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  #1  
Old 04-25-2017, 07:53 AM
concerned42517 concerned42517 is offline
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Default Unlicensed/Uninsured Risk

A friend of mine is opening a summer daycare program that she will be operating out of her apartment, which she rents from her parents. She is doing this because the preschool she works for is renovating their facilities and, therefore, not offering a summer program. She will have 6 of her former students for about 8 weeks. My concern is that she will be doing this unlicensed and uninsured. The parents of the kids are aware of this and agreed to pay her under the table and also not to report the expense on their taxes.
My friend is extremely good with the kids and has a ton of experience. I have no concern for the safety of the children, but my worry is that she has possibly left herself open to some significant liability. What potential risk is she taking on in the event something serious happens? In the much more likely scenario that everything goes fine, what are the chances of her facing any repercussions for licensing/insurance issues or tax evasion?
This world is completely foreign to me so any input would be welcome. I am sure my friend knows a lot more than I do and has likely done her homework and weighed the risks, however, I care about her and would like to know what you all think. Thank you for the help!
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:11 AM
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A friend of mine is opening a summer daycare program that she will be operating out of her apartment, which she rents from her parents. She is doing this because the preschool she works for is renovating their facilities and, therefore, not offering a summer program. She will have 6 of her former students for about 8 weeks. My concern is that she will be doing this unlicensed and uninsured. The parents of the kids are aware of this and agreed to pay her under the table and also not to report the expense on their taxes.
My friend is extremely good with the kids and has a ton of experience. I have no concern for the safety of the children, but my worry is that she has possibly left herself open to some significant liability. What potential risk is she taking on in the event something serious happens? In the much more likely scenario that everything goes fine, what are the chances of her facing any repercussions for licensing/insurance issues or tax evasion?
This world is completely foreign to me so any input would be welcome. I am sure my friend knows a lot more than I do and has likely done her homework and weighed the risks, however, I care about her and would like to know what you all think. Thank you for the help!
What state are you in? The amount of kids she can have will vary state to state.

As for liability, she is putting herself in significant danger. And she is also breaking federal law by not reporting income, so legally, she is heading down the wrong path.

Many apartments will not let you operate a daycare, so she should check with them. If she doesnt and they find out (6 families in and out twice a day is pretty noticeable), they could evict her and keep any deposits.

The insurance/liability stuff is a big issue, but how that works with renting is not something i know much about. All i know is that if someone gets hurt in her care, she could be in a whole lot of financial/legal trouble.

The tax thing is illegal and she may think she can get away with it, but all it takes is one parent claiming their childcare on their taxes and she could be audited and fined significant amounts. Trust me, i just the last 4 YEARS working with the IRS on a family member's back tax situation...it is NOT fun and very expensive!

Anyway, your friend is taking significant risk by doing this, so if you are able to sit down with her, it may help open her eyes...or not
But at least you will be making her aware in case she is not.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:15 AM
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I think you know what she's risking.

She's risking her livelihood. If caught, she'll never be able to again use those child-care skills you're praising. She'll lose her professional connections and she'll lose respect in the community.

She's risking her record. If caught, she may end up in court with fines she can't afford to pay. Why is it so important to her to avoid paying taxes?

Won't the other families want to claim the child care expenses they're incurring when they do their taxes?

If she's desperate for income over the summer, literally anything legal would be a better choice than this. Flip burgers. Mow lawns. Or just take the high ground: Take in as many children as is legal for an unlicensed provider to do in her state, and claim the income.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:24 AM
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Also, I don't know much about the IRS, but I bet getting caught evading taxes once will lead to audits in the future, too.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:27 AM
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Thank you for the replies. Unfortunately, it sounds like my concerns are warranted. I will try talking to her again but I think she is pretty well set on rolling the dice and has already collected deposits from the parents. At the very least, I can maybe convince her to report her income, as the risk/reward there is pretty high in my opinion.

Her parents own the property so luckily she doesn't have to worry about eviction! It is a two family though so i doubt the other renters will be too happy.

State is Massachusetts btw. Thanks again!
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:28 AM
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One of her co-workers turning her in should be her primary concern. They are also mandatory reporters. Her employer could also file a civil suit.

Way too many risks, IMHO.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:47 AM
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One of her co-workers turning her in should be her primary concern. They are also mandatory reporters. Her employer could also file a civil suit.

