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01-03-2013 11:16 AM
janene1024 I am so glad I came across this post. I have to write a letter to a parent today who is refusing to pay because she does not feel she has to pay since I was closed for NEW YEARS day. I honestly dont beleive they read their contracts.



Quote:
Originally Posted by kpa0627 View Post
December 13, 2010
To :

This letter will serve as notice of termination of care for ****** ***xx for the following reason/s:
Parent disagreements with Provider's policies stated in the Parent Handbook given at start of care.
The last day of care will be December 24th, 2010
OR
Termination is effective immediately if you choose.
I wish you and your family well.

Sincerely,
***xx ******x
12-18-2010 03:38 PM
nannyde
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCopeland View Post
If you are terminating because of your own medical issue I would still not put the reason in writing. You would tell the parent verbally what is going on (without sacrificing more of your own privacy than you want).

The basic reason for not putting reasons in writing is that it won't help you and it can hurt you. I do believe that parents may still be insulted or make complaints whether or not you put reasons in writing, but when you put it in writing it's out there for the parent to stew over and show to others (including licensing).

I haven't heard of licensing giving providers a hard time because they didn't put reasons in writing. You can keep your own written records of your reasons without sharing it with parents.

I haven't heard of parents filing discrimination cases against providers. I'm just trying to reduce the incidents of complaints and parent anger which can be even more incited when something is in writing.

I'm all for working with parents to make things work out - talking, negotiating, sharing your reasons verbally for what needs to change, etc. In the end, after you have made your decision to terminate, it's best (in my opinion) not to spell things out. The time for communication and explanation is over.

Some providers feel driven to explain their reasons for what they do in the hopes that the parent will understand and agree with them. You don't have to justify everything you do. Some parents will never agree with you and no amount of explaining will help the situation.
Thanks for answering my questions Tom. I've done hundreds of hours searching the ADA and home child care and I can't find a single thing. I think they solve a lot just over the phone. When you call the DOJ and ask questions they can be a bit intimidating so I can imagine that most providers who are contacted by them give in fairly easily. Chain Centers are a different story because they have a lot to loose, a lot to spend, and a lot of staff. They are usually the ones in the lawsuits.

You are so right about not putting reasons on termination forms. I have only had to terminate a hand full of times and I don't provide any documentation at all to the parents. I do it verbally. I do keep records though in case I get inspected based on a complaint filed post termination. I have that stuff ready to go before I terminate because the inspectors can show up the next day if they don't have any big fires to put out in the field.

I DO think documentation for behavioral issues SHOULD be given to parents. It's so important to the continuity of care for the child. The receiving provider can use this documentation and the health care professionals can use it in their assessments.

Some providers feel driven to explain their reasons for what they do in the hopes that the parent will understand and agree with them. You don't have to justify everything you do. Some parents will never agree with you and no amount of explaining will help the situation.

YES this is very common. Some of it is to get them to understand... some to get them to agree... and some to be "right" and be heard. Often this is the first time the provider has REALLY been honest with the client on how they feel. Termination time is NOT a time to be right. I try hard to be humble and giving to lessen the blow even when that's terribly hard to do.

Often the reasons for terminating are multi layered and difficult to sum up into one reason. It's best to keep it short and sweet because in the end they are going to be upset and there's no good to be had in making the division deeper than necessary ESPECIALLY if you are going to keep the kid during a notice time.
12-18-2010 01:26 PM
TomCopeland If you are terminating because of your own medical issue I would still not put the reason in writing. You would tell the parent verbally what is going on (without sacrificing more of your own privacy than you want).

The basic reason for not putting reasons in writing is that it won't help you and it can hurt you. I do believe that parents may still be insulted or make complaints whether or not you put reasons in writing, but when you put it in writing it's out there for the parent to stew over and show to others (including licensing).

I haven't heard of licensing giving providers a hard time because they didn't put reasons in writing. You can keep your own written records of your reasons without sharing it with parents.

