I can accept payments by credit card (and debit) as long as they have a Visa, Master Card, American Express or Discover logo on them, however, Cash payments are preferred - parents that pay cash are given a 3% discount (Fees listed are Cash prices); I am able to take chipped cards, as well as magnetic strip - receipts are given for all payments.
Your Fees will not change during the time your child is in my care unless you end the current contract or need to amend your contract; Families are subject to updated rates for new contracts.
The rates for my service cost are determined by the quality of care upheld, hours required, operational expenses, and regional childcare rates. There are No sibling discounts or state subsidy accepted at this time.
Spaces are contracted for Full time, Monday thru Friday only. Fees include home made organic meals & snacks. Monthly fees are based on a 48 weeks per year.
I have limited spaces available to contract due to state rules for infant care (limit is 4 regardless of being licensed or licensed exempt). Tennessee regulations considers part time for infants to be under 20 hours per week, so it's not feasible for me to offer that service with the exception of Pay by the Day (aka Drop-in care); if you have a rotating part time schedule, I require that you contract a full time spot in order to have all the days you might need open for your use.
Full time; up to 50 hours week; 600 month
Limit 10 hrs day, M-F, inc 2 meals, 1 snack
Full time up to 60 hours; 720 month
Limit 12 hours day M-F, inc 3 meals, 2 snack
Payment of one months fee is required to hold a spot for your child. This will be applied to your first month of care (non-refundable).
"Pay by the day" services are not guaranteed to be available at anytime - open spaces are booked first call, first reserved each week; Flat rate of $20 Half day (4 hrs) or $35 full day (4.25-10 hours)... $5 per hour (or part of), applies to all hours after ten if approved in advance when booking. Hours available are 6a-9p only, Monday-Friday. I have ONE spot open on Wednesday & Thursday for Drop-in care at this time.
24 hours notice is requested but not required to book a weekday "Pay by the day" space... Saturdays are only booked for special events and require a minimum of 48 hours notice (Football home games, date night, winter holiday shopping); flat fee $30 - 5 hours, $40 - 8 hours.
A minimum of 12 hours advance notice is required to cancel a reservation; 24 hours for Saturday reservation. Pre-paid fees are non refundable, but will be placed towards future reservations that are made within 60 days of cancellation when proper notice has been given.
Remember, Drop-in spaces are never guaranteed to be available, they are first call, first booked when a space is open. If you cancel less than 12 (or 24) hours before your scheduled time, you will still be billed for time reserved or you will lose your prepaid fees.
Why must I fill out all these forms? I am running a legal childcare home; It doesn't matter if I have your child 20 hours a month or 50 hours each week; I need to keep all your child's info in my files in case an emergency should happen...
Here are my enrollment procedures:
Step #1: Read my entire website and send me your contact info; I will then call you and set up the first meeting.
This "face to face" is the 2nd interview (phone call being #1) and will be set on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursdays only at 6pm or later. The purpose is so you can get a chance to see my home and address any questions that you may have.
I do ask that you call 3 hours before a scheduled appointment to get the exact address...
NOTE: While I understand that you would want to "see me in action" before leaving your child for the first time, I cannot allow it for several reasons.
2nd, you are a stranger to the children and their parents. Please consider how you would feel if your child were in care and I allowed a strange adult to the daycare to observe your child.
3rd, I consider the trust my clients place in me the cornerstone of our relationship. In a childcare relationship I am asking that a client trust me completely with their child. I ask for honesty & open communication.
I do understand if you need to find other arrangements. Just know that I value the children's safety and security above all else and allowing adults in to observe them is not part of the safe and secure environment I promise them each and every day.
Step #2 Paperwork. You will receive all the registration paperwork once I have a signed contract or Intent form. To much paperwork was going out the door never to return home, so I don't give it out unless I know for sure a family is on board
Step #3 Payment. Your child's space will not be guaranteed until a signed contract is in my hand along with the non refundable first months fee. Spots will be considered open & available and I will continue to interview families until requirements are met.
What does the weekly fee cover?
For infants under 12 months of age - Huggies natural or Bamboo wipes, Basic organic formula as a back up to what parents provide – if child is breast fed, a minimum 16 oz supply of milk is to be kept in my freezer plus daily feedings to be brought by parent, NUK bottles and sippies, Pack n Plays, Organic Blankets & sheets, bouncers, Play mats, age appropriate Toys. Homemade Beginner foods also included
For children 1 year and older - Wipes, up to 2 meals (Breakfast, Hot Lunch/Dinner) meals inc 4 oz milk, 2 snacks, Sippy Cups transitioning to 3oz glasses, Plates, Bowls and Utensils, Sleeping mattress, Organic Blanket and sheet, Age appropriate activities and toys (inc a loose literature based curriculum). 12 hour days will have 3 meals provided.
