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Alia 04-29-2019 10:14 PM

Contract Question
 
I have a sticky situation. I signed a contract for a DCP which stated her hours were Monday-Friday. We only need 3 relatively short days per week but I'm comfortable paying full time to secure her spot. However, each week, the DCP has actually only been available 2-4 days, some of which are not the days we need, leaving us trying to find alternate care, but we have still been paying for full time. Most weeks my daughter only attends 2 days because the days we need her she isn't available.

The DCP gave one week notice one time, but other than that she tells us the night before typically. She also has been taking my child on errands, doctor appointments for her grown children, or to meet friends (and not even tell us) about half of the days she is available. I've expressed that I don't feel comfortable with this, and she has days we don't need her each week she could do these things.

Tonight was the last straw when she wanted to drive our child half of the day tomorrow to an appointment far away for her 20 year old. I don't feel comfortable having my daughter driven around all the time. I tried to negotiate and ask if we could bring my daughter after the appointment and she could keep her 2 hours after her normal closing time of 4pm in return. She said no because that's not part of the contract. We decided to pull my daughter rather than have her be driven all over this week.

She is demanding 2 weeks of pay as per the contract. I already paid her today for this week and she said that does not count. I think that since she has breached her contract with her limited availability and daycare on wheels the contract is null and void and I should not have to pay. She also recently adopted a pit bull that is constantly trying to jump on my 2 year old and follows no commands whatsoever. It's just all around a bad situation and I'd rather not work than bring her over another day. Am I in my right to refuse to pay due to unsafe conditions and her breaches of contract? I've used multiple daycares over the years with my children and have never experienced anything like this so I'm just a little confused on what to do. I feel like I've been taken advantage of enough already. Thank you.

Michael 04-29-2019 11:06 PM

Welcome to the forum. We are most active with conversation during the day. Please check back in tomorrow for others to help you with your question.

LittleExplorers 04-30-2019 07:43 AM

Did she discuss time off and transportation in the contract? If she is violating her contract, I would probably just cut ties. What does it say for paid time off?

If she is not violating her contract, two weeks pay is due. Being as you told her on Monday, I would count this week's pay as one week, but again, that depends on the wording of the contract.

Either way, I hope you find a good fit in your next provider!

Blackcat31 04-30-2019 07:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alia (Post 701531)
I have a sticky situation. I signed a contract for a DCP which stated her hours were Monday-Friday. We only need 3 relatively short days per week but I'm comfortable paying full time to secure her spot. However, each week, the DCP has actually only been available 2-4 days, some of which are not the days we need, leaving us trying to find alternate care, but we have still been paying for full time. Most weeks my daughter only attends 2 days because the days we need her she isn't available.

The DCP gave one week notice one time, but other than that she tells us the night before typically. She also has been taking my child on errands, doctor appointments for her grown children, or to meet friends (and not even tell us) about half of the days she is available. I've expressed that I don't feel comfortable with this, and she has days we don't need her each week she could do these things.

Tonight was the last straw when she wanted to drive our child half of the day tomorrow to an appointment far away for her 20 year old. I don't feel comfortable having my daughter driven around all the time. I tried to negotiate and ask if we could bring my daughter after the appointment and she could keep her 2 hours after her normal closing time of 4pm in return. She said no because that's not part of the contract. We decided to pull my daughter rather than have her be driven all over this week.

She is demanding 2 weeks of pay as per the contract. I already paid her today for this week and she said that does not count. I think that since she has breached her contract with her limited availability and daycare on wheels the contract is null and void and I should not have to pay. She also recently adopted a pit bull that is constantly trying to jump on my 2 year old and follows no commands whatsoever. It's just all around a bad situation and I'd rather not work than bring her over another day. Am I in my right to refuse to pay due to unsafe conditions and her breaches of contract? I've used multiple daycares over the years with my children and have never experienced anything like this so I'm just a little confused on what to do. I feel like I've been taken advantage of enough already. Thank you.

What state are you in?

Did you know upon enrollment that she would be traveling with your child to where ever?

What does her policies or your contract specifically say in regards to what you are paying for? Are you paying for ACCESS to all 5 days of the week or just the couple days you signed up for?

Did she tell you before she adopted the dog that she was getting a dog?

I don't know but it sort of sounds like the provider is using the contract for her benefit but not adhering to it when it's beneficially for you.

Cat Herder 04-30-2019 07:53 AM

I would write up a professional (brief and to the point, no emotion) notice of her violations to the contract and mail two copies to her. One of which she has to sign for. Keep a third for yourself should you end up in small claims court. https://www.wordexceltemplates.com/notification-letter/

Her case will not stand up in small claims court if she has violated her contract. Contracts must work both ways.

Alia 04-30-2019 08:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LittleExplorers (Post 701562)
Did she discuss time off and transportation in the contract? If she is violating her contract, I would probably just cut ties. What does it say for paid time off?

