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  #1  
Old 03-20-2019, 10:10 AM
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Question Potential Daycare Billing Fraud

Hello, I'm new here and am hoping to get a few unbiased opinions or suggestions. I am the non-custodial parent of a child who lives with his mother. She makes all the decisions on daycare and sadly the daycare treats me as if I am nothing more than an ATM not a parent. Last year when my child began attending school, the daycare began to sit on my checks and was only cashing a few of them even though I was told my child was still attending daycare before work.
I asked the daycare to give me an accounting for all billing and payments and they all of a sudden told me I was hundreds of dollars behind in payments! (They said the rates had changed a year before). Because the daycare never sent a single statement to me for 18 months I had no idea I was behind. The custodial parent began harassing me and threatened to get an attorney involved for the delinquent balance I had not been aware of, and said the day care wouldn't accept my child because of my balance (even though the balance was from a year prior).
I asked the daycare to confirm this, asked why they had never send late notices or contacted me to let me know and they refuse to respond. I was given a statement of account and asked to bring the account current, which I did. (It seemed odd to me that the account was delinquent, but they were not cashing half the checks I was sending them.)
I immediately sent them the amount they requested to bring the account current. That was 3 months ago, and they still have not cashed the checks and won't respond to emails and phone calls asking if the money has been applied to the account or why they aren't depositing the checks.
My wife and I both think the custodial parent and the daycare are involved in some kind of billing fraud. The custodial parent refused to release her day care billing to me and said it was "private" even though we both pay half. Because the daycare had not been cashing checks last year and is apparently refusing to cash the check for money sent, I believe my child has not actually been attending daycare for some time and/or isn't attending daily as I've been told. It seems the daycare falsified the records at the request of the custodial parent to aid in her attempt to extort a favor out of me (it didnt work), and now is not cashing the checks to avoid being complicit in fraud.
Is there anything else that could be going on here? I can't get an honest response from the custodial parent or the daycare, and am wondering how long I should just keep sending checks, without getting statements, or anything resembling normal accounting, no idea of what my child's actual attendance is, etc.
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:46 AM
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Cat Herder Cat Herder is offline
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I would stop all payments by check immediately, schedule an appointment and request *nicely* they separate out each parent payment account. You should not share an account with your ex. This is a recipe for high conflict.

I would then try to use an online payment option as that keeps better records (that you have instant and easy access to) and does not depend on anyone getting to the bank in a regular amount of time or *lost checks. It is possible some of those checks were not cashed because they were for the wrong amount, like for excluding late pick-up or late payment fee's. Maybe even fee's not caused by you that they expect her to pay.

Once you have your own account and contract, you are entitled to attendance records, daily notes, schedules, artwork and any other information that your ex would be entitled to. My feeling is that they may be using the old gatekeeper loophole of not having you on the contract, so you are not technically a client even if a parent.

Personally, I only contract with one parent for payment and would expect the other parent to pay their share directly to the paying parent. I do recognize many feel this is risky if they don't pay the provider, but is pretty easy to prove with bank records in court (write child support on one check and daycare on the other each month). I find it is less likely to end with me terminating childcare, there is only so much parental conflict I am willing to tolerate. The kids are hard enough.

Good luck!! I am sorry you are dealing with that.
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Old 03-20-2019, 06:34 PM
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If you are wondering if your child has actually been in attendance, you could ask to see the sign in/out forms for the time period.

ITA I would ask to switch to electronic payment. A lot of us providers use venmo or another service like that anymore.

It sounds like a mess. Personally I would talk to my attorney if I was in your situation. I believe also that Office of Recovery Services may be able to help you. You might want to give them a call to see what free advice you can get. You might be able to open an account with them and have them handle the daycare billing.

Good luck!
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
I would stop all payments by check immediately, schedule an appointment and request *nicely* they separate out each parent payment account. You should not share an account with your ex. This is a recipe for high conflict.

I would then try to use an online payment option as that keeps better records (that you have instant and easy access to) and does not depend on anyone getting to the bank in a regular amount of time or *lost checks. It is possible some of those checks were not cashed because they were for the wrong amount, like for excluding late pick-up or late payment fee's. Maybe even fee's not caused by you that they expect her to pay.

