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  #1  
Old 05-05-2010, 07:19 AM
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Default Does Food Program Really Cover Food Costs?

Just wondering.... because I am signing up for the food program soon. If I have 6 children that eat Breakfast, Lunch and 1 snack Monday through Friday and am on the tier that gets paid the lowest amount per meal/child does it actually cover the cost of food?
From my research: Breakfast reimbursement rate: .44
Lunch reimbursement rate: 1.33
Snack reimbursement rate: .18
That's only $11.70 a day or $58.50 a week to feed 6 children.
How do you guys make that work? Is that enough money? How much do you guys spend a week? Just want to get a budget together so I know how much I need to set aside to spend out of pocket for groceries.
Cheap meal ideas.. that follow the food program guidelines anyone??
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:31 AM
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The food program is not meant to cover the entire cost of the meals children are served. The point is to HELP providers with the costs so that they are more likely so serve healthy meals and ensure that they meet minimum requirements.

We serve organic whole foods, being on the food program allows me to spend the extra money to purchase organic apples over applesauce or canned fruit in syrup.

Lots and lots of parents will pay a few dollars more each week for daycare that includes whole foods rather than processed and organics...it makes a great selling point for your daycare!
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:37 AM
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Jen is right. The check is very helpful each month & is much better then having to wait to the end of the year to claim it. You still get to claim the meals you serve at the end of the year just not as much since you are being reimbursed threw out the year.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:42 AM
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I wonder if I could get the food program even though I'm not licensed? In Ohio you don't have to be licensed.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:46 AM
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In Minnesota you have to be licensed. This is a federal program, so I assume that the basic rules apply to every state.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:56 AM
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Yes, for food program you have to be licensed. No exceptions.
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:03 AM
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Not at all. Honestly, with all the paperwork and then entering it onto their website, I don't think it is worth it. It is sooooooooooo much extra time and stress making sure they have just enough of this and that. Plus, I have families that don't allow their kids to drink milk and I have to still put it in front of them or get into trouble. So waste. Lots and lots of waste! The kids don't eat near all of what I am required to feed them. I am going to give it a try thru the summer (since I will be feeding so many more kids at each meal time). But I may not continue next school year.
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:05 AM
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I totally think it's worth it. I get over $800 a month in reimbursement. I couldn't feed the kids as well as I do without it. I enter attendance and meals at the end of every day on-line and that's it.
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:37 AM
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Ok thanks for replies. I understand it a little better. I will no longer look at it as to cover ALL expenses but simply reimburse me for part of my food expenses. What do you guys usually spend a week total for food for children and how many do you have in care?
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TGT09 View Post
I wonder if I could get the food program even though I'm not licensed? In Ohio you don't have to be licensed.
You're right...we don't have to be licensed in Ohio...but to be on a food program, you have to be affiliated with a sponsoring agency. Here in Central Ohio it's Action for Children. So to be on the food program here, you have to become one of AFCs registered daycare providers.
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by kpa0627 View Post
Ok thanks for replies. I understand it a little better. I will no longer look at it as to cover ALL expenses but simply reimburse me for part of my food expenses. What do you guys usually spend a week total for food for children and how many do you have in care?
We spend at least $40 to $50 extra a week. That is with clipping coupons and buying in bulk. So at LEAST an extra $200 a month. I don't get anywhere near that in reimbursement because of being on Tier 2, which I think is a crock.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:04 AM
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Oh really, I will be on tier 2 also and with 6 kids eating bfast, lunch and snack each day it ends up being 58.50 a week for reimbursement (that's if they are all here all 5 days!)
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by sahm2three View Post
Not at all. Honestly, with all the paperwork and then entering it onto their website, I don't think it is worth it. It is sooooooooooo much extra time and stress making sure they have just enough of this and that. Plus, I have families that don't allow their kids to drink milk and I have to still put it in front of them or get into trouble. So waste. Lots and lots of waste! The kids don't eat near all of what I am required to feed them. I am going to give it a try thru the summer (since I will be feeding so many more kids at each meal time). But I may not continue next school year.
I asked about the food waste when I first started with the food program. The answer I was given was that I have to "offer" the food. The children don't have to eat/drink it. I was also told I could feed the kids "family style" meaning I set the dishes out for each child, then put all of the food in the center of the table. The deal with that is I need to have enough food for each child a serving. So, if I have 6 kids and they all need to be offered 1/4c of green beans I cook up 1.5c of green beans, and set them on the table and dish up each child's individually. I know Johnny doesn't like green beans, but I put a few on his plate offering them to him. If he wants more his helping is available in the pot, yet not wasted.
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  #14  
Old 05-05-2010, 10:27 AM
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Default Food program...bah!!!

If I could go back in time and not have wasted my time with the food program, I would! I think it's more of a hassle than a helpful thing. My reimbursement is only slightly over $200 a month and I am almost always at capacity. I had a friend who had less kids in care (not counting her own 3) and she got about $800 a month. It's not like groceries cost any less for me to buy than for her! I hate getting the food program visits, especially when they are the unscheduled ones. I feel like I have to take too much attention away from my dcks and I really don't like that. I hate having to serve whole or 2% milk to the kids when I would much rather serve 1%. The food program check barely puts a scratch on my grocery bill. OK, vent over, lol!
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Pammie View Post
You're right...we don't have to be licensed in Ohio...but to be on a food program, you have to be affiliated with a sponsoring agency. Here in Central Ohio it's Action for Children. So to be on the food program here, you have to become one of AFCs registered daycare providers.
Awesome, thanks Pammie! I was hoping another Ohioan would chime in. :-) Any ideas on how to find a sponsoring agency in my area?? Google? I'm in the Cincy area.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:31 AM
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I spend right around $80-$100 each week just for daycare food/supplies. Take in mind that I buy mostly fresh and organic though.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpa0627 View Post
Ok thanks for replies. I understand it a little better. I will no longer look at it as to cover ALL expenses but simply reimburse me for part of my food expenses. What do you guys usually spend a week total for food for children and how many do you have in care?
April was my first month on the food program and I'm set to be reimbursed about $150 for April. I'm on the Tier that offers the least amount for each meal.