Way too many risks, IMHO.
Not to mention the risks she is placing on her parents (landlords) by conducting an illegal business on their property. Without the proper coverage, they are the ones that are truly going to lose should something happen.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:55 AM
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Not to mention the risks she is placing on her parents (landlords) by conducting an illegal business on their property. Without the proper coverage, they are the ones that are truly going to lose should something happen.
Good catch!
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Old 04-25-2017, 09:36 AM
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I do believe the school is aware that she is taking on some of the kids for the summer. I think they are looking at it as a way to appease the parents, since they aren't offering a program. Maybe she can look into getting them to at least cover the insurance? Idk, that's all well beyond my knowledge. Thanks again!
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:37 PM
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I'm in MA and can tell you it is illegal to offer child care without a license. She isn't required to be insured, though.

Several years ago, someone contacted me because she wanted to get information on how to become licensed. A neighbor had reported her. An EEC rep made an unannounced visit and told her she had to stop offering care immediately. I believe she had to call all parents right then and there to come and pick the kids up. She wasn't allowed to take them back until she got her license. She got off easy. Some licensors are more strict than others. I'm not sure if they have leeway in how these kinds of things are handled or if their guidelines have changed over the years and become stricter.

Where your friend has worked in child care and obviously knows what she is doing is illegal, I would think they might be a little tougher on her, especially if one of the kids gets hurt while in her care. The dc parents are ok for now maybe but if one of their kids gets seriously hurt you can bet they won't be then. Also, while she may have decided to take the risk, I wonder if her own parents are even aware of the issues they could be faced with if something happens to one of the kids on their property? I would advise her not to risk it but that's just me.
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Old 04-25-2017, 05:51 PM
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Thanks for the reply. Good to get some insight from Massachusetts. Any idea how long the procedure takes in Mass to get licensed? I understand if it varies too widely to give an estimate.

She has all the property requirements and training, so as I see it, if she can get licensed she would be building her career opportunities instead of jeopardizing them.
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:25 PM
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Thanks for the reply. Good to get some insight from Massachusetts. Any idea how long the procedure takes in Mass to get licensed? I understand if it varies too widely to give an estimate.

She has all the property requirements and training, so as I see it, if she can get licensed she would be building her career opportunities instead of jeopardizing them.
I get not wanting to jump through all of the hoops and going to the expense of getting a license for such a short amount of time but she really would be taking a big risk if she were to do child care without a license - and she'd be bringing her parents along for the ride. Even with close supervision, accidents happen and kids can get hurt. Parents who are okay with the deal now may not be so easy going if their child gets injured. They may also decide at tax time to report the money they paid her - regardless of what they agree to now.

I was first licensed over 20 years ago. It was relatively quick back then - maybe about a month from initial application to house inspection, if I remember correctly? I'm not sure how long it will take her to get licensed now, though, since some things have changed over the years. Maybe someone who has gone through the process recently will chime in.

If she already has her CPR/First Aid certifications and has had a physical within the past year, it may save her some time. If she's already been finger printed for her job at the preschool, maybe EEC would accept that instead of having her go through the process again? That could also save her time. If I were her, I'd put my application in asap. If she has all of the necessary paperwork, it may go smoothly and she may have her license in time for her summer opening. I wonder if the licensor assigned to her preschool could give her some guidance and maybe help with the process?
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:11 AM
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That's a good point about the school possibly being able to help expedite the process. If they are in fact aware that she is doing this, I would think it would behoove them to help her where they can. I know she doesn't want to hear any of this from me so it will be nice to offer some alternative advice rather than just condemning her plan.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:44 AM
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offer some alternative advice rather than just condemning her plan.
It is not condemning her plan to remind her she will be breaking the law. It is illegal. Period. No feelings involved. She is no more special than the rest of us.

The daycare knowing about it also makes them culpable.

It may be easier for her to get approved as a summer camp, though. Check it out: http://www.mass.gov/edu/birth-grade-...mer-camps.html
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Old 04-26-2017, 07:30 AM
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She should at the very least, claim the income.

The risk of the other parents claiming it is pretty small though...since they are likely already claiming their max benefit with the care they get during the school year, it wouldn't financially benefit them to claim more....but it's not a risk I would take.

All licensing can really do is just shut her down. And since her parents are her landlords there isn't an issue there.

So that leaves liability. That's her biggest risk. And since she's unlicensed, a double indemnity clause in her contract wouldn't offer her much protection...especially since, while parents can sign away their own rights to sue, they cannot do so on behalf of their children. Their children, if injury caused lasting effects, could sue when they become of age to do so.
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Old 04-26-2017, 07:59 AM
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She should at the very least, claim the income.

