Terminating care for a child....

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by saralynn2006, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Nov 13, 2012

    I have had reoccurring issues with behavior of one of my preschool children (age 4), as well as reoccurring issues with his parents paying on time. I had a parent of another child (age 2) tell me today that their child had learned inappropriate language from the above child, and was very upset. The 2 yr old child had told their mom that they learned the word boob from the 4 year old. I did not hear the 4 year old say the word, but he has said inappropriate things before (it would not surprise me if he did say boob). I just don't know how to go about terminating care for this child. I have his pt conference on Friday evening and was going to bring it up then. I have not received my payment for the last 3 weeks of care, so I would also like to wait until I at least receive that as well as I am sure I will not see anything after I tell them about this incident. Any suggestions for this dilemma? I will be out over 300 dollars if she decides to up and leave without paying for the last weeks of care! :(
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 13, 2012

    Do you have a contract with this parent?
     
  4. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    Nov 13, 2012

    I would not be comfortable terminating care for a child based on something another parent had told me about that child. You would need carefully documented evidence of problems and the strategies you have used to address these. If the problem is lack of payment rather than behaviour, this is a legal matter. You should have procedures in place to deal with this. I would raise the language issue (not such a big deal, a fairly mild word really) and I would discuss some plans for payment and consequences for lack of payment.
     
  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Nov 13, 2012

    Excellent advice.
     
  6. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Nov 13, 2012

    I would refer back to the payment policy & follow that.

    As for the behavior issues, make sure you document what you saw him do & the consequences for his behavior.
     
  7. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Nov 13, 2012

    This is not his first behavior problem. I have witnessed him talking inappropriately with a school age child I care for (telling her shes so beautiful that he can't stop looking at her, telling her that her hair smells good, etc.)....just things that a 4 year old shouldn't really be saying. He has also talked about his mother's bras, and even asked me out on a date!!! :help: I have not been as strict with his parent regarding paying as I should be :eek:, but the behavior problems are the real issue here. I don't want these problems to continue escalating until more parents start to complain about it. I just don't really know how to go about solving this situation. I have never had to terminate care for anyone before, so I am just very nervous! I don't know if I should give the parent a final warning about pay and his behavior issues, or just terminate now. It has been ongoing since he started in July and just has gotten progressively worse.
     
  8. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 13, 2012

    I think the best thing, if you'd be okay with it, would be to have a set of procedures in place that ended in termination, but with intermediate steps that the parent was informed of. For example, there might be a suspension, or there might be a warning - ideally 3 or more steps in place to warn the family and attempt corrective action. Certainly part of this process, if resources are available, would be coming up with a behavior plan, monitoring that plan, and trying a second round of strategies if the first didn't work out. As this process happens, the parents knows that you're moving in a bad direction which could result in termination at some point in a few months. This way the parent has warning, can help make things better, and you can say you've tried a number of things, and have run out of resources to address the situation.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 13, 2012

    That's a lot of work to accommodate parents who aren't even paying for services.

    Non-payment is enough to warrant termination of services, in my opinion, especially if this has been an ongoing issue. What does your contract with the parent say about payment?
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 13, 2012

    I agree with you. As a private provider, I think you can always determine that the family isn't meeting your criteria and move to terminate. My comments were more related to a focus on making sure you've done everything possible for the family. As a business, you wouldn't owe that to the family, but from a more "mission-related" perspective I personally would feel inclined to try my best to help the child.
     
  11. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Nov 13, 2012

    The daycare I worked for had a policy for nonpayment that was pretty clear - payment was due on Tuesday and if it was not recived by Friday (with a late charge) the kids would not be admitted Monday morning. Since you have been having a payment problem, I would give them some notice to come completely up to date within a week or care will be terminated.

    The behaviors you described don't sound that bad, really, just odd, but it is privare care, so you are really in control. Again, I would tell the parents that his behavior is not acceptable and they have 1-2 weeks to find alternate care (this depends on how hard it is to find child care in your area).
     
  12. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Nov 13, 2012

    My policy states that they will be charged late fees if they don't pay on time, which I do charge....but it is just getting them to pay in general that has been a problem. This is the 6th time they have paid late since July, which is really frustrating. I don't want to be out the money for care by terminating them before I get paid for the past few weeks, but I don't want to continue to provide care when I am not being paid for it!