I have 6 dkcs (2 are my own girls and then 4 others). I spend on average $100-$125 week in groceries just for the daycare.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GretasLittleFriends View Post
I asked about the food waste when I first started with the food program. The answer I was given was that I have to "offer" the food. The children don't have to eat/drink it. I was also told I could feed the kids "family style" meaning I set the dishes out for each child, then put all of the food in the center of the table. The deal with that is I need to have enough food for each child a serving. So, if I have 6 kids and they all need to be offered 1/4c of green beans I cook up 1.5c of green beans, and set them on the table and dish up each child's individually. I know Johnny doesn't like green beans, but I put a few on his plate offering them to him. If he wants more his helping is available in the pot, yet not wasted.
Based on a suggestion in another post a while back (might have been from you GretasLittleFriends), I have been serving "family style" as well. Now there isn't nearly as much waste - especially since my son will usually eat most of what's left over.

Also, I did the math one time and I figured out the cost per serving of the actual meals that I served for a week it was VERY close to the reimbursement rate. I felt much better after that
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:29 PM
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twin mama,
do you get reimbursed for the meals you feed your girls?
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:36 PM
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Serving family style makes a huge difference.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:39 PM
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No one has mentioned family style to me. I had the food program rep here last week and we talked about how much waste and she said that it had to be put in front of them. Like on their plates in front of them. The kids don't eat near what they are supposed to. Most of them won't eat fruit and veggies. Do their parents really not feed it to them at home?! UGH!
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by kpa0627 View Post
twin mama,
do you get reimbursed for the meals you feed your girls?
Nope...even though they are eating the exact same meal. We're Tier II and I think that might have something to do with it. I'm so new to the program so I'm not really sure why they can't be claimed.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:52 PM
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Nope...even though they are eating the exact same meal. We're Tier II and I think that might have something to do with it. I'm so new to the program so I'm not really sure why they can't be claimed.
In my state, your children only qualify if you make under a certain amount of money per year.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:07 PM
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I believe you can register with the food program if you are a legally doing daycare with out being licensed through the state. Here we can watch 2 children or 1 family of children without a daycare license.
When my children were younger, I was reimbursed for their meals when I was on Tier II, but if you are Tier 1 or your children are school age, they do not qualify for reimbursement.
Currently I have between 6-8 kids throughout the week and my check in April was $228. Not a lot, but I put it towards my taxes.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:57 PM
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In my state, your children only qualify if you make under a certain amount of money per year.
I actually just got a call from the food program that they are trying to qualify me for Tier I which would be awesome! She said my kids would count and my check would more than double. That would definitely make it worth it! Hopefully they can get it to work!
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:11 PM
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Awesome, thanks Pammie! I was hoping another Ohioan would chime in. :-) Any ideas on how to find a sponsoring agency in my area?? Google? I'm in the Cincy area.
Try your county JFS office (Jobs and Family Services). They'd be able to tell you whether they handle registering family daycares or if they have another agency do it. While you have them on the phone, you can ask/check your tier level for food program reimbursement
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:07 PM
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Great, Thanks Pammie!
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:48 PM
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I spend approx $600 per month on groceries for family and daycare. I average approx $450 from the food program, over $5500 a year. I am mixed tiered with being tier 2 but most of my families are tier 1. Also at tax time I claim A LOT more meals than that because of the only two meal/one snack (and vice versa) and being open longer hours than most daycares, another $2500. That and the government allowable rate ends up being a BIG tax write off. Contact the food program in your area and ask questions. You don't have to join just because you contact them. For me it is a win/win. Also you can go onto the USDA.gov website and they have a multitude of answers plus you can find out the sponsoring agencies for your area.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by sahm2three View Post
Not at all. Honestly, with all the paperwork and then entering it onto their website, I don't think it is worth it. It is sooooooooooo much extra time and stress making sure they have just enough of this and that. Plus, I have families that don't allow their kids to drink milk and I have to still put it in front of them or get into trouble. So waste. Lots and lots of waste! The kids don't eat near all of what I am required to feed them. I am going to give it a try thru the summer (since I will be feeding so many more kids at each meal time). But I may not continue next school year.
I agree 100%. I'm in CA and I don't know how it works for everyone else but here I'm beginning to think that it's too much hassle just for reimbursement for SOME money. I buy groceries on seperate receipts for my family and my DC. A lot of it is the same food but I buy double and keep the receipts now and ONLY give DC food to DC kids. AT the end of the year I'll just claim all of my DC food and get it ALL back. I keep my families grocery receipts also to prove that I buy groceries for my own family.