I haven't heard of parents filing discrimination cases against providers. I'm just trying to reduce the incidents of complaints and parent anger which can be even more incited when something is in writing.

I'm all for working with parents to make things work out - talking, negotiating, sharing your reasons verbally for what needs to change, etc. In the end, after you have made your decision to terminate, it's best (in my opinion) not to spell things out. The time for communication and explanation is over.

Some providers feel driven to explain their reasons for what they do in the hopes that the parent will understand and agree with them. You don't have to justify everything you do. Some parents will never agree with you and no amount of explaining will help the situation.
12-17-2010 12:05 PM
Little Sprouts Hello,
You all seem to have good responses to the question and I am in a similar predicament. I had a parent verbally attack me earlier in the week but am also pregnant and so is this parent. So when my baby comes I will be over in capacity for my under 2 age group. SO after what happened earlier this week and w/my situation I want to terminate care but dont know how to approach it...suggestions???
12-14-2010 05:45 PM
Abigail
Quote:
Originally Posted by legomom922 View Post
Sorry, let be more clearer. You said we should never give a reason to term...

Would this also be true if you are terming due to your own medical issues? (So given the example I gave you, about the kid I had to term because I needed 2 days off per wk to go to physical therepy) So instead of me telling these parents that I had medical issues and need more time off and needed surgery soon, should I have kept that to myself and just termed them without telling them the reason why?

OR

should we just keep the reasons to ourself at all times for all reasons?
I think you did the right thing for telling them. It had nothing to do with them anyways. It's also related to a change in hours and not just care. I wouldn't worry about it.
12-14-2010 01:36 PM
Crystal I think nannyde's way of doing things is unique to this industry, although if it works for her, then that's awesome.

Re. the OP, I'd do what Tom suggests. I trust him 100%, as he walke me through an IRS audit several years ago and because of him I was able to prove my case to the auditor. Tom KNOWS his stuff
12-14-2010 06:00 AM
nannyde
Quote:
Originally Posted by janarae View Post
So how many times have you offered free care to a family? I'm guessing not very many since you so rarely have had to terminate. Did the family take you up on it?
twice and no neither took me up on it.
12-14-2010 05:46 AM
momofboys
Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyde View Post
First: [If during that time period I feel that the relationship isn't working then I either call or sit the parents down and let them know I've decided to not offer them a contract. I also offer to give them one months notice on this and free child care for the entire one month notice begining that day. From that day forward I do not "work" for them. Their service is free so we are no longer in a financial relationship.

Terminating is a very hard thing to do. I made a decision not to offer a contract to a family this past year and it was incredibly stressful and hard to do. It's always hard to let a good kid go and good money go out the door but sometimes you have to protect your future by doing the right thing today.

So with terminations based on the needs of the child I will be specific. If it's a behavioral problem with the parents I let them know I will not be offering a contract for service and offer free care for a substantial time so they can make arrangements.

So how many times have you offered free care to a family? I'm guessing not very many since you so rarely have had to terminate. Did the family take you up on it?
12-14-2010 04:40 AM
nannyde
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCopeland View Post
You don't want to list reasons why you are ending the contract in your contract is that something else will always come up that you didn't account for. For example, the parent drives on your lawn and wields a knife while dropping off his child. Since that's not one of the reasons on your list, can the parent argue that you can't terminate him? Maybe. You don't want the parent to try to argue with you about your reasons for terminate. It's best to say, "Provider may terminate at will." Say no more.

With regards to giving reasons for termination in your termination letter - I recommend giving no reason. If you do, the parent will probably be insulted whether you intended to or not. The parent will then tell others that you insulted her. Secondly, you may say something that causes the parent to believe that you discriminated against her and she will make a complaint about you. Since any reason you give is subject to interpretation by the parent as an insult, you want to defuse this possibility by not writing down your reasons.
First: Much respect to Tom Copeland. He's a leader in our industry and his advice should always be highly considered.

You don't want the parent to try to argue with you about your reasons for terminate.

