Should You Give a Reason for Ending Your Contract?

6a0133f3fc5805970b0147e0a9c8e3970b-320wiA family child care provider has decided to end her contract with a parent. She gives the parent a written notice indicating when the last day of care will be. Should she give the parent a reason for the termination in her notice?


Although many child care providers do give explanations for terminating their contract (“You violated my contract.” “You were disrespectful towards me.” “You lied to me.”) I don’t think this is a good idea.

A parent is likely to be insulted by whatever reason you give for ending your contract. It doesn’t matter that you weren’t trying to insult the parent. Because the parent is probably unhappy at this point it doesn’t make sense to take a chance by saying the wrong thing. Parents who feel insulted are more likely to file a complaint about you or tell others that you insulted them. This is not the time to get into an argument with the parent about whether or not your reason is valid. You don’t want to do anything that might give the parent an excuse to spread bad word-of-mouth about you.

Before ending your contract you should be talking to the parent to try to resolve the problem. By the time you do decide to terminate care it should be clear to the parent why you are doing so.

If you want to end your contract, simply give the parent a dated note that says, “This note is to inform you that _________ (date) will be the last day of care for your child in my program. Sincerely _______ (your name).”

My advice is the same if you are deciding not to enroll a child in your program. Don’t put your reasons for denying care in writing. In this situation the parent may think that you are unfairly discriminating against them. This also can cause the parent to make a complaint against you with your licensor.

For example, if you said that you were denying care because you wanted a girl or because you wanted families from your church, the parent could be upset that you are illegally discriminating against them. (You can’t exclude a child because of gender or because of a family’s religion.)

Tell the parent “I don’t think this is the best place for your child at this time” and leave it at that.

How do handle situations like this?

Tom Copeland –

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Contracts & Policies book For further information, see my book Family Child Care Contracts and Policies

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