Signing up for the food program was easy enough but I had one visit with the worker and she just gave me a bunch of papers and said here's what's allowed and sort of left to think about my own foods and menus. I feel that she didn't give me enough training. It's sort of like a sink or swim type of training. I learned everything I needed to know from other providers on the food program. You have to enter every child's information into a computer program that's connected to the internet so you HAVE to have internet connection. That's ok with me but what about those who don't? Anyway, the menus have to be entered in to this program weekly in advance and god forbid that you send them a menu plan and they come to your home and you changed one little thing on the menu. Even something as little as changing oranges to grapes instead for the fruit is a big no-no. At the end of each meal you have to enter in the info of who was here, who ate, what they ate etc. You can also do this at the end of the day for everyone but it has to be done THAT day. If there's a family emergency or you need to go out and do something after DC or just forget and you don't enter the info that day, you don't get paid for that day. They can also come in to your house whenever they want during your meal and snack times to check that you're feeding them properly. And heaven forbid that you're running late and they show up at lunch and the kids are not eating. You have to tell them what time your meal and snack times are and stick to them.

Not so long ago I started having park days twice a week since my home is walking distance to four really nice parks. We go to a different park each time to keep things interesting and we can be there for a few hours so I take beverages and lunch and snacks with us. The bad thing is that here in CA the food program doesn't cover any meals that are eaten out of the home even if you prepare it at home and pack it with you. Also you have to call them each time you are gone during a snack or mealtime so they don't accidentally show up while you are gone. Too much trouble if you ask me.
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:37 AM
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I also found it to be too much DRAMA with the constant changing of tiers/regulations (ketchup is a vegetable??!!), services losing their state contracts/having to start process all over, agents repeatedly getting lost trying to find my house/had to send someone to escort them, multiple unannounced (until they called to say they were lost) home visits, redundant paperwork and over-regulation.

I also lost the tax deductions...was not worth it for me, personally.
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Old 05-06-2010, 12:49 PM
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I am on my third month on the food program. I have 6 kids, but two are mine. I am on the tier that gets the higher rate which is great. But my kids dont qualify because you have to qualify by income.

My last check was $328 for the 4 kids. I think it is worth it but I do not count on that money each month. I just look at it as a little bonus. If I was on the lower tier I do not think I would do it.
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:27 AM
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I also found it to be too much DRAMA with the constant changing of tiers/regulations (ketchup is a vegetable??!!), services losing their state contracts/having to start process all over, agents repeatedly getting lost trying to find my house/had to send someone to escort them, multiple unannounced (until they called to say they were lost) home visits, redundant paperwork and over-regulation.

I also lost the tax deductions...was not worth it for me, personally.
You don't lose a tax deduction by joining the Food Program. Your food deduction does not change once you join the Food Program. That is, you can still deduct food using the standard meal allowance rate (or calculate your actual food expenses) whether or not you are on the Food Program. Therefore, you will always have more money (even after paying taxes on the reimbursements) when you join the Food Program.
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by kpa0627 View Post
Ok thanks for replies. I understand it a little better. I will no longer look at it as to cover ALL expenses but simply reimburse me for part of my food expenses. What do you guys usually spend a week total for food for children and how many do you have in care?
I have 3 children in care (I'm slower in the summer) and then my two girls and I spend about $150/week on groceries for my family and the childcare.

My check from the food program is only about $140/month so I don't know if I'm going to stick with it. I'm on the lowest tier and my own children don't count so I don't know if it's worth it for me.
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:24 PM
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Wow, I guess it is different for each state. I interviewed 3 different agencies/programs before I joined one. They were all basically the same because they are all funded through the USDA. However, one program did not have the option to submit things online. One program was online only. I chose the one that allowed either way because I wanted to have the option to submit everything via the mail IF my internet went down for some reason.

I have the option of planning menus in advance or just entering the foods and attendance at the end of the day. Even with the planned menus, I can change oranges to grapes when I do the paperwork (computer work) at the end of the day. So if they show up and see grapes, I just tell her that I planned for oranges, but we changed our minds and I will make the proper adjustment when I enter everything in the evening. No problem and I still get reimbursed. But I have a really awesome sponsor who is very laid back and used to be a home daycare provider. So maybe that helps, having a sponsor who understanding that flexibility is a necessity in home daycare. If we end up serving lunch at 11:45 instead of 12:00 on the dot, I can change that too. So I’m not LOCKED into the foods I serve or the times. I just make the proper adjustments when I record it at the end of the day. I’m not sure about preparing a meal or snack and doing a picnic elsewhere. From the way I understand it, the reimbursement is based on the fact that I am providing the food, paying for it, and serving it. Also, I get reimbursed for feeding infants even if the parents provide the formula. I have to “offer” a brand of formula, but if the family uses another brand (which has always been the case for me), they sign a waiver, then I get reimbursed. It was explained to me that since we have to take the time to actually hold the baby and feed him/her (instead of propping up the bottle) and also preparing the bottle, it is just as time consuming as preparing a meal for older children and therefore, it’s worthy of reimbursement. As for calling them if we will be out of the house, I don’t see a problem with this. After all, I hate going to see someone and find out they are not there and I wasted my time and gas. So, I see it as a respect thing. I would feel awful if my sponsor showed up and I wasn’t here.

Also, for the first year, I got reimbursed for my DD because our income was low enough. Then we got “kicked off” of claiming our DD because my husband got a raise and I got more clients, which increased our income, making us ineligible. Now, when our twins are born in Nov., we will probably be able to starting claiming the twins and DD since we will jump to a family of 5, with a higher income eligibility cut-off. Also, I am in Tier 1, the highest tier. So this will be a HUGE benefit. The only rule there is that I can only claim the meals that I serve my kids if I am also claiming at least 1 DC kid for that meal/snack. And I'm still limited to 2 meals and a snack OR a meal and 2 snacks per day.

