I probably don’t need to tell you that there’s a lot more to running a childcare than just watching the children. A childcare provider wears many hats. Most of them all at the same time. And while we try to find a balance between our provider and personal sides, sometimes we could use a little backup. So who’s got the provider’s back? Is there such a thing as The Child Care Enforcer?
For a while now, I have noticed providers seeking help. Often times its help dealing with parents and some of the requests (demands) they put on caregivers.
A provider friend told me just today of a parent who was defying her sick and illness policy by bringing their child to daycare sick. My friend was so upset and wondered if she might terminate the client.
Whether it be extended hours or a special request, parents ask a lot from a provider. So I thought I would try to help find someone who could help.
Someone to help the provider deal with a difficult parent, find new clients or write a childcare contract. Someone who knows all the rules and the best way for you to apply them. A Child Care Enforcer if you will.
Is there such a person? Let’s find out – Who is The Child Care Enforcer?
Who ya gonna call? – The Child Care Enforcer
Now I know many providers might be thinking this will be a short search. After all, isn’t Licensing the one and only child care enforcer that the provider has?
In my experience, I have found that not really to be the case.
In fact, for the most part, the licensing body as a whole seems to have a CYA approach when it comes to dealing with providers. You know what I mean! They seem to look out for and be more interested in their own liability and concerns than that of the provider.
By issuing citations and fees after the fact and before ever advising providers of new “rules” (or how to enforce them), licensing does not always seem to have the licensee’s back.
Even when a provider turns to them for clarification and guidance, often times licensing can be vague at best. Instead of definitive rules or mandates when we need them, there will be “suggested” or “advised” procedures.
Nope! I don’t think licensing is The Child Care Enforcer.
Rules & Regulations
So if licensing doesn’t always have our back, surely the child care regulations do, rite?
Well, actually not always.
As I said, many times the rules and regulations that you would think would be in place are simply suggestions and not mandates. Unfortunately, this leaves many things open to interpretation. And that can be a dangerous game for the provider.
So wait! The regs don’t even have our backs? NOPE!
Over the years I have had to create many of my own policies and procedures that allow me to run my business the way I want and need it run.
Of course, these policies have their roots in childcare regulations and best practices. But they also have evolved to include specific issues that I have faced in my business.
Things like parents requesting me to administer medication, late pickups or tardy tuition have all been issues that I have had to develop my own policies for. And those are just a few!
Finally! The Child Care Enforcer We’ve Been Looking For
So who is it?
Well, my friend, the Child Care Enforcer is actually you! Now I know that’s probably not the big reveal you were expecting or maybe even hoping for, but in fact, for the most part, you are it.
Yeah I know. Another hat!
You are the one who has to navigate parent demands and mitigate liability issues at your childcare business. It will take for you to be confident in your abilities and experiences as a child care provider and business owner. And although licensing and regulations are there to guide you, many times you will need to enforce those rules.
Hooray for Resources
All is not completely lost. This is the part where the hero shows up to save the day.
Thankfully, there are some resources where a provider can turn to for help.
Resources for the Provider
Here are a few resources that a provider can turn to for clarification and guidance –
Advocate – Many states have what is known as a Licensing Advocate Program. This person’s job is to help the provider understand, comply with the licensing entity and follow licensing regulations. This person can be a great source for advising the provider.
Union – There are unions that are just for the provider and can be great for hashing out issues. You can talk to a real person who knows the rules and regulations and get help with handling many childcare issues. A childcare union rep can be a great resource for the provider.
Insurer – If you carry childcare liability insurance, your insurance agency can be another go-to resource for dealing with childcare issues. As you can imagine, they can be especially helpful for liability and legal concerns.
Other Providers – Having a community of providers that you can turn to with questions or for advice can be invaluable. For the most part, other providers are happy to share their knowledge and experience with fellow providers. They can warn you about bad clients and how they deal with difficult childcare problems. Consider reaching out to other providers in your community, Facebook Groups or childcare forums.
LPA – Your Licensing Analyst is supposed to help you understand and comply with childcare laws. I say supposed to because, as I said before, often times they can be less than helpful. That being said, if you are fortunate to have a good analyst, reaching out to them for help with a difficult parent or problem can be a good thing.
Who is The Child Care Enforcer?
Even though I started this post asking who was The Child Care Enforcer, and knowing that some of us wished there was such a person with that title (or that we could at least call on the Ghostbusters) the fact is that person is really you.
So here’s some tough love for you, when it comes to watching out for the best interests of your childcare business, the sad and sober truth is, for the most part, it’s on you.
In theory, there are a few good resources where you can turn to for help. And you should definitely reach out to those sources. But it is the wise provider that pays attention to the obstacles they encounter and adjusts accordingly.
Adjustments that come in the form of a new policy or practice that protects the provider as well as their childcare business. Then with your childcare enforcer hat on, stand up for business and bust those policy abusers.