“When is it okay to discuss rates with other family child care providers?”
“How can I collect rate information?”
“Do I have to care for a child who has diabetes?”
I addressed these issues and more during a recent webinar “Managing Legal Risks in Early Childhood Programs” sponsored by Early Childhood Investigations Webinars. You can listen to it for free.
Here are some Questions and Answers I prepared after the webinar in response to questions raised during the webinar about rates issues.
Q: “Can I put my rates on promotional flyers?”
A: Yes! You can share your rates publicly. This includes posting them on flyers, on Craigslist, your website, and Facebook page.
Q: “Is it okay for me to discuss rates with other family child care programs?”
A: It is illegal for competitors to discuss rates with each other. So, the general answer is no.
Q: “Can I tour centers in my area to get information about their program; including tuition?”
A: Yes, as long as the other program doesn’t know that you are a competitor. It’s not illegal for people from two different child care programs to discuss rates as long as one of them doesn’t know the other person is a competitor.
Q: “What if I do a Tuition Rate Comparison for the prospective parents. Is it okay to call around to ask other program about their rates?”
Q: “What if the child care resource and referral agency does a tuition survey?”
A: Since the CCR&R agency is not a competitor, it is legal for them to do rate surveys. A child care program can ask CCR&R for any information they have collected about rates.
Q: “When a parent signs a contract or other legal form, should I require signatures from both parents on all forms to ensure both are legally responsible?”
A: Absolutely yes. If only one parents signs your contract you can only enforce it against that parent.
Q: “Do policies and procedures of child care programs have to be signed by parents?”
A: No. You want parents to sign your contract that spells out when you will provide care and how much parents will pay for it. Your policies/procedures describe how you provide care and aren’t enforceable in court. You can have parents sign them if you want, but it’s not necessary. Some providers have parent put their initial at the bottom of each page of their policies. Having parents sign your policies is a way of communicating the importance of your rules. If the parents won’t follow your policies/procedures you can terminate the agreement.
Q: What if a 10 year old talks about bringing a gun to daycare and killing everyone? I’ve shared it with the mother, but should I be telling someone else? Mom doesn’t seem to address any of my concerns.”
A: I would report this immediately to your licensor or child protection or the police.
Q: “Is there a statue of limitation on the length of time for a child to sue their previous caregiver?”
A: The answer depends on what state you live in. In some states it’s 18 and in others its 21. I don’t know the rules for all states.
Q: “Can you refuse to care for a child due to a medical condition such as food allergy, diabetes or other?”
A: All family child care providers must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act which says you cannot discriminate against children with disabilities. Food allergies and diabetes are disabilities. This doesn’t mean you have to care for all children with disabilities. It does mean you have to take reasonable steps to accommodate such children. If the only way to provide care would create a “significant difficulty or expense” you don’t have to provide the care. See my article, “The Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Child Care.”
Q: “What about a disgruntled employee that has left and you fear will make complaint that is not true?”
A: Immediately contact your licensor and tell your side of the story. You want your licensor to hear from you first. Hopefully you’ve kept good records of any incidents with the employee before she left. If there were other witnesses to these incidents, make a record. Contact your business liability insurance agent and inform them of the situation.
Tom Copeland – www.tomcopelandblog.com
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rikkisrefugeother/
Disclaimer: “Tom Copeland is not rendering legal, tax, or other professional advice. If you require this type of assistance please consult a professional to represent you.”