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Old 07-12-2010, 01:15 PM
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Default Do You Use 1st or 3rd Person in Your Contracts?

I just spent some time changing my contract from 1st to 3rd person.

For example,

a piece of my contract now...

After a clear discussion between the family and the provider regarding the hours needed for care and the start date for care, the provider will fill in the arrangements and all parties will initial here.

a piece of my contract before...

After a clear discussion concerning the hours and the start date that you need for care, I will fill in the arrangements and we will initial here.


That may not be exactly how it was before, but just an example of what I mean.

What do you all use? Why?
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:35 PM
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I use third person in my contract. I use first person in my parent handbook. I guess the third person in the contract covering fees makes it sound more professional. I have gone back and forth with this, but for now this is how I am keeping it. It is such a pain to redo, isn't it?
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:36 PM
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I use the word "provider". It is less personal and more business like and help to remove YOU from being the rule maker. YOU are simply enforcing the terms of the contract.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:43 PM
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I also use third person i.e: the provider, the client, etc. It's less personal and more professional sounding. I also use the name of my daycare. It makes it sound more like a business.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:03 PM
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I use third person, but I set it all up in the very beginning. "This is an agreement between the Caregiver/Provider, (my name and credentials), and the Parent or Legal Guardian, (parent or parents name), of (names of children), minor child(ren) in the Provider's care."
Then I also clarify what "Parent" means by saying, "Parent or Legal Guardian will be referred to as 'Parent'. Also, 'Parent' may refer to one or more parents or legal guardians."

If you only say "Parent", then you may have to adjust if you are dealing with grandparents or aunts or uncles with permanent or temporary custody. "Legal guardian" also covers custodial step-parents. When it comes to the contract, I am very happy that I went to law school. My contract may be wordy, but at least it does not have very many vague parts that can be disputed in court. Come your own tushie - always! And you can never be too thorough.

I also use terms like "the Child" and "the Daycare" to further separate that this is not personal, it's business.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:24 PM
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3 out of 3, so I'm glad I did it. I have recently been having second thoughts. I think I will put the definitions in, like professional Mom suggested. Thanks!



Quote:
Originally Posted by originalkat View Post
It is such a pain to redo, isn't it?
I agree, but I currently have no kids (besides my own) and no license yet, so I have nothing but time on my hands. Also, I don't have a handbook. I think I'll make one.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:27 PM
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or 4 for 4. I guess I can't count.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by professionalmom View Post
I use third person, but I set it all up in the very beginning. "This is an agreement between the Caregiver/Provider, (my name and credentials), and the Parent or Legal Guardian, (parent or parents name), of (names of children), minor child(ren) in the Provider's care."
Then I also clarify what "Parent" means by saying, "Parent or Legal Guardian will be referred to as 'Parent'. Also, 'Parent' may refer to one or more parents or legal guardians."

If you only say "Parent", then you may have to adjust if you are dealing with grandparents or aunts or uncles with permanent or temporary custody. "Legal guardian" also covers custodial step-parents. When it comes to the contract, I am very happy that I went to law school. My contract may be wordy, but at least it does not have very many vague parts that can be disputed in court. Come your own tushie - always! And you can never be too thorough.

I also use terms like "the Child" and "the Daycare" to further separate that this is not personal, it's business.


It's almost as if you were a lawyer or something!
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by judytrickett View Post
It's almost as if you were a lawyer or something!
Or something. I didn't finish. But I kicked butt in Contracts! Who knew? I thought it would be a very dry, boring course and it turned out to be one of my strongest. Maybe I'll go back someday when the kiddos don't need me every second. *sigh* Now I'm missing the smell of the law library, reading/briefing 100+ cases per week, 80 page course outlines, getting grilled by a law professor in front of 150 fellow students, the stress, the sleepless nights, the coffee, the competition, ...
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by judytrickett View Post
It's almost as if you were a lawyer or something!
My contract is worded like that also. I typed up my contract and e-mailed it to my fiance so that he could give it to his buddies that are lawyers at work at his request. If you don't already know he works at the DA doing IT work. Anyway when I got it back they had completely redid the lingo. They kept it as simple as possible (as was my request) but I was afraid clients wouldn't be able to interpret it so I explain everything in detail in my handbook in human english lol.
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Old 07-12-2010, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarinaVanessa View Post
My contract is worded like that also. I typed up my contract and e-mailed it to my fiance so that he could give it to his buddies that are lawyers at work at his request. If you don't already know he works at the DA doing IT work. Anyway when I got it back they had completely redid the lingo. They kept it as simple as possible (as was my request) but I was afraid clients wouldn't be able to interpret it so I explain everything in detail in my handbook in human english lol.
Actually, there is supposed to be a movement in the legal community to move toward plain English. For instance, contracts used to be insane "The party of the first part promises to provide child care services to the party of the second part for a sum of $120 per week, payable from the party of the second part to the party of the first party on the first scheduled day of the week." WHAT? Are you lost? This is how it was years ago. But when I was in law school, you weren't hearing "party of the ___ part" anymore. Now they use titles like: mortgagee/mortgagor, landlord/tenant, childcare provider/parent, etc. They also use the proper names. It makes it so much easier to follow.