But I think the biggest benefit to the food program is the record keeping. I upgraded to Minute Menu Pro, which has a lot of features. I log in each DCK’s sign in and sign out times each day. It will calculate my time-space percentage based on my actual hours of operation. I can also record all my expenses. Then at tax time, it will print out reports showing how much I spent for various categories, such as office supplies, toys, or advertising (to name a few). There is even a mileage calculator where I can enter the miles I use to run to the bank to make deposits, trips to the grocery store, field trips, etc. Then it calculates a time-space percentage for my car mileage, so I can deduct some of my car insurance, fuel, and upkeep. Basically, it makes tax time MUCH less painful and a LOT more organized for me. I can also print out all my tax reports for all my families at the end of the year in less than 5 minutes. I do my invoices to the parents and print those out in record time. These are just a few of the amenities of that program. I absolutely love it and would be lost without this software that is specifically designed for home daycare providers.

Can it be a pain in the neck to log everything in all the time? Sure. But it sure beats the full day, mind-numbing, migraine-causing nightmare of adding everything up on my own at tax time. And it will need to be done, whether I am on the food program or not. I just adore the fact that the program does so much of the calculations, forms, and recording for me. At tax time, I just print some reports, plug the numbers into my tax software, and I’m done.

But, it appears that the different agencies in different states have different rules, so check with your sponsors. Also, check with the different agencies to see who you like more.
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:26 AM
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Yes I agree, check with them first about how it works. I used to do food program but it was awful. I just quit not too long ago. They were so nit-picky about schedules and menu's that it was too much trouble for just being reimbursed for part of my costs. I prefer to buy the food myself for daycare and pay my families food on a seperate receipt and then claim all of the DC food at the end of the year like I used to do. It was nice being reimbursed monthly and all instead of yearly but I hated having to stay at home for the meals to count. We like to take walks to the park and have picnic lunches which I prepare at home and take with us but in my area only meals eaten at home count. That means I couldn't count at least 2 lunches a week. That's a lot of lunches in a year and considering that right now I don't have any kids arriving before 9am so I also don't need to serve breakfast. Not to mention how they freak out if your menu says bananas and you serve apples instead . "Oh no, food program is giving birth to a water buffalo in my kitchen right now" was my thought when this happened once. I still follow their nutritional guidelines but I'm not signed up anymore.
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:15 AM
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Wow, I guess it is different for each state. I interviewed 3 different agencies/programs before I joined one. They were all basically the same because they are all funded through the USDA. However, one program did not have the option to submit things online. One program was online only. I chose the one that allowed either way because I wanted to have the option to submit everything via the mail IF my internet went down for some reason.

I have the option of planning menus in advance or just entering the foods and attendance at the end of the day. Even with the planned menus, I can change oranges to grapes when I do the paperwork (computer work) at the end of the day. So if they show up and see grapes, I just tell her that I planned for oranges, but we changed our minds and I will make the proper adjustment when I enter everything in the evening. No problem and I still get reimbursed. But I have a really awesome sponsor who is very laid back and used to be a home daycare provider. So maybe that helps, having a sponsor who understanding that flexibility is a necessity in home daycare. If we end up serving lunch at 11:45 instead of 12:00 on the dot, I can change that too. So I’m not LOCKED into the foods I serve or the times. I just make the proper adjustments when I record it at the end of the day. I’m not sure about preparing a meal or snack and doing a picnic elsewhere. From the way I understand it, the reimbursement is based on the fact that I am providing the food, paying for it, and serving it. Also, I get reimbursed for feeding infants even if the parents provide the formula. I have to “offer” a brand of formula, but if the family uses another brand (which has always been the case for me), they sign a waiver, then I get reimbursed. It was explained to me that since we have to take the time to actually hold the baby and feed him/her (instead of propping up the bottle) and also preparing the bottle, it is just as time consuming as preparing a meal for older children and therefore, it’s worthy of reimbursement. As for calling them if we will be out of the house, I don’t see a problem with this. After all, I hate going to see someone and find out they are not there and I wasted my time and gas. So, I see it as a respect thing. I would feel awful if my sponsor showed up and I wasn’t here.

Also, for the first year, I got reimbursed for my DD because our income was low enough. Then we got “kicked off” of claiming our DD because my husband got a raise and I got more clients, which increased our income, making us ineligible. Now, when our twins are born in Nov., we will probably be able to starting claiming the twins and DD since we will jump to a family of 5, with a higher income eligibility cut-off. Also, I am in Tier 1, the highest tier. So this will be a HUGE benefit. The only rule there is that I can only claim the meals that I serve my kids if I am also claiming at least 1 DC kid for that meal/snack. And I'm still limited to 2 meals and a snack OR a meal and 2 snacks per day.

But I think the biggest benefit to the food program is the record keeping. I upgraded to Minute Menu Pro, which has a lot of features. I log in each DCK’s sign in and sign out times each day. It will calculate my time-space percentage based on my actual hours of operation. I can also record all my expenses. Then at tax time, it will print out reports showing how much I spent for various categories, such as office supplies, toys, or advertising (to name a few). There is even a mileage calculator where I can enter the miles I use to run to the bank to make deposits, trips to the grocery store, field trips, etc. Then it calculates a time-space percentage for my car mileage, so I can deduct some of my car insurance, fuel, and upkeep. Basically, it makes tax time MUCH less painful and a LOT more organized for me. I can also print out all my tax reports for all my families at the end of the year in less than 5 minutes. I do my invoices to the parents and print those out in record time. These are just a few of the amenities of that program. I absolutely love it and would be lost without this software that is specifically designed for home daycare providers.

