AUSTIN (KXAN) - Nanny Poppinz is a national nanny referral service with a local franchise here in Austin, called Nanny Poppinz of Austin Central Texas and it promises the most thorough background checks in the industry.
But in one case those checks missed and a Central Texas mother claims the nanny sent to her to care for her 20-month-old son actually put him in danger.
Naijean Bernard-Onwere’s son, Donel, is a curious and active toddler. And that means he requires constant adult supervision. So when Naijean needed a temporary nanny, she says went with a professional agency, just to be safe.
“Going through an agency like Nanny Poppinz that does extensive background checks would be the best option for my son,” said Naijean.
Naijean called the Austin franchise of Nanny Poppinz. She had used them before and liked the fact that they promised "the most thorough and sophisticated Nanny background check in the industry.” But Naijean told KXAN that she feels their background check on one nanny turned out to be worthless.
“I had to have her arrested because she was drunk and under the influence of other things, other substances while she was caring for my son,” Naijean says.
Background checks for a fee
- Parents can use fee-based services available such as PublicData.com and LexisNexis . However, researchers may want to go to verify the information found through court records or speaking to law enforcement.
Naijean says she left Donel in the care of Jana Bonds at 3:45 p.m. on Jan. 22. When she came home at at 10:22 p.m. Naijean says she found Bonds passed out on the floor upstairs and Donel was on the hardwood floor. She says the baby gate at the top of the stairs was wide open.
Naijean and Taylor Police say Bonds had helped herself to bottles of rum in the house. The police report shows that officers observed Bonds “to be unsteady on her feet, have slurred speech, and have difficulty in responding to simple questions.”
The report also shows Bonds “had a detectable amount of an alcoholic beverage emitting from her person” and she “showed signs that she was intoxicated by the introduction of an alcoholic beverage and possibly narcotics.”
Capt. Don Georgens of the Taylor Police department told KXAN Bonds was “incoherent and apparently intoxicated.”
Georgens also says officers found Bonds in possession of hydrocodone. “Those pills along with the alcohol (could be a) very fatal mixture,” said Captain Georgens.
Taylor Police arrested Jana Bonds and she was booked in the Williamson County Jail on charges of endangering a child and possession of a controlled substance. Georgens says Bonds was so intoxicated she was “incapable of taking care of herself, no less a 20-month-old child.”
Efforts to contact Bonds were not successful.
Passed company's background check
The owner of Nanny Poppinz in Austin, Amber Mayhew, told KXAN that Bonds passed the local agency's background check.
“On her background check that I have there’s no criminal felonies or anything,” Mayhew said.
But KXAN performed a cursory background check and within minutes found that Bonds had twice been charged with driving while intoxicated. Bonds was convicted of a 2009 DWI here in Travis County and there's an active warrant for her arrest stemming from a 2001 DWI charge in Oklahoma.
“Does it worry you that your background check is not very good?” KXAN asked Mayhew.
She replied: “Possibly. Yes.”
KXAN digs deeper
Checking further into Bonds’ background, KXAN talked to law enforcement officials and found police and court records revealing a criminal history involving alcohol and drugs that goes back nearly 20 years.
Records show that Bonds pleaded guilty to charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, and two DWI’s, all in Oklahoma in the mid-late 1990s. In 2001 she was arrested a third time on a DWI charge in Oklahoma, for which Oklahoma county officials confirm there is still an active warrant for her arrest.
Court records show that Bonds was arrested a fourth time for DWI in here in Austin, yet she was only charged with DWI-2nd. She pleaded guilty and received probation. Court records in that case also show Bonds committed numerous probation violations, including failure complete DWI counseling and testing positive for cocaine. Last year, she was arrested twice for public intoxication. Her probation was revoked in March of 2012. Bonds was then convicted in the DWI-2nd case and she did 45 days in jail.
“If you can prove to me that she's been convicted of these things and it’s a gap in my background check then absolutely, I would love to find out where the flaw is and figure out a better way,” Mayhew told KXAN.
A few days after making that statement in her on-camera interview, Amber Mayhew sent KXAN an email saying she has added several other services to her background checking system, and realized she missed Bonds' criminal history.
She says she has also rechecked the background