If she is not violating her contract, two weeks pay is due. Being as you told her on Monday, I would count this week's pay as one week, but again, that depends on the wording of the contract.

Either way, I hope you find a good fit in your next provider!

The contract states occasionally provider may need to transport children in care for field trips and other activities outside of the daycare home. The contract states she has 2 weeks of vacation per year. One 4 day absence was vacation related and she informed us one week prior, but the other days she's not available were related to other things and we were notified typically the night before. However, "occasional" is at least half of the days she has her. I also think, but I'm not sure, that "field trips and other activities" does not include grocery shopping, doctor, dentist appointments etc. The wording is pretty vague.

I don't think there is anything about this week's pay excluding being part of the two weeks.... The check is dated with the same date as when we quit. She did watch my daughter that day from 10AM to 12PM before I officially quit, but I don't think that would matter as she could technically still be attending for 2 weeks after we give her notice.

I wasn't anticipating this kind of problem as we had been using her hourly for several months before we signed a contract, so to be honest I wasn't too concerned with looking out for myself with the contract because I thought she was pretty trustworthy, so I read it, but I really didn't thoroughly dissect it. I guess I learned from this at the very least.

I hope I find a good fit next time too! Thank you!

Alia 04-30-2019 08:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blackcat31 (Post 701563)
What state are you in?

Did you know upon enrollment that she would be traveling with your child to where ever?

I knew that emergencies could arise but no I wasn't aware she would be making it a regular thing.

What does her policies or your contract specifically say in regards to what you are paying for? Are you paying for ACCESS to all 5 days of the week or just the couple days you signed up for?

I am paying for access to all 5 days. I didn't sign up for any specific days. I told her that I make my own schedule 2 months ahead of time and if she needs a set schedule each week I can do that, but typically I work Monday Tuesday one week and Wednesday Thursday the next week, and I'm in school as well and need 1 half day for homework. She said she is open Monday-Friday 7-4 so it doesn't matter to her which days I bring her.

Did she tell you before she adopted the dog that she was getting a dog?

Not at all, we just arrived one day and the new dog was there.

I don't know but it sort of sounds like the provider is using the contract for her benefit but not adhering to it when it's beneficially for you.

I agree and I actually brought that up to her, and she responded in a very nasty way saying I am being inconsiderate, so rather than continue the conversation I just said my daughter would not be returning, thank you for your help with her. She continued on and on about the 2 weeks pay and then started messaging my husband so I blocked her. I don't know if that was the best thing to do but I didn't want to argue. I'm just concerned that with the way things ended she is going to try to take me to court and having never been through that before I'm not sure if I'm in the right. My gut tells me she breached the contract first so it is null and void. But my Google searches have not been able to find much applicable information...

Cat Herder 04-30-2019 08:29 AM

What does the contract say about the notice she must give you if she is unable to provide care?

Did this dog have access to your child?

What state?

Two weeks notice fees are generally collected at the time of enrollment. Did you pay that fee?

Alia 04-30-2019 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cat Herder (Post 701566)
I would write up a professional (brief and to the point, no emotion) notice of her violations to the contract and mail two copies to her. One of which she has to sign for. Keep a third for yourself should you end up in small claims court. https://www.wordexceltemplates.com/notification-letter/

Her case will not stand up in small claims court if she has violated her contract. Contracts must work both ways.

That is great news thank you. I did tell her that I think her closures and requiring early pick ups some days were a breach of contract and she said that she never closed or required early pick ups. I have text messages that say "I can do Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday" on Sunday night... or "Just letting you know she needs to be picked up by 3 today" Maybe she does not consider that a breach of contract if she told me at all and we didn't just show up to locked doors? So I think that she would not sign that form because she doesn't see herself as in the wrong.

Alia 04-30-2019 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cat Herder (Post 701579)
What does the contract say about the notice she must give you if she is unable to provide care?

Did this dog have access to your child?

What state?

I did not see any requirements about the notice she must give. Yes the dog continuously was trying to jump on her. SC

Blackcat31 04-30-2019 08:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alia (Post 701576)
I agree and I actually brought that up to her, and she responded in a very nasty way saying I am being inconsiderate, so rather than continue the conversation I just said my daughter would not be returning, thank you for your help with her. She continued on and on about the 2 weeks pay and then started messaging my husband so I blocked her. I don't know if that was the best thing to do but I didn't want to argue. I'm just concerned that with the way things ended she is going to try to take me to court and having never been through that before I'm not sure if I'm in the right. My gut tells me she breached the contract first so it is null and void. But my Google searches have not been able to find much applicable information...

I would do exactly as Cat Herder said above.

As a veteran provider that's been in this business for over 2 decades, I can almost guarantee she will NOT take you to court.