The risk of the other parents claiming it is pretty small though...since they are likely already claiming their max benefit with the care they get during the school year, it wouldn't financially benefit them to claim more....but it's not a risk I would take.

All licensing can really do is just shut her down. And since her parents are her landlords there isn't an issue there.

So that leaves liability. That's her biggest risk. And since she's unlicensed, a double indemnity clause in her contract wouldn't offer her much protection...especially since, while parents can sign away their own rights to sue, they cannot do so on behalf of their children. Their children, if injury caused lasting effects, could sue when they become of age to do so.
Hmmm, that is interesting. If it is true that the State's only action is to shut her down, then it sounds like the risk is actually quite low, barring any serious accident (at which point, I don't believe she is required to carry insurance and I'm guessing the culpability would fall on the parents).

Some light research into the tax evasion issue seams to suggest that, more often than not, the IRS is fairly lenient on small cases of tax fraud, requiring only that the difference in unreported income be paid (taxed at the highest bracket and including interest). Add in the fact that it is pretty unlikely she will get audited.

I don't agree with the morality of it and I will still advise her to reconsider, but I guess I can see why she has decided to risk it, given that it is a one time deal, for only 8 weeks.
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:34 AM
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So that leaves liability. That's her biggest risk. And since she's unlicensed, a double indemnity clause in her contract wouldn't offer her much protection...especially since, while parents can sign away their own rights to sue, they cannot do so on behalf of their children. Their children, if injury caused lasting effects, could sue when they become of age to do so.
I don't think she has a contract with the parents, just a "handshake". I don't know how much water a contract for an illegal operation would carry, but that is another thing worth considering. My head is kind of spinning with the whole legality of it and potential risk and I am not involved in the slightest. I'll pass along all the advice and I guess that's the best I can do. Thanks again for all the help.
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Old 04-26-2017, 12:24 PM
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Hmmm, that is interesting. If it is true that the State's only action is to shut her down, then it sounds like the risk is actually quite low, barring any serious accident (at which point, I don't believe she is required to carry insurance and I'm guessing the culpability would fall on the parents).
If nothing happens to a child in her care and she's merely reported to EEC for operating an unlicensed day care, it's possible they'll just shut her down without any further consequence. I'm not sure, though. I've tried to do a search on what, if any, penalties there are but am coming up empty. That's not to say there aren't any; I just didn't find anything during a quick search.

The fact that she isn't required to carry insurance doesn't necessarily mean she won't be responsible for medical bills in the event a child is injured on her watch. If I were her, I'd be concerned that they could come after me - and my parents as property owners - to pay out of pocket for any injuries that happen on my watch.

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Some light research into the tax evasion issue seams to suggest that, more often than not, the IRS is fairly lenient on small cases of tax fraud, requiring only that the difference in unreported income be paid (taxed at the highest bracket and including interest). Add in the fact that it is pretty unlikely she will get audited.
From what I've read in the newspaper, the likelihood of her being caught is probably fairly slim. Again, if it were me, I'd be more afraid I'd be putting myself on their radar if I did get caught. Maybe she tends to have better luck than I do, though!

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I don't agree with the morality of it and I will still advise her to reconsider, but I guess I can see why she has decided to risk it, given that it is a one time deal, for only 8 weeks.
All it will take is one serious injury to make her regret the decision to operate illegally and it could happen in the first 8 minutes of care. I had a child trip on his own two feet while walking into my kitchen for a snack. He was right in front of me and it happened so fast, I wasn't able to react quickly enough to keep him from falling. His face hit the edge of a shelf on a bookcase and he got an ugly gash under his left eye. I cringe every time I think of how much worse it could have been had he actually hit his eye, broken his cheek bone or nose, knocked out his front teeth, etc. I hope she's mature enough to listen to your advice and decides to re-evaluate her plans. Good luck!
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:34 PM
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The fact that she isn't required to carry insurance doesn't necessarily mean she won't be responsible for medical bills in the event a child is injured on her watch.
Totally agree, I worded that part poorly. I think the issue is that she is well aware of the risk she is taking there. I was hoping maybe to sway her on the more probable event that she may get reported to EEC, or that she could face large fines or felony charges for fraud. I'm not sure a shut-down by the EEC is going to be enough to make her give up on the idea (really, the biggest issue from getting shut down that I can see is that it may effect her employment with the school and relationship with the parents).

