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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Wishlist What Do You Wish Existed To Help You?
CareHub 10:15 AM 06-08-2014
Hi everyone,

We have a small team working on developing tools for caregivers a combination of apps and online software. We're focused on addressing the areas that are most challenging and time consuming in being a caregiver and often a business owner. We would really appreciate and value hearing about your experience in either or both of these areas. Ill jot some questions below, and would also welcome any general comments. When the tools are ready, wed be happy to offer them to everyone involved.

Note that I did reach out to Michael for approval on this post.

Thanks!

Questions:
-Outside of time spent directly with kids, what takes up the most of your time?

-Whats most challenging for you each day?

-Do you use any current software or apps? Yes If so, which ones and what do you think?

-What tools or software do you wish existed to make your life easier?

-What are your biggest costs aside from people?

-What's most enjoyable/rewarding for you?
Reply
Blackcat31 03:00 PM 06-09-2014
Originally Posted by CareHub:
Hi everyone,

We have a small team working on developing tools for caregivers a combination of apps and online software. We're focused on addressing the areas that are most challenging and time consuming in being a caregiver and often a business owner. We would really appreciate and value hearing about your experience in either or both of these areas. Ill jot some questions below, and would also welcome any general comments. When the tools are ready, wed be happy to offer them to everyone involved.

Note that I did reach out to Michael for approval on this post.

Thanks!
My responses to your questions are below.

Originally Posted by CareHub:
-Outside of time spent directly with kids, what takes up the most of your time?
Documenting and accounting paperwork.

Originally Posted by CareHub:
-Whats most challenging for you each day?
Managing the daily needs of multiple families. Seems everyone wants their needs classified as "most" important.

Originally Posted by CareHub:
-Do you use any current software or apps? Yes If so, which ones and what do you think?
I use MMK which is provided by my food program.

I've also checked out and played around with parent communication apps such as Babyconnect as well as Tadpoles and Cake child care management software.

Originally Posted by CareHub:
-What tools or software do you wish existed to make your life easier?
Accounting software that allows for individual rates and fees to be calculated. I would personally like to see some type of program that allows for me to easily schedule children and stay within my ratios. It's hard sometimes to see which ages fit where and when I will have an available opening in specific age categories.

Originally Posted by CareHub:
-What are your biggest costs aside from people?
Art/craft supplies. Paper, paint, crayons, markers, glitter glue etc..

Originally Posted by CareHub:
-What's most enjoyable/rewarding for you?
Seeing the kids make progress in all areas of development. NOTHING speaks louder than a proud child demonstrating a newly learned skill.

Hope that helps.
Reply
CareHub 03:42 PM 06-13-2014
Blackcat31, thanks so much for your response.

When you mention, "managing the daily needs of multiple families" - I've heard this a lot. As I try to find solutions that might help, perhaps you can give some examples? Things like emails/texts with requests, late dropoff or pickup, special food requests, etc? Have you found anything that's been helpful in managing family requests?

Thank you!
Reply
Blackcat31 03:48 PM 06-13-2014
Originally Posted by CareHub:
Blackcat31, thanks so much for your response.

When you mention, "managing the daily needs of multiple families" - I've heard this a lot. As I try to find solutions that might help, perhaps you can give some examples? Things like emails/texts with requests, late dropoff or pickup, special food requests, etc? Have you found anything that's been helpful in managing family requests?

Thank you!
Absolutely.

My issue is that each family has a separate contract for hours of care and with that contract comes separate rates and fees.

I can't just use one template for everyone since each family has different care needs.
Reply
CareHub 03:51 PM 06-13-2014
That makes a lot of sense. If I can ask, how you do go about managing that and the billing part of it right now?
Reply
daycare 04:04 PM 06-13-2014
1. Planning curriculum, cleaning, paperwork, grocery shopping, updating website, going over files.

2.Biggest challenge is getting parents to get here on time and respect my rules

3.MMK, I want to use cake, but the set up seems to be a monster. I use my time station for my employees, excel for my daycare schedule, intuit for payroll. I wish for one program to do it all instead of try to manage everything from so many different sources.

4.food, insurance, advertising, and over time for myself

5. creating leaders
Reply
daycare 04:05 PM 06-13-2014
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
Absolutely.

