with state law and local resources pertaining to elders and their safety.

Step Two: Am I an employee or an independent contractor?