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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Free Childcare or Scholarships?? Anyone?
SunflowerMama 06:35 PM 04-22-2012
I may be the only one here but recently I've been drawn in the direction to do more with the community. To help those in need.

I'm full right now but will have an opening in late Fall. I feel very blessed to have been full since opening and we feel that our finances are in a great place right now.

We have a lot of local shelters for families and women who have been victims of domestic abuse. A lot of these women want to work but have challenges when it comes to daycare.

I had the strange thought today about a scholarship program where I could offer free childcare to one child at a time. I could either take on the loss myself or reach out for sponsorship to help with the cost. I think this could give a family/parent a chance to get back on their feet without the worry of daycare costs.

Has anyone ever done anything like this before? Offered free/discounted care to families in need? I just think a little love and compassion can go a long way...even if it's one family at a time .

I just feel driven to do this and don't want to jump feet first until I have some of the details ironed out.

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated!
Kelly 04:38 AM 04-23-2012
I haven't done it yet (just started my DC in February) but have thought about doing it in the future. When my son was little there were a couple years that I struggled to pay for his daycare so I know how hard it can be.
Blackcat31 06:55 AM 04-23-2012
I think your intentions are very admirable!

If you do decide to go that route, I guess the only thing I would suggest doing is making sure that the person you give this free care/scholarship to is actually in need. I don't mean to seem biased at all but it just seems to me that there are so many people out there who are needy but a majority of them are needy or short on funds due to bad choices in how they spend there money and not necessarily due to not having any. KWIM?

I know there are people out there who really are poor and cannot afford things. I think your idea about partnering with a women's shelter is a good idea. I would feel more comfortable letting another agency handle the financial information gathering as that stuff is really personal for some people so maybe have them refer clients your way and offer short term, care for a specific period of time so that the mom can get on her feet.

What a great idea though to give back to the community! Makes you an ideal role model for every little on in your care!
Childminder 07:13 AM 04-23-2012
I have "accepted" only what the state pays for a couple of clients and wrote off their copay before, One was a 16-18 year old that was going to school, working and raising a baby all on her own. After 2.5 years she graduated from high school and accelerated associates and now works full time. She still gets state subsidy but pays her co-pay now. I just considered it my contribution to charity.

I have had so many "needy" families but have been stiffed too often to give them the least bit of charity. So many have taken advantage of me (or tried) and daycare hop or disappeared into thin air. With the ones that I do help it is because they have proven themselves to be trustworthy first.
cheerfuldom 07:50 AM 04-23-2012
Definitely set some boundaries in place so you arent stuck with a free loader. sorry we are all downers on your idea but the reality is that people take advantage of people like you. I hope you are able to find and help someone who truly appreciates it!
harperluu 08:02 AM 04-23-2012
I am a firm believer in helping out others when you are able. My only suggestion would be to check with an accountant or other financial planner or attorney to be sure that any "donations" you accept to start a scholarship program are being set up the proper way so that you don't end up having to claim that as income, essentially taking a double hit for that single spot. Wow, that was a huge run-on sentence, but you get the idea.
SunflowerMama 10:32 AM 04-23-2012
Thanks for the input everyone! I think the idea of making it short term so they have a chance to get back on their feet is great. I also totally understand the possibility of people abusing the service so I would definitely feel more comfortable having an agency refer me families after reviewing their financial situation.

My other concern is how current families would react. I know they come here bc it's safe and secure and to know we are extending assistance to those who may have been victims of violence or addiction could be a scary thought. It's definitely one thing we want to be careful of if we decide to do this. It's my husband's #1 concern with the idea.

I also don't know how current families would feel about someone receiving, for free, the same services they pay for. Most are very caring and compassionate people so I don't think they would have a problem but can't say for sure.
permanentvacation 11:17 AM 04-23-2012
I have given out free childcare a few times. The other families had no clue that the other family wasn't paying me.

I didn't try to get sponsored or anything. I simply gave out a free space to a family that I knew couldn't afford daycare at that time.

Nothing special needed to be done. They signed my regular contract. The only difference is that stated that their rate of pay would be $0.00. I also specified the days and hours that their child would attend which is part of my regular contract.
Unregistered 11:52 AM 04-23-2012
I have done free for 2 different families.
The first was a family I knew had a need. I offered free child care. She has gotten a little bit ahead and now pays me $25/week for 2 days. Once she got promoted she just offered to start "kicking in" some money-which I admire her for-I had no idea she got a raise/promotion and she could have easily kept getting free. I appreciated her honesty. She also regularly shows her appreciation with notes/cards/sending snacks etc.
The other family asked if they could have a lower rate when dad lost his job. They paid what they could, when they could. Very irregular and nothing I could count on-but nice when I got something! They had always been on time before-and are now back on their feet and paying regular rate. They too were always very grateful and showed it.
If I felt someone was taking advantage I would stop the free care.
I would never ever let my other families know that a family was getting free child care. It's not any of their business. It's also not any of their business to know anything about the other parents' lives at all (coming from a shelter/abuse/past drug use...) That's all confidential for everyone.
Tags:free childcare, scholarship
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