Once you have your own account and contract, you are entitled to attendance records, daily notes, schedules, artwork and any other information that your ex would be entitled to. My feeling is that they may be using the old gatekeeper loophole of not having you on the contract, so you are not technically a client even if a parent.

Personally, I only contract with one parent for payment and would expect the other parent to pay their share directly to the paying parent. I do recognize many feel this is risky if they don't pay the provider, but is pretty easy to prove with bank records in court (write child support on one check and daycare on the other each month). I find it is less likely to end with me terminating childcare, there is only so much parental conflict I am willing to tolerate. The kids are hard enough.

Good luck!! I am sorry you are dealing with that.
The parents only need separate accounting if the daycare is hiding something. Since we are both court ordered to each pay half, why should any of it be a secret? The daycare only has two payment options, check or automatic withdrawal and I am NOT giving my ACH information to a company who I firmly believe is participating in dishonest behavior on behalf of the custodial parent.

As it stands now we do both have our own accounts, but the daycare does not treat me like a parent. I am not provided with anything I ask for (records, check in check out times etc) and it usually takes them over a month to respond to a simple request for an account statement even though the court order requires them to provide me with everything the custodial parent is given.

It has gotten to the point that I am considering reporting the daycare to the state for potential fraud. Something is definitely not right here. The day I posted the daycare finally emailed me back and confirmed they got the checks....but STILL HAVEN'T DEPOSITED THEM. I am very uncomfortable about continuing to send checks to the daycare but also do not want to go against the court order for my responsibilities.
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Two View Post
If you are wondering if your child has actually been in attendance, you could ask to see the sign in/out forms for the time period.

ITA I would ask to switch to electronic payment. A lot of us providers use venmo or another service like that anymore.

It sounds like a mess. Personally I would talk to my attorney if I was in your situation. I believe also that Office of Recovery Services may be able to help you. You might want to give them a call to see what free advice you can get. You might be able to open an account with them and have them handle the daycare billing.

Good luck!
The daycare won't even respond to my requests for account statements, let alone requests for attendance records, or anything else normally given to a parent. They don't return phone calls either.

What is the office of recovery services? The daycare only accepts payment in check or auto withdrawal, and I will never give them my bank information because they are obviously not on the up and up.
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ConcernedParent View Post
The daycare won't even respond to my requests for account statements, let alone requests for attendance records, or anything else normally given to a parent. They don't return phone calls either.

What is the office of recovery services? The daycare only accepts payment in check or auto withdrawal, and I will never give them my bank information because they are obviously not on the up and up.
Were you court ordered to pay for half the day care costs via your divorce proceedings?

If so, contact your attorney and let them know what is happening. I am not sure about your state but in my experience any time a non-custodial parent is ordered to pay child care costs yet has no contract with the child care they pay the parent that does or they pay a 3rd party as a mediator and that agent pays the child care.

It seems kinda fuzzy to have you pay the child care directly but not have access to any of the financial records.

Either way, I think someone is trying to short change you so I'd contact an attorney immediately and have them request the records so you aren't simply paying until you have nothing left.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:20 AM
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Cat Herder Cat Herder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ConcernedParent View Post
The parents only need separate accounting if the daycare is hiding something. Since we are both court ordered to each pay half, why should any of it be a secret?
Because we are bound by client confidentiality and you are not entitled to any information about what happens during her parenting time barring our reporting suspected child abuse to child services as mandated reporters.

You are only entitled to information about the payments you make. You are only entitled to attendance times on your days.

What does your custody time look like during the week?

You are free to choose any childcare during your time, you do not have to use the same provider. A parenting agreement is not a judge's orders. Maybe it is time for a modification as this current situation is not working?
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:30 AM
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"the court order requires them to provide me with everything the custodial parent is given. "

This is false, childcare providers are not a part of your divorce. We cannot be compelled to do anything other than what is stated in our contract with the enrolled client. The parent/grandparent who picks up on any given day is the parent/grandparent who takes home that days artwork, notes or newsletters. We don't do art projects twice for fairness, it is simply too much to ask in group care.

How often do you pick up? Do they withhold when you do?
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