For all children - Verbal Daily Information, personal shelf to keep extra clothing, diapers & belongings, Holiday parties including Valentines Day & Mardi Gras, Winter gifts, Bottle of non alcoholic bubbly for New Years Eve and a small cake on 1st birthdays.
There is a Holiday open house held in December for all the families that attended during the year... It's my way of saying Thanks for using my service & allowing me to help care for your precious child. 2017's party was a delight & every family showed up.
Anything other than what is listed will be the parents responsibility to provide... this includes special meals for medical issues, medicines and gear needed to care for your child specifically.
What happens if I can't make my interview? If for any reason you can't make your scheduled interview appointment, please call to cancel or reschedule ahead of our planned meeting time. I will do the same if I am unable to keep the appointment.
If an interview is not canceled and the parent fails to show up, another interview may or may not be granted depending on circumstances; if the baby comes early it's one thing, blowing off an interview set less than 24 hours ago to go shopping at the mall is another story.
It is now the end of March and I need daycare to begin in August. What should I do? I am unable to hold an already open space for free, However you do have some options.
Option 1 - Check back in Late May/Early June to see if I have another spot available (or to see if one opened)
Option 2 - Be put on a waiting list, I will contact you when I know a spot will be open, and give you a chance to fill it.
Option 3 - if you are looking for care in the future and the space is not yet available but you know you want to guarantee it (spaces I know will be opening due to a child aging out) - put the first months deposit down and sign an Intent to contract form.
Why do I have to pay upfront? I require advance payment for two reasons:
1) To protect myself from families who choose to terminate service without notice and not pay for childcare already given.
2) To buy supplies needed for the childcare (food and other care related expenses that are needed upfront).
What days are Fees due? Families Pay in full on the 1st of each month or you may pay bi-monthly (the 1st & 15th) if you really can't manage monthly fees, but even then it will only be done for 2 months then monthly fees will be expected on the 1st of each month.
Do you accept state subsidy (vouchers)?
NO... Parents aren't always informed how the process actually works and often assume that the state will pay the entire amount. That is NEVER the case (sometimes they won't even pay half the weekly fee based on a families income). Worse yet, is when state coffers fall short, providers sometimes aren't paid for months after they cared for a child... now I don't know about you, but I don't work for free and my bills can't be paid without getting money owed to me. The state also has rules in place that do not always work with my particular business model and as such I prefer to stay private.
My rates are based on state market rates for children under 24 months in the top 20 counties in TN which include Knox & Blount; considering my fees include things many homes don't provide, I feel my rates are more than fair.
Do you give sibling discounts? No… I have very limited positions available - fees are calculated on each spot being filled with a full pay child. Remember, we are all struggling in this tough economy, and it does not cost any less to feed or care for 2 children from the same family than it does to care for 2 children from different families. I also have no spouse bringing in income... this is my life & career.
Can I pay by check or does the fee have to be cash? Sorry, I do not accept checks; this is due to having too many bounce... because of the hours I work most days, it is also very hard to make it to a bank to deposit some days.
Cash or Credit cards are the current payment methods accepted and Receipts are given. I have an App on my phone called Square which allows me to accept credit & debit cards and send receipts direct to the email or phone # of choice.
Cash payments give me the option of a quick trip to the market to pick-up items like veggies or milk if I run out (I have a cow share thru French Broad Aka Cruz Dairy) and It saves everyone from the headaches a bounced check can cause.
What is the "Drop-in care" ? Think of it as free time off, a permission slip to do parental things, A three or four hour breather they... A Parent’s Dream Come True! In reality, I'm a reasonably priced, professional child minding service for those days that you just need some "ME" time. Bookings are done by the day if a space is open for the time requested.
Why does daycare cost so much? Parents ask that all the time. THIS IS my only source of income and I have plenty of overhead expenses that parents don't take into consideration. I mean, nothing about kids is cheap is it!
My fees even include farm fresh milk, homemade meals and wipes... There also may be times I only have one child in care because of contracted times; that child is then getting Nanny style care for a fraction of what an actual nanny would cost.