    The behaviors in context just are very inappropriate. I know the parent of the 2 year old child was very upset after hearing her child say "Grandma turn around so I can see your boobs." I just don't want to be in the situation where parents know that I know there is a behavior problem and the problem is not improving. I have tried redirecting, talking to the parents, talking with the child about appropriate social interactions, etc. but nothing has helped. If anything, the behaviors have gotten worse after I have started caring for a girl in Kindergarten after school. The inappropriate comments that were usually directed at me have now been directed at her. It's just a very uncomfortable situation for her to be in the target for his inappropriate comments.
     
  13. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 13, 2012

    Be very careful when terminating for behavior. Oregon Child Care Division has steps you must follow.

    I would use the nonpayment to exclude.
     
  14. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 13, 2012

    Non payment is the easiest way to terminate. After that, it gets rather grey. If she is habitually late but is currently paid in full you might have to wait until the family ceases payment again. Otherwise, cut you loses and terminate. Waiting at this point for the 3 weeks you are already behind is just going to make you and the other children more stressed out.

    In the future, add a line to your contract that states that the children will not be accepted if there are issues with payment, and in addition......keep charging late fees...just don't let them accumulate. Termination will also help you retain the families that you do have.
     
  15. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Nov 14, 2012

    You have been given very good advise, so far.

    I just wanted to add that while I support you terminating for non-payment, I personally feel a child should not be terminated for what is essentially developmentally appropriate behavior, however irritating it might be. The behaviors you described are pretty minor, considering the wide range of behaviors you will see in your career. You need to be prepared to handle them, even when your first efforts don't work or other parents complain. Where else is a child to learn socially appropriate behaviors than at preschool (and home)? Isn't that our job? Unless there is serious physical harm or issues of safety, every child deserves (not sure that is the right word) a safe place to learn.

    In the interests of full disclosure, recently I have to repeat that to myself as a mantra when I am really frustrated (like a million times a day) dealing with the most frustrating child I have ever experienced. Smart kid, no known issues except he seems to not care about right or wrong, consequences of any type, feelings or perspective of others, etc. etc. In short, scary!
     
  16. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Nov 14, 2012


    That is very true. This boy is so smart as well, however, I think his family situation just contributes to the inappropriate behaviors. He says that his mom never plays with him, just tells him to go watch movies on Netflix (his favorite movie is Titanic.....not very age appropriate!) I don't know if it would be bad for me to mention some more appropriate at home activities for the family or not. The mother is just very hard to talk to and if I don't terminate the contract, I don't want to make things more awkward than they already are. I am still debating what I should do. I just started my business in June so I don't want this family to bad mouth me after the good reputation I have built up so far. I also don't want to be in the situation where I keep the child and then have other parents mad at me and decide to go elsewhere. It is such a hard decision! :help:
     
  17. raynepoe

    raynepoe Companion

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    Nov 15, 2012

    I have never had my own childcare business, but I have worked in lots of environments for early childhood, and I think nonpayment is a huge issue and grounds for dismissal.
    The behaviors you are describing do not seem that inappropriate to me. Granted I have spent the last 3 years working with Head Start... but if I was searching for care for my child and I heard a child was dismissed for saying "boob" I would tend to not want to enroll my child, because I would fear my very active boy would not "fit" there.
    I can see a reputation for having high child expectations being a positive, but I could also see you getting negative ramifications too.

    I would first focus on payment, and if the child stays look into supporting the child's behavior using lots of modeling, shadowing, and positive experiences to promote the social behavior you want.
     
  18. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Nov 15, 2012

    My thoughts for dismissing based on behavior are not only based on the fact that he said boob, which I also agree is a mild "swear" word (but the other parent was upset, which was my main concern). He also has made the school age girl in my care uncomfortable with his constant odd compliments (today he was complimenting how beautiful her fingernails were all afternoon). I think I have decided to just give the family one more chance as relating to paying on time, and will definitely go over behavior issues in much greater detail at his conference tomorrow. Do any of you struggle with explaining behavior issues to parents during pick up times? I have some parents that come at the same time, so it's hard to bring up all the behavior concerns because other parents are around. How do you go about explaining troubling behaviors when there are other parents listening???
     
