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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Food Program - How to Choose?
StarMama01 01:39 PM 06-22-2017
I just had my licensing inspection and the licensor said that I should enroll in a food program ASAP. Any advice for newbies? Are they basically the same or do any stand out due to stellar customer service, incentives, etc.? (FYI: I'm in Hennepin Co./Minnesota)
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Blackcat31 01:46 PM 06-22-2017
NOT Provider's Choice (PCI)

I personally use Milestones. Made the switch from PCI after 13 yrs. Wish I wouldn't have stayed with PCI for so long before switching.

I don't know if Milestones is available in your area but I'd definitely check and see.....they are fantastic and if it weren't for them, I'd have dropped the food program all together.

https://www.milestonesmn.org/choose-a-program
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AmyKidsCo 02:12 PM 06-22-2017
Our choices are WECA or Horizons. I chose WECA because it's the statewide NAEYC affiliate and offers much more than just food program sponsorship.
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hwichlaz 02:17 PM 06-22-2017
What are your choices?

Here, there aren't any choices...just one per region, lol.
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StarMama01 03:00 PM 06-22-2017
My choices are: Adult's and Children's Alliance, Child Care & Nutrition, Milestones, and Providers Choice.
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StarMama01 03:02 PM 06-22-2017
I was leaning towards Providers Choice but obviously it's not, haha. Why was it so bad? How is Milestones different?
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Blackcat31 03:15 PM 06-22-2017
Originally Posted by StarMama01:
I was leaning towards Providers Choice but obviously it's not, haha. Why was it so bad? How is Milestones different?
Milestone reps are team players. They support, educate and guide. PCI are like the police....they question you, doubt you, call your families and "double check", show up unannounced 3X's in one month, deny your claims just to approve them after the fact, ask kids if they "really" had what you list on the menu for lunch, if they are really the age the provider said....etc....

So after 13 yrs of being interrogated by a program I joined BY CHOICE I switched and realized the REAL BENEFITS of participating with a food program.
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Leigh 04:05 PM 06-22-2017
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
Milestone reps are team players. They support, educate and guide. PCI are like the police....they question you, doubt you, call your families and "double check", show up unannounced 3X's in one month, deny your claims just to approve them after the fact, ask kids if they "really" had what you list on the menu for lunch, if they are really the age the provider said....etc....

So after 13 yrs of being interrogated by a program I joined BY CHOICE I switched and realized the REAL BENEFITS of participating with a food program.
We have no choice where I am, and I have had inspections like that...they're terrible! Did you have milk for breakfast? Did you wash your hands? Honestly, even the smartest 5 year olds often can't answer those questions correctly sometimes! My families DO get letters, though, asking if their kids were here on a certain day and asking if they ate breakfast/lunch/snack here, along with other questions. It isn't SUCH a big deal to me, but my parents loathe those letters (because, really, what do they care about MY food program affiliate?). Parents don't want/need more paperwork than they already have (renewal time is always a joy), and IMO, it really isn't appropriate to be contacting parents.
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Claraskids 06:59 AM 06-23-2017
I am in Chisago County, just north of the Twin Cities, MN. I know I had a few choices but ended up going with Provider's Choice because none of the other food programs got back to me after two months of repeated phone calls. Provider's Choice was at my door in less than three days.
However it hasn't been perfect. Pros - love the lady that does the in person checks! Kids adore her. She keeps visits short and sweet. Answers every question I have either in person or via email asap. Cons - Her supervisors!!! My rep walked me through every thing I needed to do to when one of my dcb needed to switch to almond milk for medical reasons. The main office blocked me every way possible for months. I finally gave in and just claimed him for snacks.
However a lot of my issues with Provider's Choice are issues with the Federal Food program in general, so please take my opinion with a grain of salt.
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Blackcat31 07:41 AM 06-23-2017
Originally Posted by Claraskids:
I am in Chisago County, just north of the Twin Cities, MN. I know I had a few choices but ended up going with Provider's Choice because none of the other food programs got back to me after two months of repeated phone calls. Provider's Choice was at my door in less than three days.
However it hasn't been perfect. Pros - love the lady that does the in person checks! Kids adore her. She keeps visits short and sweet. Answers every question I have either in person or via email asap. Cons - Her supervisors!!! My rep walked me through every thing I needed to do to when one of my dcb needed to switch to almond milk for medical reasons. The main office blocked me every way possible for months. I finally gave in and just claimed him for snacks.
However a lot of my issues with Provider's Choice are issues with the Federal Food program in general, so please take my opinion with a grain of salt.
Them blocking your request for a special diet is not a federal thing, it IS a Provider's Choice thing.....

They denied so many things that I KNOW were acceptable, they lost papers, they tried to blame the federal government but I've been reading about alot of other people's experiences with the food program and it's clear that a majority of issues are PCI and how their offices choose to interpret things.

Since switching to Milestones, I don't have those issues. They are clear about their rules and interpretations and are swift and supportive in finding the answer if they don't know themselves. My reimbursements are direct deposit, never late and they've never lost any of my paperwork so those things alone will push me to rave about Milestones over PCI anyday!

If you are in any of the FB MN provider groups, search the words Provider's Choice and you can read all the complaints and issues other providers have with PCI as well.
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Meeko 08:11 AM 06-23-2017
I adore my food program, but I have heard horror stories from other providers who use different ones. Evidently, it is pretty easy to set up as a food program. I've heard wild stories of awful monitors, not getting paid etc. I never worry about payment, they are always able to answer my questions.

I would ask other providers in your area for their experiences with different programs
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StarMama01 09:09 PM 06-24-2017
This is so helpful! Blackcat, any chance you can PM me or add me to the FB groups? I believe the local ones are private/closed.
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Blackcat31 07:55 AM 06-26-2017
Originally Posted by StarMama01:
This is so helpful! Blackcat, any chance you can PM me or add me to the FB groups? I believe the local ones are private/closed.
PM'ing you!
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Tags:food program, food program - minnesota
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