Can it be a pain in the neck to log everything in all the time? Sure. But it sure beats the full day, mind-numbing, migraine-causing nightmare of adding everything up on my own at tax time. And it will need to be done, whether I am on the food program or not. I just adore the fact that the program does so much of the calculations, forms, and recording for me. At tax time, I just print some reports, plug the numbers into my tax software, and I’m done.

But, it appears that the different agencies in different states have different rules, so check with your sponsors. Also, check with the different agencies to see who you like more.
Word. For. Word.

I seriously could have written this out...even about our sponsor!!
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:32 AM
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You don't lose a tax deduction by joining the Food Program. Your food deduction does not change once you join the Food Program. That is, you can still deduct food using the standard meal allowance rate (or calculate your actual food expenses) whether or not you are on the Food Program. Therefore, you will always have more money (even after paying taxes on the reimbursements) when you join the Food Program.
That's right you don't lose the deduction but you have to claim the Food Program reimbursement amount as income and for me I'd rather get reimbursed at the end of the year (tax deduction) rather than have to go through the trouble and negligence of the Food Program regulations and it's staff. They are constantly losing my paperwork, snooping through places that have no food , offer no training other than a folder with some papers in it and when you mess up (well duh if I'd have known that before I wouldn't have done it that way) and getting mixed information from each person I make contact with. I finally got the hang of it with one worker and then they changed my representative and that one said that pretty much everything that the other lady told me was wrong and I finally just gave up.

I did however sign up for Minute Menu Pro because I loved it!! We had it included (and didn't pay for it) with the food program but it was just so awsome that when I dropped the food program I had to sign up for it. For a $70 initial first year sign-up fee and only $40 to renew each year you can't go wrong. I do EVERYTHING on that program.
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:02 PM
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I LOVE the food program. My case manager is AWESOME...I have had the same one for 13 years, and I never mind her dropping in. She has never checked my fridge or cupboards, and most times she comes when it is not even mealtime. I could not feed the children as well as I do without the food program. The paperwork is really very minimal....no more time consuming than coming on here and making a couple of posts
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:06 AM
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I LOVE the food program. My case manager is AWESOME...I have had the same one for 13 years, and I never mind her dropping in. She has never checked my fridge or cupboards, and most times she comes when it is not even mealtime. I could not feed the children as well as I do without the food program. The paperwork is really very minimal....no more time consuming than coming on here and making a couple of posts
Psht. Can I have your worker? If I didn't have so much trouble with our areas food program maybe i would have stuck to it. I just keep my receipts. It really wasn't just one thing only. It was everything. The paperwork really wasn't that hard for me or not a lot if I only had to fill it out once but they lost my paperwork several times (once I had to fill out the same set of paperwork four times because they lost it three times) and it was just frustrating.
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Old 07-25-2016, 02:02 PM
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Just wondering...if daycare requires me to provide my own formula for my infant, why are they also requiring me to have my doctor fill out food program paperwork so they can get an extra $100/month from the state? That $100 isn't going to feed my kid, so where is it going and what's that about?? If the state is willing to pay for formula, would be nice if they would help out the parents who are actually buying the expensive stuff in the first place!!
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Old 07-25-2016, 02:10 PM
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Just wondering...if daycare requires me to provide my own formula for my infant, why are they also requiring me to have my doctor fill out food program paperwork so they can get an extra $100/month from the state? That $100 isn't going to feed my kid, so where is it going and what's that about?? If the state is willing to pay for formula, would be nice if they would help out the parents who are actually buying the expensive stuff in the first place!!
Well I would ask your provider about it. I mean are you wanting a different kind of formula than your provider provides? Is the provider providing other foods? You are not required by the food program to sign your child up, but that may be a deal breaker with your provider. And every sponsor is different it seems with the food program. So these are things you should be discussing with your provider. For me when I was on the food program, I didn't put my infants on it, but I also didn't provide ANY food for children under 12 months. At 12 months, I require them to be eating the meals and snacks I serve, and be drinking from a cup, as I don't allow bottles or baby foods after 12 months unless a doctor prescribes it for a medical reason. At 12 months if you didn't sign your child up, they couldn't stay at my daycare. But I am not on the food program now.

ETA: When I was on the food program it did help defray costs and keep my rates down a bit.
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Old 07-25-2016, 02:19 PM
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Yes, for food program you have to be licensed. No exceptions.
In TN you can be licensed exempt... I was on the program a few years ago and just talked to my old sponsor ( she voted for my childcare thru CityView Best of the Best) - she wants me back because she loved my menus.
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Old 07-25-2016, 02:23 PM
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In TN you can be licensed exempt... I was on the program a few years ago and just talked to my old sponsor ( she voted for my childcare thru CityView Best of the Best) - she wants me back because she loved my menus.
That does seem to vary by state and sometimes sponsor.
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Old 07-25-2016, 02:33 PM
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In TN you can be licensed exempt... I was on the program a few years ago and just talked to my old sponsor ( she voted for my childcare thru CityView Best of the Best) - she wants me back because she loved my menus.
I am sure things are different now.