The two weeks she thinks you owe her would cost her far more in the end AND if she files in conciliation court, SHE bears the burden of proving that YOU violated the contract.

In order to do that, she'd have to admit she did first. ;)

In the future, as cliche` as it sounds; "Get it in writing" Every detail. :)

Cat Herder 04-30-2019 08:41 AM

I agree with BC. Also 20+ years.

In the future, I'd make sure that you must sign a field trip form for each and every trip off site. Standard "may transport" blanket permission just does not fly anymore. ;) Each trip should outline educational goals, place, meals, activities, times of departure and return. The trips should be about the children during daycare hours. :hug: You are paying for that, after all. Here, off-site trips require a second provider, because ratio drops almost in half.

30-day notice of closures for vacation and around 3 emergency/short term notice closures per year should be about the norm. I have not had an emergency short term closure in over 5 years. It isn't that common with most providers. Our lifestyles are generally not that chaotic.

Pets should never have access to children during daycare hours. Daycare kids should never have access to pets, for the very same reasons. :lol:

Good luck in the future. Never fear court if you are right. ;)

Leigh 04-30-2019 11:05 AM

I have to disagree with the others about the provider breaching contract. The parent agreed to transportation for "other activities", which would encompass personal errands, in my opinion. The parent agreed to 2 weeks' paid vacation-if the provider was paid for 2 weeks' or less, then there would not be a breach of contract for the early closures or days closed. As far as which days were available to the client, unless the contract specified which days services would be provided, I would find it reasonable to assume that they would be worked out on a regular basis based on availability of provider and need of client. If the dog wasn't addressed in the contract, then it is a non-issue, as well, though I think it very foolish to allow a new dog to have free reign around an unknown child.

It seems that both parties should, going forward, make sure that any contracts they sign are straightforward about the needs/abilities of both parties BEFORE signing.

TL, DR: My opinion is that at least one more week of pay is due, because the OP doesn't state where the contract was actually breached.

Cat Herder 04-30-2019 12:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leigh (Post 701597)
OP doesn't state where the contract was actually breached.

I read it to say their child was transported without their consent and that the full-time slot they paid for is rarely available to them AKA double dipping. One is illegal the other unprofessional. They terminated due to provider refusing to accept their withdrawal of transport permission.

That is a pretty big breach to me. To me, it would be a wash.

Alia 04-30-2019 12:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leigh (Post 701597)
I have to disagree with the others about the provider breaching contract. The parent agreed to transportation for "other activities", which would encompass personal errands, in my opinion. The parent agreed to 2 weeks' paid vacation-if the provider was paid for 2 weeks' or less, then there would not be a breach of contract for the early closures or days closed. As far as which days were available to the client, unless the contract specified which days services would be provided, I would find it reasonable to assume that they would be worked out on a regular basis based on availability of provider and need of client. If the dog wasn't addressed in the contract, then it is a non-issue, as well, though I think it very foolish to allow a new dog to have free reign around an unknown child.

It seems that both parties should, going forward, make sure that any contracts they sign are straightforward about the needs/abilities of both parties BEFORE signing.

TL, DR: My opinion is that at least one more week of pay is due, because the OP doesn't state where the contract was actually breached.

Hmmm I do see your point about the "other activities" but what about the language of "occasional"? The contract did specify Monday through Friday 7AM to 4PM, there was nothing that indicates that I would only use her 3 days per week as we will be needing 5 day per week childcare in the future. With an untrained dog that size jumping on a 2 year old would it be reasonable from a legal standpoint to not expect a parent to continue bringing their child for concern for their safety? Also the contract did not specify "paid" vacation but I did pay for full time each week.

I have to agree with you going forward I will be more careful. I have never had someone work a contract to the point where they can give poor care to my child and it be okay. I just didn't think she could be that way but I have learned to not trust people to be good.

Blackcat31 04-30-2019 01:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leigh (Post 701597)
I have to disagree with the others about the provider breaching contract. The parent agreed to transportation for "other activities", which would encompass personal errands, in my opinion. The parent agreed to 2 weeks' paid vacation-if the provider was paid for 2 weeks' or less, then there would not be a breach of contract for the early closures or days closed. As far as which days were available to the client, unless the contract specified which days services would be provided, I would find it reasonable to assume that they would be worked out on a regular basis based on availability of provider and need of client. If the dog wasn't addressed in the contract, then it is a non-issue, as well, though I think it very foolish to allow a new dog to have free reign around an unknown child.

It seems that both parties should, going forward, make sure that any contracts they sign are straightforward about the needs/abilities of both parties BEFORE signing.

TL, DR: My opinion is that at least one more week of pay is due, because the OP doesn't state where the contract was actually breached.