  19. raynepoe

    raynepoe Companion

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    Nov 15, 2012

    Can you call the parent at rest/nap time or maybe arrange an off peak time to communicate at yours/their convenience? Some people have used a daily sheet that tells about the day... I would be careful of this because I always worry how writing things down come off, but for some it works well.

    BTW I wasn't trying to say that you were making "boob" a criminal offense, but that is how it could be twisted in retellings if this parent bad mouthed you. Hope I didn't offend you.

    :wub:

    Good Luck and if it makes you feel better, one year I had a whole class of girls and boys breastfeeding dolls for a month in dramatic play, because they saw a woman in a rest room on a field trip.... :eek: I am not anti breastfeeding, but my class became obsessed!
     
  20. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Hmmmm, although if you need to term for non payment I still am 100% behind you....I am not so sure about the behaviors.

    I am sure you see something and it just isn't coming across....but complimenting someone for their painted nails is neither odd nor should the person be offended near as I can tell? If he is complimenting her and not talking about her body parts or other explicit phrases he could pick up on in city parks, subways, playdates in the neighborhood or tv seems sort of ....tame.

    I think you might have gotten scared at losing a paying client for a non paying client. That is totally understandable and I think you should keep your mind there...on the issue. Sometimes when we have a child that is from a family that is pushing buttons no matter what the child does it is taken wrong. That isn't good for you or the child. However, if your chief concern is the negative comments of the paying parent....that is a whole different issue.

    As a business owner, you have to be strong in your belief that your "product" (in this case your school) is the best in whatever niche you have chosen. If the Mom is offended....that is her right and she has the right to choose where she goes....you counter her fears Not with change but with a discussion of your selling points. When someone is allergic to Tide they don't change the formula...they remind you why they are the best...and you are still allergic....you switch....not them.

    Sorta cold...and hopefully you don't have to roll the die between the two choices of parents. That said....if the family was behind in payments....they wouldn't be in my program. Only broke that self made rule once....and NEVER saw the money.
     
  21. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Nov 16, 2012

    It is a scary situation to be in. I don't want to offend anyone, regardless of their actions. I have the child's conference tonight, so all of these issues will be brought up then. :unsure: Scary! I really should dismiss them for nonpayment, but just am scared to actually do it! She finally paid for part of her bill yesterday, but has not paid for this week yet. I might just have to suck it up and cut my loses. I'm just afraid what the parents will say to other community members if they are dismissed. I could see them saying things to badmouth my business just because they are mad at being dismissed.
     
  22. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    That's definitely a very real possibility, but hopefully you have strong relationships with the other families who can negate any possible bad mouthing by the dismissed parent. I mentioned this a page or two ago, but again I like the idea of having stages of dismissal, whether for behavior or nonpayment. If you give no warning to the parent and all of a sudden dismiss, you're more likely to run into a negative reaction. If you have a "warning" or probationary period, and have given several notices, you're more likely to be perceived as fair. Don't get me wrong - I think you're within your right to terminate for nonpayment, but just because you have the right to doesn't mean it's the best idea.
     
  23. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Nov 16, 2012

    I would try to get the rest of the payment then give a warning that non-payment will lead to termination. Can you have parents pay at the beginning of the week instead of at the end? That way if they don't pay they will not be admitted for that week. I really would not be upset about turning them away. This is your business not charity.
     
  24. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 16, 2012

    Yep, make your policy that all parents pay PRIOR to service....otherwise this happens. Yes, parents might talk badly about your program....but in reality....you were already worried about that "good"parent talking badly about your program as well and leaving.

    I realize you are scared and nervous. The best thing to do is really take stock in your program...and know what you are the best at (and what you are not the best at) strive to make folks see what you are the best at. Don't just remove the family. If you are going to change from letting attend without paying then you are going to have to come clean about how you can't continue...and please don't continue to work for no pay. This sort of money issue makes it very hard to appear professional. If the payment isn't forthcoming....you need to move on. You will not look at the child the same otherwise. They will either pay you or the money will go under their tree...and you will be frustrated.

    Just work at raising your professionalism and many of these issues will work themselves out.
     