You quoted a post from 2010.
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Old 07-25-2016, 02:35 PM
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Just wondering...if daycare requires me to provide my own formula for my infant, why are they also requiring me to have my doctor fill out food program paperwork so they can get an extra $100/month from the state? That $100 isn't going to feed my kid, so where is it going and what's that about?? If the state is willing to pay for formula, would be nice if they would help out the parents who are actually buying the expensive stuff in the first place!!
The food program requires programs to offer ONE choice of formula. If parents decline (for what ever reasons) then the parent must supply the formula.

The provider is reimbursed for rounding out the meal components such as adding fruits, veggies, grains and/or cereals.

Providers are also reimbursed for feeding (serving) the bottle. It still takes time to prepare and feed.

The government DOES have a program that helps pay for formula. It's called WIC

Last edited by Blackcat31; 07-25-2016 at 05:01 PM. Reason: fixed link
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Old 07-25-2016, 02:40 PM
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That does seem to vary by state and sometimes sponsor.
I know for a fact IL (registered providers that take Subsidy) and Vermont also allow it... I was on it in IL as a registered home, not fully licensed. the Food program has revamped some of it's rules allowing some states that have extremely high #;s of license exempt & POOR...
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Old 07-25-2016, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JustWondering View Post
Just wondering...if daycare requires me to provide my own formula for my infant, why are they also requiring me to have my doctor fill out food program paperwork so they can get an extra $100/month from the state? That $100 isn't going to feed my kid, so where is it going and what's that about?? If the state is willing to pay for formula, would be nice if they would help out the parents who are actually buying the expensive stuff in the first place!!
Who is getting an extra $100 a month per child? I want to move there! The food program covers 20%-25% of my food costs. The state doesn't pay for formula, I do. The state pays me to feed the babies and to ensure that kids have balanced meals (provided by me). They subsidize this with my food program check. I get 48 cents for breakfast, $1.50 for lunch, and 20 cents for snack for most kids.

What is the doctor filling out paperwork for? Does your child have an allergy that requires a specific formula or a medical condition that requires a different diet than that prescribed by the food program? As already mentioned, we DO have to offer formula, however, we only have to offer ONE formula. If a child can't drink it or the parents prefer a different one, then the parent would have to provide formula. Also, as already mentioned, we get paid to feed the bottle to the infants, as well.
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Old 07-25-2016, 05:26 PM
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I LOVE the food program. My case manager is AWESOME...I have had the same one for 13 years, and I never mind her dropping in. She has never checked my fridge or cupboards, and most times she comes when it is not even mealtime. I could not feed the children as well as I do without the food program. The paperwork is really very minimal....no more time consuming than coming on here and making a couple of posts
My thoughts exactly! I'm in a low income school district so I'm on the higher tier.
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:17 PM
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My thoughts exactly! I'm in a low income school district so I'm on the higher tier.
If I decide to rejoin I am on the high tier also just because of area; I am in a state that allows licensed exempt providers to be on the food program.
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:26 PM
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This discussion always irks me, as the people who love it are always Tier 1

Tier 2 is hardly worth it, and the difference between an extra $10K a year to me, or $1800. Sure, $1800 is great....BUT it's a lot of visits, I have to fill out paperwork every day (FP doesn't accept online submission over here), and I'm always making the simplest mistakes, which would be caught by computer, but not when I write it out. So I can easily lose a week of money because I made a simple error (they are super strict). So I don't make $1800. Maybe $1200.

On another note, child care providers are not rich. We are not stealing money from the food program and running to Maui.
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:30 PM
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This discussion always irks me, as the people who love it are always Tier 1

Tier 2 is hardly worth it, and the difference between an extra $10K a year to me, or $1800. Sure, $1800 is great....BUT it's a lot of visits, I have to fill out paperwork every day (FP doesn't accept online submission over here), and I'm always making the simplest mistakes, which would be caught by computer, but not when I write it out. So I can easily lose a week of money because I made a simple error (they are super strict). So I don't make $1800. Maybe $1200.

On another note, child care providers are not rich. We are not stealing money from the food program and running to Maui.
LOL yeah that is for sure, can you imagine the parents when they found out we were going on that vacation?
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Old 07-26-2016, 04:29 AM
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This discussion always irks me, as the people who love it are always Tier 1

Tier 2 is hardly worth it, and the difference between an extra $10K a year to me, or $1800. Sure, $1800 is great....BUT it's a lot of visits, I have to fill out paperwork every day (FP doesn't accept online submission over here), and I'm always making the simplest mistakes, which would be caught by computer, but not when I write it out. So I can easily lose a week of money because I made a simple error (they are super strict). So I don't make $1800. Maybe $1200.