Transportation issues aside the reason I said provider breached contract is because the OP said:

" I signed a contract for a DCP which stated her hours were Monday-Friday. We only need 3 relatively short days per week but I'm comfortable paying full time to secure her spot. However, each week, the DCP has actually only been available 2-4 days, some of which are not the days we need, leaving us trying to find alternate care, but we have still been paying for full time. Most weeks my daughter only attends 2 days because the days we need her she isn't available."

So the family schedules (and pays) for 5 days a week.
Whether they actually use them or not doesn't mean they aren't entitled to them when needed.

Provider has denied care on certain days and parent is needing to find alternate care.

I don't think that is ethical at all.

I have many parents that pay for 5 days and IF anything in my schedule comes up that prevents me from being available the days they scheduled I discussed it with the parent well in advance to make sure they did/didn't plan on using that day.

Snowmom 04-30-2019 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cat Herder (Post 701584)
I agree with BC. Also 20+ years.

In the future, I'd make sure that you must sign a field trip form for each and every trip off site. Standard "may transport" blanket permission just does not fly anymore. ;)
Each trip should outline educational goals, place, meals, activities, times of departure and return. The trips should be about the children during daycare hours. :hug: You are paying for that, after all. Here, off-site trips require a second provider, because ratio drops almost in half.

Those are not requirements here. While I agree with you in theory and it depends on where that provider is located (specific regulations), the provider's "blanket permission" would be enough in some situations.

30-day notice of closures for vacation and around 3 emergency/short term notice closures per year should be about the norm. I have not had an emergency short term closure in over 5 years. It isn't that common with most providers. Our lifestyles are generally not that chaotic.

2 weeks-30 days (and sometimes longer) is the norm here for planned days off. I use anywhere from 1-10 short notice closures annually, depending on the circumstances.

Pets should never have access to children during daycare hours. Daycare kids should never have access to pets, for the very same reasons. :lol:

Again, I agree with you in theory, but I know many providers who consider their pets part of daycare and part of that particular environment. I don't agree with it (for the safety of both parties) but I also understand their thinking.
If the contract said "pets may be on the premises", that provider may legally be covered.


Good luck in the future. Never fear court if you are right. ;)

Red above.

OP, I think the provider is definitely unethical. But everything comes down to how that contract was worded.
Your best bet is to write an unemotional letter stating the facts, what outcome you want and what agreed upon services you felt were not given.

Cat Herder 04-30-2019 02:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowmom (Post 701626)
Red above.

My advice was based on best practice, rating scales and personal preference as a parent and provider, not regs. I stand by them. Many assume some level of common sense when paying someone to care for their children, that is not always the case. Better to weed out loopholes and prevent miscommunication, IMO :Sunny:

Alia 04-30-2019 04:41 PM

Thank you everyone so much for all your help it was much more than I had expected to receive! I have learned so much from your expertise :) :)

Thank you for taking time out of your day to help lovethis

Blackcat31 04-30-2019 05:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alia (Post 701650)
Thank you everyone so much for all your help it was much more than I had expected to receive! I have learned so much from your expertise :) :)

Thank you for taking time out of your day to help lovethis

Please keep us updated as to how this works out! :)

Parent perspective is valuable to us as well ;)

Mom2Two 05-01-2019 02:05 PM

I would say to start writing out your case. Not only for legal purpose as Cat Herder said, but I often find that as I start writing, things start becoming even more clear to me.

Format and print out all your text threads with her. There are a lot of issues to look at, it sounds. The transport issue...the dog...the unavailability.

Make a chart of all your weeks with her since you signed the full-time contract, and show which days she didn't give care, the days she transported and also the the amount of notice she gave each time. Also include your responses. It might help to show how many times you objected or expressed concern about the transport.

One thing that was not mentioned above is that there is an expectation of reasonable interpretation. If you carefully document the pattern of unreasonable interpretation of the contract, it will strengthen your case greatly--depending on the judge.

Or you could just pay the money and go forward with a "lesson learned" attitude. It depends on whether you feel like the possible small claims court event would be worth it.

lblanke 05-04-2019 07:16 PM

Sounds like the provider breached the contract by not providing care for the contracted dates/times and by transporting half the time (when the contract specifies occasional, which is meant to be infrequent). I would not pay any additional money but would not send my child back, either.

springv 05-05-2019 01:32 PM

We are a non transport center here in Alabama and the only way we do field trips is by walking within distance of the daycare plus all children have permission to walk (ages 3-13). If I were you, I would report her to the department of human resources childcare division depending on which state your in because of what she done by transporting your child without permission and I would not take my child back to the provider and I would not pay the provider anymore money regardless of the contract terms.

Meeko 05-17-2019 08:17 PM

Is she licensed?

Dogs are allowed here in Utah and my own is a huge part of my daycare. Loved by the kids, the parents...and by licensing.

However, there is a list of dog breeds that are banned from licensed daycare and pit bulls are one of them.

I'm wondering if other states ban certain breeds??


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