My issue is that each family has a separate contract for hours of care and with that contract comes separate rates and fees.

I can't just use one template for everyone since each family has different care needs.
I have this same issue.

I dream for three things mostly

1. a program that automatically charges late fees. I set it up with credit card and it's instantly charged.

2. a program that tracks and alerts for Immunizations

3. A program that will automatically charge for additional hours when schedules change.
Reply
CareHub 04:16 PM 06-13-2014
Originally Posted by daycare:
1. Planning curriculum, cleaning, paperwork, grocery shopping, updating website, going over files.

2.Biggest challenge is getting parents to get here on time and respect my rules

3.MMK, I want to use cake, but the set up seems to be a monster. I use my time station for my employees, excel for my daycare schedule, intuit for payroll. I wish for one program to do it all instead of try to manage everything from so many different sources.

4.food, insurance, advertising, and over time for myself

5. creating leaders
Thanks so much for the reply!

For #1, what paperwork is your biggest pain? If it's currently being printed, would it be helpful it was managed digitally instead?

For #3, we really want to solve all these need with one (simple) system. What are the main functions you use within MMK?

Thanks again!
Reply
daycare 05:29 PM 06-13-2014
Originally Posted by CareHub:
Thanks so much for the reply!

For #1, what paperwork is your biggest pain? If it's currently being printed, would it be helpful it was managed digitally instead?

For #3, we really want to solve all these need with one (simple) system. What are the main functions you use within MMK?

Thanks again!
yes, I wish the state would pick up a program that offered digital enrollment.

main reason for MMK is for the food program and to invoice parents, as well as track spending/budget
Reply
SignMeUp 06:10 PM 06-13-2014
Originally Posted by daycare:
yes, I wish the state would pick up a program that offered digital enrollment.
Yes, I've thought this for years. We should be able to enroll children online, with all of their contact info, immunizations, dr, dentist, etc. and a headshot photo. The state would know where all children are enrolled, which could help to prevent fraud, and also in case of a serious illness at a childcare, or need to close down a childcare. The provider would not have to fill out a million forms by hand. Provider could print out emergency cards for parent to sign, complete with photo. Also an enrollment list with all parent contact info to take with for field trips, or in case of evacuation.

Maybe some states have this, but mine does not.
We could move forward, from a 1960s system to at least 1999
Reply
CareHub 08:09 PM 06-13-2014
Originally Posted by SignMeUp:
Yes, I've thought this for years. We should be able to enroll children online, with all of their contact info, immunizations, dr, dentist, etc. and a headshot photo. The state would know where all children are enrolled, which could help to prevent fraud, and also in case of a serious illness at a childcare, or need to close down a childcare. The provider would not have to fill out a million forms by hand. Provider could print out emergency cards for parent to sign, complete with photo. Also an enrollment list with all parent contact info to take with for field trips, or in case of evacuation.

Maybe some states have this, but mine does not.
We could move forward, from a 1960s system to at least 1999
This is definitely something we're working on and planning for! Want to make it super easy, and always accessible. When you mention the state, are you required to use state forms where you are? Would the solution have to come from the state, or could you use an independent system if you could customize the forms (and they could match state or local requirements)?
Reply
SignMeUp 08:14 PM 06-13-2014
Originally Posted by CareHub:
This is definitely something we're working on and planning for! Want to make it super easy, and always accessible. When you mention the state, are you required to use state forms where you are? Would the solution have to come from the state, or could you use an independent system if you could customize the forms (and they could match state or local requirements)?
We are required to use the state forms At least in my county, they do not like anything that is personalized; they want to look at identical paperwork at each daycare home.
Reply
CareHub 08:18 PM 06-13-2014
Originally Posted by SignMeUp:
We are required to use the state forms At least in my county, they do not like anything that is personalized; they want to look at identical paperwork at each daycare home.
That's really interesting, I hadn't heard that before. It sounds like daycare (the forum member) has a similar situation. Do you mind saying what state you're in?