On another note, child care providers are not rich. We are not stealing money from the food program and running to Maui.
I'll admit I didn't love it when I was tier 2. Right before I was bumped up, DH and I had seriously discussed being done with the FP and having parents provide the meals.
Personally, I think in-homes SHOULD be tier 1, especially as the food program is pushed heavily to licensed providers (and most state regulations about food are food program ones)

That said, I have been on long enough to make it work so I do MAKE money (which helps immensely because the $2 per hour you make off each child's tuition hardly covers it)
There is a health food store that sells organic oatmeal in bulk. You can get a 5 or 10 pound bag (I haven't had to buy in a while) for pretty cheap. And oatmeal is CHEAP to serve and lasts in airtight containers forever. Plain oatmeal, oatmeal pancakes, hm granola, oatmeal cookies for a rare treat, etc etc Chicken is another one - our grocery store has sales where boneless chicken breasts are $1.99/lb. I stock up. Grilled chicken, hm nuggets, hm chicken soup, chicken tacos/quesadillas, etc etc
Otherwise it wouldn't be worth it. And frankly, it's none of my clients business what I do with the money I make. Just as its none of my business what they do with theirs.
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Old 07-26-2016, 04:34 AM
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I'll admit I didn't love it when I was tier 2. Right before I was bumped up, DH and I had seriously discussed being done with the FP and having parents provide the meals.
Personally, I think in-homes SHOULD be tier 1, especially as the food program is pushed heavily to licensed providers (and most state regulations about food are food program ones)

That said, I have been on long enough to make it work so I do MAKE money (which helps immensely because the $2 per hour you make off each child's tuition hardly covers it)
There is a health food store that sells organic oatmeal in bulk. You can get a 5 or 10 pound bag (I haven't had to buy in a while) for pretty cheap. And oatmeal is CHEAP to serve and lasts in airtight containers forever. Plain oatmeal, oatmeal pancakes, hm granola, oatmeal cookies for a rare treat, etc etc Chicken is another one - our grocery store has sales where boneless chicken breasts are $1.99/lb. I stock up. Grilled chicken, hm nuggets, hm chicken soup, chicken tacos/quesadillas, etc etc
Otherwise it wouldn't be worth it. And frankly, it's none of my clients business what I do with the money I make. Just as its none of my business what they do with theirs.
I am pretty frugal and creative in the kitchen as well. I am going to have to look up the pancakes though. Not that regular ones are expensive or anything, but it would be something new for the kids to try and I always have oatmeal.
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:23 AM
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This discussion always irks me, as the people who love it are always Tier 1

Tier 2 is hardly worth it, and the difference between an extra $10K a year to me, or $1800. Sure, $1800 is great....BUT it's a lot of visits, I have to fill out paperwork every day (FP doesn't accept online submission over here), and I'm always making the simplest mistakes, which would be caught by computer, but not when I write it out. So I can easily lose a week of money because I made a simple error (they are super strict). So I don't make $1800. Maybe $1200.

On another note, child care providers are not rich. We are not stealing money from the food program and running to Maui.
Which FP are you / were you on that makes you use paper? The 3 in my part of MI are all minute menu.
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:31 AM
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I'll admit I didn't love it when I was tier 2. Right before I was bumped up, DH and I had seriously discussed being done with the FP and having parents provide the meals.
Personally, I think in-homes SHOULD be tier 1, especially as the food program is pushed heavily to licensed providers (and most state regulations about food are food program ones)

That said, I have been on long enough to make it work so I do MAKE money (which helps immensely because the $2 per hour you make off each child's tuition hardly covers it)
There is a health food store that sells organic oatmeal in bulk. You can get a 5 or 10 pound bag (I haven't had to buy in a while) for pretty cheap. And oatmeal is CHEAP to serve and lasts in airtight containers forever. Plain oatmeal, oatmeal pancakes, hm granola, oatmeal cookies for a rare treat, etc etc Chicken is another one - our grocery store has sales where boneless chicken breasts are $1.99/lb. I stock up. Grilled chicken, hm nuggets, hm chicken soup, chicken tacos/quesadillas, etc etc
Otherwise it wouldn't be worth it. And frankly, it's none of my clients business what I do with the money I make. Just as its none of my business what they do with theirs.
I come out making money in the end as well. I try and shop smart and plan my menu out BEFORE I go to the store.
I use fresh organic ingredients only. Everything I buy is Organic AND Natural/Real food
I am not sure if it would be worth the amount of work for Tier 2 rates.
My monitor is great, I actually enjoy visiting with her.
My menu and what I serve wouldn't change if I decided to leave the FP.
However, the amount of work that it takes just to enroll a child is crazy. I use a Mac, and of course were still using the ancient grandmother that is MM.
The Kids 2 go app constantly crashes, it can take me up to 40 minutes some evenings just to get through recording one days meals for 8-9 kids.
I have been told for over a year now that the update is coming our way, any month now, etc etc.
If I lost my Tier 1 status I would really have to consider if it would be worth staying on the fp. At this point I don't think I would.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:22 AM
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I'll admit I didn't love it when I was tier 2. Right before I was bumped up, DH and I had seriously discussed being done with the FP and having parents provide the meals.
Personally, I think in-homes SHOULD be tier 1, especially as the food program is pushed heavily to licensed providers (and most state regulations about food are food program ones)

That said, I have been on long enough to make it work so I do MAKE money (which helps immensely because the $2 per hour you make off each child's tuition hardly covers it)
There is a health food store that sells organic oatmeal in bulk. You can get a 5 or 10 pound bag (I haven't had to buy in a while) for pretty cheap. And oatmeal is CHEAP to serve and lasts in airtight containers forever. Plain oatmeal, oatmeal pancakes, hm granola, oatmeal cookies for a rare treat, etc etc Chicken is another one - our grocery store has sales where boneless chicken breasts are $1.99/lb. I stock up. Grilled chicken, hm nuggets, hm chicken soup, chicken tacos/quesadillas, etc etc
Otherwise it wouldn't be worth it. And frankly, it's none of my clients business what I do with the money I make. Just as its none of my business what they do with theirs.
I am tier 2, I don't make money, but I am reimbursed about 1/2 my childcare food program costs.