Tom, in real life they argue with you about it no matter how it is phrased and whatever reason you give. If the reason is a "universal" reason meaning that ALL the kids will be terminated then you will have the lowest liklihood of arguing. If their termination is situation dependent then they are going to object/argure. They have been given a NO and most if not all are going to take the NO badly.


I recommend giving no reason. If you do, the parent will probably be insulted whether you intended to or not. The parent will then tell others that you insulted her.

If you give them a reason they will be insulted. If you don't give them a reason they will be insulted. They will tell others that you terminated because of _______ (insert their version of why you termed) OR they will tell others that you terminated them without even bothering to tell them why. The people who they tell aren't going to like either one of those either.

There are also State regulations to consider. My State (Iowa) has a regulation that states "Provider must provide consistent dependable care". If you choose not to provide consistent dependable care for the client you must at least be able to proove to the DHS WHY you are refusing consistent dependable care. NOT giving a reason to the client will INCREASE your chances of being investigated and cited under this regulation alone.

Secondly, you may say something that causes the parent to believe that you discriminated against her and she will make a complaint about you.
I've heard you mention this before over the years but I'm not certain what you exactly mean. I have searched for many years to even FIND discrimination suits against home day care providers. I've seen Centers in law suits but I can't say I've ever ran across litigation that forced home child cares to either pay penalties for discrimination or retain a child or family based on discrimination. Are you aware of any cases where the parent has involved the justice system with home child care providers?

I guess what I'm saying is the liklihood of a discrimation law suit or action by the licensing in your State based on discrimination would be something that would be extremely low.

Now getting a complaint filed about your care of the kids after you have terminated? YES that is VERY high. But with most States that is met with an unnannounced inspection and the core reason for the inspection goes by the wayside very quickly once they start assessing you for the other 500 points of compliance in the inspection.

The way I manage to decrease the liklihood of issues on termination is to first not offer a contract when they first start care. I do a series of three interviews over a period of a few weeks and then if I feel they will work out I offer them a probationary slot in the day care.

I offer care for about three to six months before I sign a contract with them. It takes that long for me to be able to tell if they are going to have a high potential of retaining a long term slot in my care. During this time we agree that either party can terminate services without notice and without reason.

If during that time period I feel that the relationship isn't working then I either call or sit the parents down and let them know I've decided to not offer them a contract. I also offer to give them one months notice on this and free child care for the entire one month notice begining that day. From that day forward I do not "work" for them. Their service is free so we are no longer in a financial relationship.

This gives them ample time to find another "specialty" day care and also time to reserve the funds for whatever deposits or upfront fees they have to pay to get into the child care.

It's important to me to offer them a "peace offering" to let them know that I'm willing to help them out but that our relationship is not going to work long term. Even with such a generous offer they don't take it too well. When they get the NO they are insulted and angry.

I'm at the point where I can offer such a generous arrangement but they don't take me up on it. When they are going thru the "anger" stage of loss they will pull their child immediately. That works for me.

Giving a good window of time and allowing THEM to decide to terminate immediately is what works for me. That makes them feel they are the ones terminating.

Now I don't have families that are behind in fees so them owing me money is NEVER an issue. Money doesn't enter into my decision to terminate because I'm always paid up for my services in advance.

When I terminate it is almost always based on the parents behavior and whether or not it "fits" into what I want in my client base. Sometimes I can't see in the initital interviewing whether or not this will work for me. Thankfully I can the vast majority of the time. I have only had to terminate a few families in seventeen years.

Terminating is a very hard thing to do. I made a decision not to offer a contract to a family this past year and it was incredibly stressful and hard to do. It's always hard to let a good kid go and good money go out the door but sometimes you have to protect your future by doing the right thing today.

My advice with terminating is to either not offer the contract initially as I do or when you terminate give a reason that is as universal as possible. You can not give them a reason with a reason: "The care arrangement for X is not working for my business" "Client not performing per contractual agreement" etc. I would not get into the specifics.

