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Old 11-12-2019, 01:13 PM
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Default Are These Programs Worth It?

I've been considering joining the food program and our local Quality Counts program, but wanted some opinions on if it's worth the time/effort.

Currently, my families send a packed lunch for their kids that they start eating at morning snack and then finish at lunchtime. I'm not thrilled with what shows up in the lunchboxes and sometimes it's a struggle to get my 20mo ds to eat his food after he sees theirs, so I see the upside to providing food, but I'm thinking only if I qualify for tier 1 reimbursement. Our assigned elementary school is listed as a Community Eligibility Provision school, which means "All students at these schools automatically qualify for a free breakfast and lunch daily. Families do not have to submit the Free & Reduced Meal application." Would this qualify us for tier 1? Would my 2 sons qualify under this too or would their eligibility be based upon our income?

The Quality Counts program is our county's QIRS program and I've read multiple posts here about the headaches involved and additional requirements. However, our program lists the ERS/CLASS assessments and Quality Ratings Binder as optional. If part of the program, there are financial incentives to attending workshops (which I'm already attending) and visits every few months from the resource center. I've already met with the representative a couple of times and I get along well with her, she's friendly and helpful.

A year ago I had never even considered being licensed; I've worked 3 years legally license-exempt caring for multiple families a week, but only one at a time, until my families asked me to become licensed so I could watch them at the same time. My license was approved just last month so this is all still new to me, but I'm looking at at least 3 years with my current families so I figure I should do what I can to improve without giving myself unnecessary trouble.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:34 PM
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Would this qualify us for tier 1? Would my 2 sons qualify under this too or would their eligibility be based upon our income?

.
Yes, it would, or should. My local school low income qualifies me for teir 1 for dck. However, my and DH income determines if I get reimbursed for our kids.

I am part of QRIS for my state. Each state is different. I did it for the bonus the first year and a grant when I renewed. Currently, I have some state pay kids, my state pays more based on the number of stars I have. So I would take a big pay cut if I do not renew. Some of the things that I agree to, are things that I already do. Like being signed with the FP, taking my classes, brushing the kids' teeth, going outside with the kids..... I feel that most providers will at least get one star based on what they already do.

Contact the QRIS team and ask them to come out to go over the pros and cons of the program and then decide on what is best for you.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:45 PM
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It will depend on your families enrolled, not so much the school district. My local school district qualifies for the higher reimbursement rate but I do not. If your son's qualify for free/reduced lunch in school, they may qualify.

You can write off meals served whether you join the food program or not just based on meal counts. Most providers do benefit from it, though.
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Old 11-12-2019, 09:47 PM
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As far as the food program goes, it's free money with little effort needed whether you're Tier I or II, so I can't see why you wouldn't want to participate. Eligibility for the higher tier reimbursement here is determined by the grade school for your area.

Having kids bring their own meals sounds like a nightmare to me, so much more work than feeding them all the same meal.
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
It will depend on your families enrolled, not so much the school district. My local school district qualifies for the higher reimbursement rate but I do not. If your son's qualify for free/reduced lunch in school, they may qualify.

You can write off meals served whether you join the food program or not just based on meal counts. Most providers do benefit from it, though.
This must vary by state because I get tier one for the next 5 years because the school district that I live in is low income.

Our state allows us to choose the school we want our kids to attend and we choose the neighboring school district for our dd, (the one my dck live in) That school is not considered low income. If my tier was based on the dck school district, I would be tier two.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:10 PM
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This must vary by state because I get tier one for the next 5 years because the school district that I live in is low income.

Our state allows us to choose the school we want our kids to attend and we choose the neighboring school district for our dd, (the one my dck live in) That school is not considered low income. If my tier was based on the dck school district, I would be tier two.
I was thinking it must vary by state, too, because here it's based on the school district you live in. Prior to moving to the house we live in now, we were in a lower income school district so I was reimbursed at Tier 1 rates. We moved to a higher income school district and I was switched to Tier 2 rates. If I had a family that qualified as low income, I could have had them fill out paperwork and I would have been reimbursed at Tier 1 rates for that one family's child/children. If my own income had met their lower income standards, I could have claimed my own kids when I fed them with the day care kids but since my income didn't meet the qualification set for low income, they would not have qualified so I could not claim them.

Whether or not it's worth joining a food program probably depends on how many kids you care for and whether you're paid at Tier 1 or Tier 2 rates. Up until recently, my thought was that since I was paying for the food anyway, I may as well be reimbursed for some of it. I also liked the food program I belonged to and most of the representatives who did my home visits. If I were still on Tier 1 reimbursement, it might have been worth my while to stay with the food program. I just got tired of jumping through their hoops for little reimbursement Tier 2 gave me.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:43 PM
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For us, its the school or the census. I am on the lower paid tier and people 3 miles from me get the higher tier. I still do it because I wouldn't feed the kids any differently. I put the money into my retirement account.

I participate in our current program called Parent Aware. I earned $3,500 For 25 hours of work once and am going through it again. If the program changes to rules I don't like, I will quit. Right now, it's worth it for me,
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:49 PM
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I would just keep your currant program.There is more work involved with making,buying food and then filling out all the forms .Not worth it to me.Parents in centers often send lunches.
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Old 11-13-2019, 07:43 PM
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My food program offer incentives for signing. I get free a 5-hour conference in the winter and online classes plus one-hour training for being on the food program. It is enough to take care of all my state required classes.


Other food programs offer other incentives for signing with them.
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