If I decided to stop doing the FP, then I would have parents provide meals and reduce my rates a small amount.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:27 AM
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Back when I was on it, I didn't know I could also tax deduct food costs. I was on the higher tier then also. This was before it was done online at all, and I seem to remember it being somewhat a hassle. Before that, DH had done all of our grocery shopping, and he quit saying I had gotten where he couldn't keep track what to buy due to the food program lol. I am not sure how much work it is now, but from what I know about dietary stuff now, I know much of what they allowed or called "healthy" wasn't really. I make much better choices for my own family than I did then, because I know better now. But if I wanted to feed kids like I do now, I am not sure I would find the lower tier worth it either.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:52 AM
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I'm tier 2 and it's hardly any work at all. I have 12 children enrolled each day...more overall since I have mostly part timers.

Totally worth it here. If I was being reimbursed more than I am now then I would be in love with the program.
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Old 07-26-2016, 11:40 AM
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Which FP are you / were you on that makes you use paper? The 3 in my part of MI are all minute menu.
No one has been able to get me online in almost 3 years. 2 different FP companies and several people out to my home. Sooooo frustrated. The FP has never been anything but a giant pain in my rear end, and I really don't like people in my home, disrupting my day and making my kids crazy. They always come at lunch. It's my craziest time and I'm pulling my hair out, trying to feed 6 kids, while someone sits on my couch and takes notes. Bite me FP.
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Old 07-27-2016, 09:24 AM
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Default food program

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Originally Posted by midaycare View Post
This discussion always irks me, as the people who love it are always Tier 1

Tier 2 is hardly worth it, and the difference between an extra $10K a year to me, or $1800. Sure, $1800 is great....BUT it's a lot of visits, I have to fill out paperwork every day (FP doesn't accept online submission over here), and I'm always making the simplest mistakes, which would be caught by computer, but not when I write it out. So I can easily lose a week of money because I made a simple error (they are super strict). So I don't make $1800. Maybe $1200.

On another note, child care providers are not rich. We are not stealing money from the food program and running to Maui.
$1,200 is still better than a kick in the teeth! If you spent 5 hours a week doing Food Program paperwork and had four children and served breakfast, lunch and snack each day, you would be earning $8.72 per hour. I can't think of many other ways you can earn this much in your situation.

By the way, if you want, you can run off to Maui and attend a family child care conference in December where I'll be speaking for two days: https://zepedalearning.org/conferenc...i-hawaii-2016/
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Old 07-27-2016, 09:26 AM
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By the way, if you want, you can run off to Maui and attend a family child care conference in December where I'll be speaking for two days: https://zepedalearning.org/conferenc...i-hawaii-2016/
....and it's a business write off if we go right????


Hmm, I wonder if Michael would chip in for all of us to go!
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Old 07-27-2016, 10:27 AM
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midaycare midaycare is offline
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Originally Posted by TomCopeland View Post
$1,200 is still better than a kick in the teeth! If you spent 5 hours a week doing Food Program paperwork and had four children and served breakfast, lunch and snack each day, you would be earning $8.72 per hour. I can't think of many other ways you can earn this much in your situation.

By the way, if you want, you can run off to Maui and attend a family child care conference in December where I'll be speaking for two days:
If you said to me, "Hey, take this client for an extra hour each day, and you will make almost $9 per hour, but have to stay open later," I'd say, "No thank you!" You are talking about the value of time vs. money. I value time more than money.

Now, if the FP could get me on the computer and I could do it during naptime, then yeah, it would be worth it.

As for Maui, I will have to skip that one - heading to an island off of Portugal in March We do love to travel! I've been to Kauai, but not Maui. It is my favorite place in the world.

Last edited by Blackcat31; 07-27-2016 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 07-27-2016, 01:43 PM
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I think it depends on your situation. In WI licensing requires the same food guidelines as the food program, so you might as well be on the food program and get reimbursed for the food you'd have to feed the kids anyway. But if you're not required to follow similar guidelines you may decide it's not worth it.
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Old 07-27-2016, 01:43 PM
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Default Kauai

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Originally Posted by midaycare View Post
If you said to me, "Hey, take this client for an extra hour each day, and you will make almost $9 per hour, but have to stay open later," I'd say, "No thank you!" You are talking about the value of time vs. money. I value time more than money.

Now, if the FP could get me on the computer and I could do it during naptime, then yeah, it would be worth it.

As for Maui, I will have to skip that one - heading to an island off of Portugal in March We do love to travel! I've been to Kauai, but not Maui. It is my favorite place in the world.
Yes, it's a good idea to value your time vs. money. Kauai is also my favorite island by far! We stay there every December.
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Old 07-29-2016, 05:44 PM
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Default I agree

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Originally Posted by sahm2three View Post
Not at all. Honestly, with all the paperwork and then entering it onto their website, I don't think it is worth it. It is sooooooooooo much extra time and stress making sure they have just enough of this and that. Plus, I have families that don't allow their kids to drink milk and I have to still put it in front of them or get into trouble. So waste. Lots and lots of waste! The kids don't eat near all of what I am required to feed them. I am going to give it a try thru the summer (since I will be feeding so many more kids at each meal time). But I may not continue next school year.
I agree!! It all depends on what paying tier you are in and if you have parents in the higher paying tier. Time is valuable, and the amount received was far less than the cost for groceries as well as the time. I still do a weekly menu for my parents, but it says on there that it is always subject to change.
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