Rest assured regardless of HOW you say it or WHAT you offer to the client they are gong to be insulted. There's not magic bullet with termination. Nothing works well because you are telling a grown person NO. With parents becoming more and more entititled their ability to receive a No seems to lessen over time.

My one exception of giving specifics when terminating is when the child has medical or behavioral needs that you can not meet. I'm NOT talking about children who have been diagnosed with a long term disability who qualify under the disability act. I'm talking specifically about children who have medical needs that arrise during your tenure with them or behavioral issues that arrise during your tenure with them.

When you have a child that needs physical or supervision care that is beyond your abilities it IS important that you tell the parent specifically. It's best to word it as how it relates to you and your care.

I have had to tell parents that I do not have the ability to care for their kid. I do not have the training, education, space, equipment, and mostly the staff to provide what their child needs to be successful in day care. I am very upfront that the child needs a level of supervision, schedule, and involvement that we simply can't provide while caring for the other children.

I'm not ashamed to admit it even in writing. I'm not afraid to admit it. If a child needs their own adult in order to care for them and protect the safety of the other children and the business then I am very upfront that I can't provide that without additional funding. I'm very clear when counselling them thru the transition that we are not able to provide the services the child needs and we ARE willing to take whatever consequences come from that decision. If it means the State will become involved or the Department of Justice become involved.. I welcome it.

Often when you terminate based on a child's needs the documentation you give the parents will assist them in finding the medical, psychological, behavioral, and educational care the child needs. I'm happy to provide the documentation and I stand by it even IF that means working with supervisory agencies to confirm. I will NOT have a child in my care that I'm unable to properly care for.

So with terminations based on the needs of the child I will be specific. If it's a behavioral problem with the parents I let them know I will not be offering a contract for service and offer free care for a substantial time so they can make arrangements.
12-13-2010 09:15 PM
legomom922 Sorry, let be more clearer. You said we should never give a reason to term...

Would this also be true if you are terming due to your own medical issues? (So given the example I gave you, about the kid I had to term because I needed 2 days off per wk to go to physical therepy) So instead of me telling these parents that I had medical issues and need more time off and needed surgery soon, should I have kept that to myself and just termed them without telling them the reason why?

OR

should we just keep the reasons to ourself at all times for all reasons?
12-13-2010 04:17 PM
TomCopeland
Quote:
Originally Posted by legomom922 View Post
Tom, what about in cases where medical reason about yourself is the reason why? Or that you are downsizing due to your medical issues? You know, in cases where the blame is really being put on the DCP and not the child.

I had a case like this once, where I had to go to physical therepy 2x a week but because of the 5 10hr days I had this child, I had to term, so I could have 2 days off a wk to take care my medical issues.

Just wondered how this would play out.
Perhaps I don't understand your question - You want to be in a position to be able to terminate a family regardless of the reason (whether it's your health or because the parent is not paying). Therefore, you want to say that you can terminate at will, and you don't want to list any reasons why you will terminate since you will never be able to cover all the possible reasons that might come up.
12-13-2010 02:43 PM
DBug
Quote:
Originally Posted by laundrymom View Post
Here is one I would like to use,...

Our childcare contract is terminated for the reasons listed below

1. late payments
2. partial payments
3. nsf payments
4. late pickups
5. early drop offs
6. sending in a sugared up hyper kid an hour before nap that you let sleep until 10 am
7. bringing sick child
8. sending him in white pants & jordans and asking we dont get him dirty.
9. being disrespectful to me (make sure you hit END on your phone before badmouthing me to the person you are sitting by.)
10. lying to me (make sure you hit END on your phone before badmouthing me to the person you are sitting by.)
11. tell me you will be there, please hold lunch for him. and not show up
12. sending him in with a doughnut in hand and chocolate milk in yours
13. neglect to tell me until you pick him up that he was sick in his bed last night but seemed fine when you dropped him off.