My two year old nephew did the same thing just the other day. Tripped and cut his lip on the leg of a chair. He had to get several stitches for it.
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Old 04-26-2017, 06:31 PM
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So, I finally talked to my friend and she is telling me not to worry about it. She says the she is covered under her professional educator insurance and has a waiver for the family to sign. I asked her if her insurance and the signed waiver would be honored in the event of an incident, since she would be operating illegally. She says that in Massachusetts you can watch a maximum of 6 kids without license as a babysitter. That doesn't jive with my research but she is only watching the kids four hours a day, four days a week, so maybe there is a time distinction between babysitting and family child care? I'm now a little worried that she is going into this blind instead. Hopefully, she is right and I'm just being a condescending donkey.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:58 PM
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So, I finally talked to my friend and she is telling me not to worry about it. She says the she is covered under her professional educator insurance and has a waiver for the family to sign. I asked her if her insurance and the signed waiver would be honored in the event of an incident, since she would be operating illegally. She says that in Massachusetts you can watch a maximum of 6 kids without license as a babysitter. That doesn't jive with my research but she is only watching the kids four hours a day, four days a week, so maybe there is a time distinction between babysitting and family child care? I'm now a little worried that she is going into this blind instead. Hopefully, she is right and I'm just being a condescending donkey.
6 kids as a babysitter not happening from what I know about childcare in Mass unless it's the rare date night care in the families house. 6 unrelated kids for 4 hrs for 4 days is childcare if it's in her home and it's illegal regardless of how she wants to spin it unless she is licensed
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:22 PM
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So, I finally talked to my friend and she is telling me not to worry about it. She says the she is covered under her professional educator insurance and has a waiver for the family to sign. I asked her if her insurance and the signed waiver would be honored in the event of an incident, since she would be operating illegally. She says that in Massachusetts you can watch a maximum of 6 kids without license as a babysitter. That doesn't jive with my research but she is only watching the kids four hours a day, four days a week, so maybe there is a time distinction between babysitting and family child care? I'm now a little worried that she is going into this blind instead. Hopefully, she is right and I'm just being a condescending donkey.
She would be operating illegally no matter how long the days or how many days she care for the kids. All it will take is a p!ssed off parent (and there is a lot of things that can make them upset) and she will be reported. They may just tell her to close and that is the only consequence, but the long term repercussions could be worse. If it stays on the record, she may not be able to get a license in the future. Her current daycare center may not rehire her because parent may cause a stink. Or the worse case...a kid dies or is seriously injured and her care is investigated and questioned. This happens to licensed providers as well, but being an illegal daycare doesn't help your case much

The tax stuff is probably not going to be a big issue if she has other income she is claiming through the year. However, I will always tell people to avoid dealing with the IRS anymore than you have to. This means filing your taxes. IF she is caught, she will not only be on the IRS radar, but she will pay those taxes back, plus interest, PLUS failure to file and failure to pay penalties. Those fees are what make back tax bills so expensive. They can put your tax bill in the thousands very quickly.

On a side note, are you a friend of hers or are you her parent? I am getting the vibe that her decisions are pretty upsetting to you and you need some support because you are worried for her. I think it is great to have people in your life who have your back and she may not appreciate it now, but hopefully she will understand your concern some day in the future. Childcare is such a crazy industry, imo. It is an age old practice (child rearing) and you think it would be as simple as watching some kids and making some money, but the liability of caring for other people's children is SOOO huge. The "what ifs" make you swallow very hard sometimes and thank your lucky stars it hasn't happened to you. Chances are, your friend will be fine and the summer will be uneventful, but all it takes is that one time and I am too old to take that risk
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:28 PM
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She says that in Massachusetts you can watch a maximum of 6 kids without license as a babysitter.
She's wrong. http://www.mass.gov/edu/birth-grade-...c-license.html

The first sentence reads: If you would like to care for children, not related to you, on a regular basis in your home, you need a Family Child Care License.
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Old 04-27-2017, 04:29 AM
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She's wrong. http://www.mass.gov/edu/birth-grade-...c-license.html

The first sentence reads: If you would like to care for children, not related to you, on a regular basis in your home, you need a Family Child Care License.
This is the exact link I sent her when she brought up the babysitting exception.
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Old 04-27-2017, 04:42 AM
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So, I finally talked to my friend and she is telling me not to worry about it. She says the she is covered under her professional educator insurance and has a waiver for the family to sign. I asked her if her insurance and the signed waiver would be honored in the event of an incident since she would be operating illegally. She says that in Massachusetts you can watch a maximum of 6 kids without license as a babysitter. That doesn't jive with my research but she is only watching the kids four hours a day, four days a week, so maybe there is a time distinction between babysitting and family child care? I'm now a little worried that she is going into this blind instead. Hopefully, she is right and I'm just being a condescending donkey.
I am in MA and the bolded part is untrue. If she is watching even one unrelated child on her property/her residence she needs to be licensed.