Are there other materials (forms, software, etc) that you are also required to use?
Reply
SignMeUp 08:59 PM 06-13-2014
Originally Posted by CareHub:

Are there other materials (forms, software, etc) that you are also required to use?
MN. There are probably two dozen forms that are required that we print from the state website and/or our county website. A few are keyable (but can't be 'saved' - so you end up retyping all the info each time you need a copy of the form) but most are not keyable. You have to print them out and fill out handwritten, or have parents fill out handwritten.
These are forms with child info or business info that we must give to families.
Then there are annual forms, including an enrollment list, safety checklists, pages of information on various parts of licensing compliance, an application, etc. Some are mailed to us to be handwritten; others we must print from the website and handwrite.
I have scanned most of the child enrollment forms, printed the information on them that doesn't change, and then scanned again. I use these for my families so that I don't have to do quite as much handwriting, but then I have to check the two websites before I enroll a family to be sure they haven't updated any of the forms. If it has changed, I have to either handwrite or re-do the scanning/printing/scanning process. No matter how you do it, it's a pita

There is no software. We are in the dark ages
Reply
Mom of 4 08:23 AM 06-14-2014
I would have liked a clone! LOL Or 4. One could do menus, one paperwork, one could make lunch and snacks, and one could deal with parents while I played with kids all day!


The most helpful thing was a place that had form templates. I cannot remember the name of the site now, but it was really nice. I just put in my daycare name, changed whatever I wanted my contracts/forms to say, and print! Most of the work was done already and clued me in to a lot of policies/procedures I'd never have thought of on my own.

I would have LOVED to enroll online or take credit card/debit payments as well. I dont think I'll ever go back to doing child care again, but if I did, I think that having those options would eliminate "I forgot my money" comments. I could be like "Oh, well, let me swipe your card for you!"

OT> Yesterday, a mom of an infant came in after her sched time. She was quite rude because I refused to park in DCP's driveway since she's never said it was OK, so I moved to the side and told her to pull in if she had permission. We both go into get our kids. Of course, it's PAYDAY. The lady tells DCP that she can only pull $200 out of the ATM because she went shopping to buy her daughter a bunch of "fun" stuff! I was like !!
I know that most banks allow you to shop and swipe a card AND allow you to pull $400 per day out of an acc't. She LIED to the provider. And anyway, she had enough money to buy a bunch of "fun stuff" for her infant but not enough to pay the extra money she admitted she owed! Poor provider told her "It's ok, just have it Monday morning" and the lady told her she'd have it Thurs because she can't take $ from ATM on weekends! Which, seriously? I have NEVER heard of that! I wanted to say "LIAR" but I kept my mouth shut. I am sure DCP knows that the mom was lying anyway.
I think DCP doing a CC option could eliminate these payment issues.
Reply
CareHub 11:01 AM 06-15-2014
Originally Posted by SignMeUp:
MN. There are probably two dozen forms that are required that we print from the state website and/or our county website. A few are keyable (but can't be 'saved' - so you end up retyping all the info each time you need a copy of the form) but most are not keyable. You have to print them out and fill out handwritten, or have parents fill out handwritten.
These are forms with child info or business info that we must give to families.
Then there are annual forms, including an enrollment list, safety checklists, pages of information on various parts of licensing compliance, an application, etc. Some are mailed to us to be handwritten; others we must print from the website and handwrite.
I have scanned most of the child enrollment forms, printed the information on them that doesn't change, and then scanned again. I use these for my families so that I don't have to do quite as much handwriting, but then I have to check the two websites before I enroll a family to be sure they haven't updated any of the forms. If it has changed, I have to either handwrite or re-do the scanning/printing/scanning process. No matter how you do it, it's a pita

There is no software. We are in the dark ages
Thanks for the additional detail. That's a huge amount of work to put on the provider! I see them all here.

What about daily forms like check in/out and logs for infants? I don't see them on the list. Are you able to use your own? And what kind of record keeping does MN require for them?

Would love to know if others also have pretty strict requirements in terms of forms. Thinking if there are ways to make it easier within the requirements.

Thanks!
Reply
CareHub 11:06 AM 06-15-2014
Originally Posted by Mom of 4:
I would have liked a clone! LOL Or 4. One could do menus, one paperwork, one could make lunch and snacks, and one could deal with parents while I played with kids all day!


The most helpful thing was a place that had form templates. I cannot remember the name of the site now, but it was really nice. I just put in my daycare name, changed whatever I wanted my contracts/forms to say, and print! Most of the work was done already and clued me in to a lot of policies/procedures I'd never have thought of on my own.