Do you know that many parents are willing to spend more on cable TV, vacations, boats and other supposed "needs" than they are for quality child care. And yet, they are trusting us with their most precious possession - their child (what you pay me can also be taken as a child care credit on your taxes next year, can you say the same about a new car?).
In order to stay in business, I have to be able to pay my bills too. There are SO many categories of expenses to keeping a safe, clean, compliant home, keeping babies happy & meeting their needs. In fact a specialized tax lady is needed to sort it all out every year.
Why don't you keep the kids until they are ready for school? I get this question a lot... Babies take a lot of one on one care and attention. It's very difficult to play a game with an older child while trying to bottle feed an infant - I am a small home that is specifically set up for children under 24 months. I have invested in quality equipment & toys for this specific age group and I have taken additional training so I can care for them to the best of my ability.
Many parents love the fact that their little one can learn to crawl and walk in an place that is free from older kids that don't always slow down & watch where they are going; the children also learn from one another because they are similar in age... very much a Monkey see, monkey do attitude here.
Why do you close for vacation time? One, I am not a center with employees to cover time off. Two... it's in both parties interest for me to take a break every now and then in order to prevent "Burn-out". My vacation time is taken as unpaid leave - you are NOT paying double for care when I am closed. The days off have already been deducted from monthly fees, so pay stays the same every month...
Home providers can easily work 60 hours or more each week just taking care of their charges… once you take into account the extra cleaning, shopping and planning that the parents don't see or pay for it can easily be a 70-80 hours or even more for the work week.
It can cause a stressed atmosphere when there are NO BREAKS planned every now and then. I personally need down time at least one day each week to take care of myself too and as such, I will not take a child on a Sunday.
Do you provide diapers or formula? I will if you want me too for additional fees. I know that parents have their preferences and the cost can vary based on what is purchased; If I supply items they will be bought on weekends when I do my normal shopping - fees will be required in advance. If I am not given the money upfront, I will assume you are providing the supplies needed for the upcoming week.
What about playpens and highchairs? This is a family home... I provide a playpen or floor mattress for each child for Sleeping time and they all sit @ the dinner table for meals; NO HIGHCHAIRS. I own some specially made eco friendly, foldable, wood boosters call Minui Handysitts that are good for ages 7 months to 5 years. Babies 7 months and younger are always held while being fed bottles or beginner foods.
Do you offer "Your baby can read" or other similar program? NO and I will tell you why...
• I know it sounds crazy that I am TV FREE (I don't have cable, just internet), however various music is played on my laptop all the time.
• Reading is not developmentally appropriate for baby. It leads to "rote learning" rather than true comprehension.
• Babies should be playing with 3 dimensional toys, being outside, and interacting with human beings.
• Little ones should not watch TV until age 2 according to AAP. This includes Baby Einstein & other "educational" DVD's.
I heard you call the children Bubala's... what's that? I grew up with many Jewish friends in Montgomery County, MD; Bubala is a Yiddish word, traditionally used by Grandmothers, that references children. Essentially, the babies are my "Little loves".
What if my child is sick? Keep your child at home and notify me ASAP. The best way to prevent the spread of infection is by limiting contact... A child should not be in care if he or she has any of the following:
• Temp of 100.5 degrees or above in the past 24 hrs
• Severe nasal and chest congestion
• A sore throat
• Diarrhea or Vomiting
• Severe coughing
• Red, watery or oozy eyes
• Undiagnosed rash
• Evidence of flu or other communicable disease such as strep, impetigo, chicken pox, pink eye, scabies, ring worm, or lice
• Consistently runny nose/nasal discharge that's not clear
Do you charge for absences? Yes, because I fulfilled my commitment to you: I set aside the designated time & reserved a position just for your child, to the point of turning others away. Also, I will have shopped and otherwise prepared behind the scenes to receive your child -- that's space, time & preparation which cannot be returned, re-sold, or filled by the next person in line.
"Why do I need to give a minimum 14-day written notice? " There are several reasons why I need at least 2 weeks notice (4 weeks is preferred). As with most things, people learn from their mistakes and I'm no exception.
The written notice is to ensure that there is no misunderstanding when your child's last day will be and that you will not be responsible for any tuition beyond that date. This also protects me by letting me know that I will lose a child in my care after a specific date. It gives me a head start to advertise, interview and fill the position, hopefully with no loss in income. In this economy it has taken at least 30 -60 days to complete the turnover process.