I can see why she would want to bypass the process for such a short time, but getting caught could mean repercussion's in her current career at the center, or trouble getting a child care license in the future. I would think they would come down harder on her BECAUSE she is an educator and not just an unaware sahm trying to make some extra cash.

This is a well planned out business she is setting up. And to PLAN on not following any of the rules (state licensing regs, small business taxes, liability insurance - which I know is not required but she's crazy not to cover herself) will only hurt her more if there is an accident in her care, or she is caught.

ETA: I am licensed and I run a "play school" four hours a day, four days a week. I still need to fulfill every licensing requirement of the States. There are really no execptions!
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Old 04-27-2017, 04:48 AM
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She would be operating illegally no matter how long the days or how many days she care for the kids. All it will take is a p!ssed off parent (and there is a lot of things that can make them upset) and she will be reported. They may just tell her to close and that is the only consequence, but the long term repercussions could be worse. If it stays on the record, she may not be able to get a license in the future. Her current daycare center may not rehire her because parent may cause a stink. Or the worse case...a kid dies or is seriously injured and her care is investigated and questioned. This happens to licensed providers as well, but being an illegal daycare doesn't help your case much

The tax stuff is probably not going to be a big issue if she has other income she is claiming through the year. However, I will always tell people to avoid dealing with the IRS anymore than you have to. This means filing your taxes. IF she is caught, she will not only be on the IRS radar, but she will pay those taxes back, plus interest, PLUS failure to file and failure to pay penalties. Those fees are what make back tax bills so expensive. They can put your tax bill in the thousands very quickly.

On a side note, are you a friend of hers or are you her parent? I am getting the vibe that her decisions are pretty upsetting to you and you need some support because you are worried for her. I think it is great to have people in your life who have your back and she may not appreciate it now, but hopefully she will understand your concern some day in the future. Childcare is such a crazy industry, imo. It is an age old practice (child rearing) and you think it would be as simple as watching some kids and making some money, but the liability of caring for other people's children is SOOO huge. The "what ifs" make you swallow very hard sometimes and thank your lucky stars it hasn't happened to you. Chances are, your friend will be fine and the summer will be uneventful, but all it takes is that one time and I am too old to take that risk
That is some good intuition; she is a friend but we have recently gone on a couple dates so it is hopefully more than that. Unfortunately, she is pretty upset with me right now. I think I was able to show her that she is actually taking on a pretty big risk but she says it is way too late to do anything about it now and that she doesn't need my worry/stress on top of her own.

I have agreed not to mention it again, which, honestly, is chewing me up because I feel like there are options still available that could be pursued. The school apparently is well aware of the arrangement and most of her coworkers are running similar programs. Also, someone is giving her bad info. Seems to me that the school should provide whatever assistance they can to get her operating legally (or at the very least, be upfront about the risks).

Oh well, I guess I will have to trust in her skill/experience with the kids, and hope for no catastrophes. I think that's actually the biggest reason she is upset with me; I am not trusting her to make her own decisions. So I guess I'll go against my normal nature and say it is better to be happy then to be right.:
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:02 AM
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Cat Herder Cat Herder is offline
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As a possible romantic partner, I would assume you'd be more concerned about how easily she is able to manipulate you and distort reality to rationalize committing an illegal act.

IRL, White knights have short life spans.

I'd tell my adult sons "when women show you who they are, believe them."
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:15 AM
concerned42517 concerned42517 is offline
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Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
As a possible romantic partner, I would assume you'd be more concerned about how easily she is able to manipulate you and distort reality to rationalize committing an illegal act.

IRL, White knights have short life spans.

I'd tell my adult sons "when women show you who they are, believe them."
I appreciate the advice, but people tend to be more than just a few paragraphs in a forum. I don't agree with her decisions but I'm not going to get into a war of attrition over it with her. If that means I've been "manipulated" or am being a White Knight, so be it.
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Old 04-27-2017, 06:16 AM
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I think that's actually the biggest reason she is upset with me; I am not trusting her to make her own decisions.
She's certainly not making it easy for you! You've given her information and advice. Unfortunately, you can't force her to listen to you.
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