  25. Nitch

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    Nov 17, 2012

    Are you running a home child care? It is hard to terminate a family but sometimes it must be done. You can terminate for several reasons but there are some you can't terminate for. You can terminate because they are not a 'good fit' for your family, they pay late, they violate your behavior policy. You can not term because of race, medical condition, food allergies, or from a behavior caused by something they might be on an IEP or IFSP for. Tom Copeland is a very good reasourse for providers working from home.

    Rewriting your policies and changing to ore-pay may make this family go away. Set a date to start pre-payment. Offer parents a way to slowly switch to pre paying. This policy is also a good way to weed out non payers before they even start care. With this family if you plan to keep them at all, I say they need to pay all back fees, plus a week in advance, or they can not return to care. Find your back bone, people will respect you more if you stand up for yourself.
     
  26. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Nov 17, 2012

    My conference with this family was an hour long last night! We spent a lot of time discussing their child's increasingly inappropriate behaviors, and they have been seeing this at home too. I suggested that we create some kind of behavior plan and rewards system, which they were on board with. The more I thought about it, I just couldn't dismiss them since I knew that the child needed my help. We are hopefully working in the right direction here as to being on the same page at home and at school (with consequences towards his actions) I talked about the parents about payment and gave them another chance, so hopefully that won't become an issue again. They know that this was their final warning about not paying on time, so next time will lead to dismissal.
     
  27. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Nov 17, 2012

    Parents are just like school children, many of them will look to test the boundaries you set to see how firm you are and how much they can get away with. The more "flexible" you are, the more they will take advantage of you.

    I learned this the hard way, as well, when renting my former house. The tenant was a single mom who gradually became increasingly late with her payments, which made the mortgage payments late. I took her to court twice. The first time, she brought half the back-rent, begged for leniency, and promised to pay the rest the following week. She never paid the second half and - eventually - just quit paying rent altogether. She lived in my house free for over 6 months. I filed eviction papers again and she never showed for the hearing, so I "won", but still never collected the money. I have a judgment against her for the money she owes. It's good for 10 years, but the reality is that I will likely never see a dime of it. The house eventually went into foreclosure.

    The point is that lack of payment is a chronic problem with some people and they WILL simply AVOID paying you at all if you let them. I agree you need to implement a policy of PRE-payment instead. This will eliminate the non-payers before they come in the door and will keep those that DO pay on time, every time.

    I also agree you can't just drop this on the current family out of the blue. You need to develop the intermediate steps for both payment and behavior that Ed mentioned, make sure the parents are informed of these steps, then stick to them. Again, parents are like school children, they WILL follow the rules when they know the rules aren't "flexible". If your policy is written down and the parents have agreed to it with their signature, then you need to stand firm so they know your rules are to be taken seriously.

    Just because you didn't start out with a pre-payment plan doesn't mean you can't change your policy. People used to be able to pay for gas AFTER filling the tank, going into the store and buying a soda or candy as well. Now, because drive-away theft became more common as gas prices went up, all the gas stations have had to adopt a policy of pay BEFORE filling up. People will accept the change and you will have a lot fewer headaches to deal with in the future.

    I'm glad your meeting with the parents went well. It sounds like you've reached a good understanding with them and developed a good plan. Unfortunately, it also sounds like they are still trying to avoid payment as much as possible. You've set a deadline and told them the consequences if it isn't met, so you need to make sure you do NOT bend. If they don't provide full payment by the deadline, then you need to tell them you cannot keep their child until payment in full is made, which would include a week in advance. Don't let them give you a sob story and ask you to keep their child just one day with the promise they will have the money tomorrow morning. You have told them when payment is due and they have enough time to get it, so stick to your guns. Otherwise, this problem will continue to recur with these parents.
     
  28. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 17, 2012

    Sounds like you made some good decisions and that things are heading in the right direction!
     
  29. saralynn2006

    saralynn2006 Companion

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    Nov 17, 2012

    You are exactly right! This is my first year owning my own in home preschool/childcare business and am still in the learning process. Parents are definitely willing to test the boundaries much more than I ever expected!
     
  30. WaProvider

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    Nov 17, 2012

    The hardest thing for you to learn is how to show them that they aren't hiring you....you are allowing them to be in your program. One of my friends says "I just hired a new family" when she is talking about starting a new child. I think that pretty much summarizes the feeling one must project. And You must always be ready to term for non payment....in the back of your mind...otherwise you end up where Cerek did.....it isn't fun.
     

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