I would have LOVED to enroll online or take credit card/debit payments as well. I dont think I'll ever go back to doing child care again, but if I did, I think that having those options would eliminate "I forgot my money" comments. I could be like "Oh, well, let me swipe your card for you!"

OT> Yesterday, a mom of an infant came in after her sched time. She was quite rude because I refused to park in DCP's driveway since she's never said it was OK, so I moved to the side and told her to pull in if she had permission. We both go into get our kids. Of course, it's PAYDAY. The lady tells DCP that she can only pull $200 out of the ATM because she went shopping to buy her daughter a bunch of "fun" stuff! I was like !!
I know that most banks allow you to shop and swipe a card AND allow you to pull $400 per day out of an acc't. She LIED to the provider. And anyway, she had enough money to buy a bunch of "fun stuff" for her infant but not enough to pay the extra money she admitted she owed! Poor provider told her "It's ok, just have it Monday morning" and the lady told her she'd have it Thurs because she can't take $ from ATM on weekends! Which, seriously? I have NEVER heard of that! I wanted to say "LIAR" but I kept my mouth shut. I am sure DCP knows that the mom was lying anyway.
I think DCP doing a CC option could eliminate these payment issues.
Thanks for the reply! So sounds like top issues for you were:
1) Forms + paperwork
2) Tracking down payments

For #1, just to confirm, you were able to create and use your own forms?
Reply
SignMeUp 11:32 AM 06-15-2014
Originally Posted by CareHub:
Thanks for the additional detail. That's a huge amount of work to put on the provider! I see them all here.

What about daily forms like check in/out and logs for infants? I don't see them on the list. Are you able to use your own? And what kind of record keeping does MN require for them?

Would love to know if others also have pretty strict requirements in terms of forms. Thinking if there are ways to make it easier within the requirements.

Thanks!
Things change almost weekly here right now. At this moment, we are required to have sign in/sign out logs for all ages if we are on any government program, such as care paid for by the government, or the Food Program. But there is no required form for this at this time in my county or state, so I made my own. Some providers use an app, but it does not sound like most are fully functional, so I am going low-tech. Plus who knows if the app will be allowed, if they come out with a required form.
I also have an Infant Sleep Check form that I check off each time I check on my babies. We are "encouraged" to check on them, but no form is required at this time. However, like I said, things change a lot, so I like to have my ducks in a row.
And you can see on that list, there are more required forms for infants, to be used before swaddling, if an infant rolls before 6 months of age, and for any sleep position other than on their back.
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CareHub 12:08 PM 06-17-2014
Curious to know if others have pretty stringent state or local requirements similar to SignMeUp?

Also, if others are using apps for signing in/out.
Reply
CareHub 12:09 PM 06-17-2014
Originally Posted by SignMeUp:
Things change almost weekly here right now. At this moment, we are required to have sign in/sign out logs for all ages if we are on any government program, such as care paid for by the government, or the Food Program. But there is no required form for this at this time in my county or state, so I made my own. Some providers use an app, but it does not sound like most are fully functional, so I am going low-tech. Plus who knows if the app will be allowed, if they come out with a required form.
I also have an Infant Sleep Check form that I check off each time I check on my babies. We are "encouraged" to check on them, but no form is required at this time. However, like I said, things change a lot, so I like to have my ducks in a row.
And you can see on that list, there are more required forms for infants, to be used before swaddling, if an infant rolls before 6 months of age, and for any sleep position other than on their back.
Thanks, that's good to know. Do you have requirements around how long you need to keep hard copies of the required forms, as well as the daily forms you use? Seems like it would add up to a lot of paperwork?
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SignMeUp 05:49 PM 06-17-2014
I don't recall whether or not there are legal requirements. There are suggestions all the way from shredding immediately after a child leaves, to keeping everything forever.
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CareHub 04:45 PM 06-18-2014
Thanks for all the responses thus far. So biggest pain points I’ve heard seem to be:
-Documentation – daily, applications, etc
-Accounting and billing – getting payments on time, extra billing, etc.
-Families – managing needs and communication

Any other pain points that you experience that are missing here? Anything else that would be on your “wishlist”?

In terms of solutions, it MMK seems to be widely used. If you use it, does it address these things? What areas do you feel like it falls short?

Thank you!
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Tags:application, mmk, software for daycares, wish list
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