Due to these reasons you are being dropped from our childcare program.
12-13-2010 02:40 PM
legomom922 Tom, what about in cases where medical reason about yourself is the reason why? Or that you are downsizing due to your medical issues? You know, in cases where the blame is really being put on the DCP and not the child.

I had a case like this once, where I had to go to physical therepy 2x a week but because of the 5 10hr days I had this child, I had to term, so I could have 2 days off a wk to take care my medical issues.

Just wondered how this would play out.
12-13-2010 02:12 PM
TomCopeland You don't want to list reasons why you are ending the contract in your contract is that something else will always come up that you didn't account for. For example, the parent drives on your lawn and wields a knife while dropping off his child. Since that's not one of the reasons on your list, can the parent argue that you can't terminate him? Maybe. You don't want the parent to try to argue with you about your reasons for terminate. It's best to say, "Provider may terminate at will." Say no more.

With regards to giving reasons for termination in your termination letter - I recommend giving no reason. If you do, the parent will probably be insulted whether you intended to or not. The parent will then tell others that you insulted her. Secondly, you may say something that causes the parent to believe that you discriminated against her and she will make a complaint about you. Since any reason you give is subject to interpretation by the parent as an insult, you want to defuse this possibility by not writing down your reasons.
12-13-2010 11:11 AM
laundrymom Here is one I would like to use,...

Our childcare contract is terminated for the reasons listed below

1. late payments
2. partial payments
3. nsf payments
4. late pickups
5. early drop offs
6. sending in a sugared up hyper kid an hour before nap that you let sleep until 10 am
7. bringing sick child
8. sending him in white pants & jordans and asking we dont get him dirty.
9. being disrespectful to me (make sure you hit END on your phone before badmouthing me to the person you are sitting by.)
10. lying to me (make sure you hit END on your phone before badmouthing me to the person you are sitting by.)
11. tell me you will be there, please hold lunch for him. and not show up
12. sending him in with a doughnut in hand and chocolate milk in yours
13. neglect to tell me until you pick him up that he was sick in his bed last night but seemed fine when you dropped him off.

Due to these reasons you are being dropped from our childcare program.
12-13-2010 05:30 AM
legomom922 Fine, except I would take out the OR terminate now if you choose part. Make sure they pay you NOW for time up to Dec 24. Thats what I do, to prevent them from running off now, and I have put that inm my contract. "When either party puts in a termination notice, 2 wks payment is due immediately, or no care will be provided"
12-12-2010 10:22 PM
Abigail Ok, I had to grab my book as a "cheat sheet"....is says to follow three steps when terminating a contract.

1. Clearly state the Problem and Its Consequences. (verbally tell the client if you have an issue with anything and what will happen if it doesn't change.)

2. Give the Client a Written Warning. (explain that you have been over this before and this is the final warning.)

3. Give the Client a Termination Notice. Here is a sample format:
This note is to let you know that I will not continue to offer child care services to CHILD'S NAME beginning on DATE. I will continue to provide child care services until that date. According to our written contract, you are required to pay for my services until that date, whether your child attends my program or not.

PROVIDER SIGNATURE DATE
PARENT SIGNATURE DATE


Make sure you keep a copy and the parent gets a copy. You can have them sign two forms so you each get one or just have you both sign the one form and make a copy to give to the parents. Make sure to keep it short and simple; don't include any explanation of why you are terminating the client. The client should already understand the problem and be aware that you are unhappy.
12-12-2010 08:05 PM
marniewon From everything I've read and heard, we really shouldn't give a reason for termination in the letter. I don't know why, I do see where it could come back to bite us possibly, but I would put it in there. I think your letter is straightforward and to the point. Anxious to see what others have to say about it
12-12-2010 07:52 PM
kpa0627 December 13, 2010
To :

This letter will serve as notice of termination of care for ****** ***xx for the following reason/s:
Parent disagreements with Provider's policies stated in the Parent Handbook given at start of care.
The last day of care will be December 24th, 2010
OR
Termination is effective immediately if you choose.
I wish you and your family well.

Sincerely,
***xx ******x

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