Today we have our first anonymous post. This provider reached out to me wanting me to tell other providers of her childcare license experience. The only thing was she wanted to stay anonymous.
After listening to what she went through and realizing that her story was one that needed to be shared, I agreed to keep her name out of it.
So even though her name is not given, the story is in her own words. Read as she shares how she almost lost her childcare license and how you can learn from her mistake.
OH NO! I wasn’t ready for licensing!
One uneventful Thursday morning there was a knock on the door. My heart stopped! I knew my annual visit was due so nervously I opened the door. It was a parent delivering diapers she had forgot to bring at drop off. Whew! Childcare License
Ok, great. Time to go outside. I gathered the children and we all went out for morning playtime. A few minutes later there was a knock at the door again.
I remember thinking it must be that mom again. Maybe she forgot something else. But this time went I opened the door it was my licensing analyst. Oh man! My goose is cooked. I was not ready! Here’s how I almost lost my childcare license.
Christmas Holiday Planner
Excuses caught up with me
For months I had been ignoring that little voice in the back of my head warning me that I needed to get prepared because my licensing visit was overdue. Even though I knew it was coming, I let all the excuses get in the way and I did nothing.
Even though I have been a licensed childcare provider for several years, I knew I was not ready for licensing. The files were scattered and not updated. The locks I purchased for the kitchen and bath were still on the counter not installed.
I knew better, but still, I let being tired at the end of my busy day and week give me an excuse to put it off.
Going out of Business?
Back to the door – somehow I forced a smile on my face as the analyst introduced herself. She said she was here for my annual licensing visit. Even though I knew this was gonna be a mess, I settled my nerves and invited her in.
After getting the children situated in a room, I returned to the analyst. In just a few minutes all the things I had put off for months were coming to light. As she walked around she pointed out that things were not secured in the kitchen and bath. Even outside had some issues.
Now I did try to defend myself by stating that the previous analyst had not indicated problems in certain areas. And to my surprise, the analyst agreed. She said that the previous person had not been thorough enough.
As a result, she stated that she was probably not going to be issuing citations today but just pointing out areas of concern. Under my breath, I am sure I said: “Thank God”.
But here is the thing, as she walked through the inside and outside of my house I knew how out of sorts everything was. This analyst had every right to not only issue me citations but probably take my license.
But then Grace! childcare license
I was able to locate most of the children’s files, but not my mandated certifications and paperwork like a current roster. I mean I was so nervous and messed up that I couldn’t even find the last copy of my license.
But then Grace!
As I sat there sweating and believing that I was probably going to be going out of business by the end of the day, something so crazy and unexpected happened that even I couldn’t believe it.
Just as the analyst was pulling out her laptop to notate how awful a provider I was, she got a phone call. On the other end was her supervisor. But to me, it felt like God.
I could tell that her supervisor was asking her questions about a matter unrelated to my visit and it was frustrating my analyst. After a few moments, the analyst ended the call and stated that she would have to leave.
SAY WHAT! That phone call seriously saved my butt! Talk about saved by the bell!
YES! In the middle of my mess – Grace!
This time I didn’t have to force a smile as I walked her out of my house and out of a horrible licensing visit. And just that fast it was over. But not for long.
Time to Tighten Up
WHEW! Was she really gone? I felt like breaking into this song … “Ding, Dong the witch is dead the wicked witch is dead!”
Yes, she was gone, but I knew she would be back. And because I didn’t know if that would be the next day or next week, I got busy. So here is what I did to right the wrongs of that fateful day.
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Back in Order
The first thing I did was to address the top violations. The ones that would surely get me cited, fined and maybe even shut down.
Until I could get to it, I removed all of the accessible “chemicals” (dish soap, cleaning sprays, shampoo, etc.) and moved them to the garage. Then by the weekend, I installed those locks sitting on my counter.
I updated my roster, the kids’ files and located my license and certifications. I saw that you had a new product called “My Childcare Documents Binder Kit” and had been tempted to get it before. But again my “I’ll get to it” mindset kept it in my cart.
Well not anymore.
I quickly purchased it and used it to organize all my previously missing documentation.
Because I had made notes while the analyst was walking around, I was able to refer to them and make sure I hit everything she had mentioned. Now I was ready. childcare license
Let’s Try That Again
A few days later, the analyst returned. Again, I did not need to force a smile on my face when I opened the door. Oddly enough she was happy too. I think she knew things were about to be very different.
As she walked through my house everything that wasn’t right before was right now. Some things she barely looked at knowing that I had addressed everything else. Best of all, this time she was here for a fraction of the time and …
Thankful & Determined
So yes I’m embarrassed that I let myself get into this spot. As you can probably imagine for that reason I asked to remain anonymous. But I can guarantee I will NEVER let myself go there again.
Now I know some may not think it fair that I was given a mulligan and you are probably right. I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong letting things get so out of order and I probably should have been cited and fined at least.
But the fact is we live in our businesses and during the course of our everyday lives, it can be quite common to use things and not put them back the right way according to licensing.
Maybe I would use a plug to vacuum and forget to replace the cover in my bedroom. Or I ran out to the garage for something over the weekend and forgot to lock it back.
However, being tired and putting things off can cause BIG problems if you allow it to continue to be your normal. Don’t allow an “I’ll get to it” attitude become a habit. Take it from me, it can carry a heavy price!
And since I survived the day the experience allowed me to want to share my story with you so that you can learn from my failure and avoid the same happening to you.
The Biggest Mistake I Made
So here is the biggest take away from almost losing my childcare license; I wasn’t taking my licensing inspection seriously. I knew it was coming, but it wasn’t until I heard that knock at the door that I did anything to make sure I was prepared.
Pay attention to that little small voice (and your calendar) and stay prepared.
First of all, that’s what we agreed to do in exchange for our license. Right? Secondly, being out of compliance has the potential to cause major problems and even be the end of your business. So don’t be like me.
Avoid the stress of a (un)expected knock at the door by making it a point to do monthly checks for licensing readiness. Think to yourself, if licensing came today would you be ready.
If you think there are issues you need to address, do yourself a favor and listen to that warning and do that this week!
Pull out your paperwork from when you were first licensed and use that to right the ship again. If you make that a habit when the knock comes you’ll be ready.
Thank you for sharing
Adrienne here – I just want to thank this provider for having the courage to share her story. For sure it is a cautionary tale meant to remind all providers how getting too complacent & comfortable is dangerous and how very seriously we all need to take the terms of our childcare license. It is so important to stay in compliance with those standards ALL THE TIME!
Here is the tool the provider used to organize her documents so they are easily accessible all the time. childcare license
Such a great article A!!
Maybe (if) you have a helper make a check list that that person can assist you with either at closing or when they come in the morning…we can all use a helping hand 🙂
For me personally I need to ask my adult kids and spouse to help out with many of these loose ends.
I have your binder and let me say HOW MUCH it helps me to stay organized!!! Thank you for all your hard work making this amazingly helpful tool for the rest of us!!
Thanks Deanne! This post proves that we all struggle in this business and could use a little help. The right tools can make it just a little easier. So glad you and this provider got the “My Childcare Documents Binder Kit” and no longer have to worry about where your important documents are. That’s my goal; to help providers.
Wow….. thanks for sharing
You are so welcome Kathy! We can learn, benefit and hopefully avoid mistakes from someone else experiences. Thanks so much for the comment.