The difficult part is asking lawyers who are well versed in legalese to use plain English. Honestly, legalese sounds pretty "plain" to me. So I can't imagine what a seasoned attorney would consider "plain English". When you've been trained in it, it becomes "plain English" because you are essentially fluent.

Advice of the day - have an attorney look over your contract for any vagueness that could be disputed in court! You would be surprised what seems obvious to you, but may be vague to others.
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by professionalmom View Post

Advice of the day - have an attorney look over your contract for any vagueness that could be disputed in court! You would be surprised what seems obvious to you, but may be vague to others.
Yes! This is why my fiance wanted me to email him my original contract. It only has the fee & payment schedule etc and I've added to it and my handbook since then. I'll be doing some more adding this week (grrr) but I think I'll have his buddies at work review it again. I found myself aggrivated because of a loophole that a client found that I later added.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:24 AM
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What I do is, I keep a little folder labelled "policy concerns' on my desktop (or an actual file works too) and I log each time there is something I would like to clarify or make a policy on that is not already in the handbook.
I put out a new handbook annually at the start of each school year, and I usually include a welcome letter that highlights the important changes to policy. The last thing is, on the contract itself it says above the signature:
I have received and read the policy handbook and agree to abide by all policies within.

Those pesky parents that find ways to drive me crazy only have till August to pull that baloney, then it gets covered next year.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:43 AM
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This works too but I prefer to correct the issue right away. When an issue comes up I reword the policy right away to suit my needs and do the whole "Dear parents, effective (two-weeks later) the following changes will be in effect" and then I copy and paste the newly worded policy in the notice. I keep one copy for myself and give everyone else a copy. Next year in February is when I print out and hand out the new re-vised copies and this way when I get new clients they already have a handbook with the changed policies.

I had an issue with a client where she threw a fit because her baby had a runny nose and it was clear and my policies said green or yellow mucous but she had been sick, wasn't feeling good and was cranky and had a bad cough. I wouldn't take her and mom was mad because her symptoms didn't fit in my categories. I reworded it and added " ... but not limited to" at the beginning of my list of symptoms for exclusion and also added "severe coughing", "discharge from the nose or eyes" and "too tired or irratable to participate in normal activities". I was going to wait until the next time that I handed out the handbook to give out the new policies but then the very next week another kid came up with the same symptoms and I heard DCM with the 1st sick kid tell 2nd DCM not to worry because if I said something that it wasn't in my policies anyway. I immediately wrote a notice out and handed them out that very same day but instead of giving them a two-weeks notice I made it "effective immediately".
Grr, the nerve of some parents.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by professionalmom View Post
I use third person, but I set it all up in the very beginning. "This is an agreement between the Caregiver/Provider, (my name and credentials), and the Parent or Legal Guardian, (parent or parents name), of (names of children), minor child(ren) in the Provider's care."
Then I also clarify what "Parent" means by saying, "Parent or Legal Guardian will be referred to as 'Parent'. Also, 'Parent' may refer to one or more parents or legal guardians."

If you only say "Parent", then you may have to adjust if you are dealing with grandparents or aunts or uncles with permanent or temporary custody. "Legal guardian" also covers custodial step-parents. When it comes to the contract, I am very happy that I went to law school. My contract may be wordy, but at least it does not have very many vague parts that can be disputed in court. Come your own tushie - always! And you can never be too thorough.

I also use terms like "the Child" and "the Daycare" to further separate that this is not personal, it's business.
How do you say exactly that from here forward Parent refers to Parent/Guardian(s) and Child refers to the families child(ren) and Provider refers to me? LOL. Then, I only have to state Parent/Guardian(s) once before explaining who I will be refering too and then I can just say Parent each time afterthat even if the legal guardian is an uncle. The same goes for families with one or two or three child, to just be able to say Child meaning children where applicable, and as always me as the provider which should be common sense but you never know!
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