29 August 2008

More on Daycare

On Monday, July 28th, I told Gabriel's daycare provider (verbally) that his last day was going to be Friday, August 29th, because he would be starting preschool. We had a conversation. It was normal and fine. On this Monday, August 25th, she mentioned something about next week and I was like, "Wait wait, this is his last week, remember?"
"I told you he would be going to preschool in September?"
"I don't remember that."
"Um. Okay?"
"I require four weeks written notice. I guess today would be one week?"
"Well I gave you notice." I need to walk out the door and go to work, so I say we'll discuss it later, but we really never do. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, pass by, and I never REALLY think about it. This afternoon, I realize that we never talked about it again, so I call her (my sister's picking up Gabey this afternoon, so I potentially won't see daycare provider again).
"Hi it's Jennifer. I just wanted to remind you that today's Gabriel's last day, and we never resolved that bit about the notice."
"Oh yeah, I'm kind of busy doing lunch for the kids right now, so could you give me a call when you get off work? We need to talk about you bringing that check by."
The thing is, I went back and read our contract, and it DOES say that she requires written notice. I didn't realize that, and I didn't give it to her. But I DID give her verbal notice, and at the time she said NOTHING about needing it in writing. She's not at capacity right now, so it's not as though she's been turning kids down on account of assuming Gabriel's presence. And she's just one person, so if she needed that in writing I feel like she SHOULD have said something. But I guess if she wants me to pay her, and theoretically this were going on Judge Judy or something, the law would be with her, because I signed my name on that contract. Nevermind not having $600 to spare, I don't think it's the morally correct thing for her to do to charge me because she's forgetful. But I know intellectually that she is in the right. And my stomach's in knots about this phone conversation I have to have today, and I don't know what to say, and I can't decide what's fair. And I really don't want to end things badly because I like her daycare, and it would be great if I had her as a backup for Gabey.


  1. Well if you don't have it to pay, you don't have it, and I would be upfront about that. I think it's kind of crappy that she even expects it in writing. Call around and ask other daycares what their policy is and see if that's normal. I'd find another provider in case you need one, but I don't know how often you would. If he's too sick to go to school, daycare won't take him either, and any other off days by the school will be already sheduled for the entire year, so you should know far enough in advance to get off work or find other arrangements. If she wants the money, I guess she could sue you.

    You could explain politely that giving her the money will mean you can't buy groceries for the month and see how she reacts. If she's a bitch about it, you won't feel bad about not being able to pay her.

  2. All of the daycare centres that I have had my children at had the same policy. They did however waive that policy when I gave them verbal notice. It is her own fault that she forgot and yes she should have told you when you first mentioned it that she would need that in writing. It is absurd for her to expect you to pay a whole month's worth of daycare when the child will not be there. If she insists, offer to pay one week and call it even. Its not as if there are multiple people working there and so they require proof that someone was told...there is really no reason for the written notice

  3. Looks like the daycare center is more interested in taking your money than paying attention to the development growth of your child. If your child has been attending this daycare for many months, then they should be able to adjust. Are the parents organized as a feedback group in this daycare center?

    Did they not notice that the child is growing and is nearing an age when they should be going to Pre-K? The daycare provider should have been talking to you about the child's development progress and next steps.

  4. Fuck 'em all, I say.

    Thats my motto.

  5. Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry to hear. Does the contract state that she requires 4 weeks written notice or you will have to pay $600? If not, I would definitely play on that. If she does require written notice, she should have said something when you gave it verbally. But if she's isn't at capacity, she might be more hard up to get that money because she doesn't have a back up. That sucks.

  6. is there a way to negotiate that if you pay the $600 you can collect those four weeks in the future?? so that you could use the time when his nursery school is on vacation???

  7. I'm with annac. Ask politely, after saying something like "I'm sorry that you don't remember our conversation. I understand your policy about 4 weeks notice and I'd like to use your daycare in the future, so...."

    But if she's going to be hardnosed about it and unwilling to extend a credit for future care, insisting upon payment for essentially nothing, remind her that she has already strayed from the terms of the contract itself by accepting your verbal reminder during your second conversation.

    Do you see? Since she is willing to accept that you have given her verbal notice one week prior to pulling your son out, the written element of the contract doesn't seem to matter. So then the issue is just whether or not the original conversation (the forgotten one) happened at an appropriate distance from the date of termination. She might say that she doesn't remember the conversation, but if it does go to court a small claims judge might be willing to ignore the contract in part because she has already willingly voided it, and it's up to the judge to decide whether or not you are telling the truth about having had the original conversation, not her.

  8. Hi, I'm just blog surfing today and came across your post. I was a child care director for several years, and everywhere I've worked in that capacity has had the same policy about written notice, however, the policy was usually something like this: 1 month written notice in order to receive your deposit back (which was paid at the time of registration), or not be responsible for the following month's tuition (due by the first of the month, so September's tuition would be due by the last Friday in August). HOWEVER, anytime a family notified me verbally that they were planning to withdraw in x amount of time, I remind them of the written notice policy in the course of our conversation about why they would be leaving, what their child care needs might be in the future, etc. Sure, technically it was the parents' responsibility to follow the contract that they signed at registration, read family handbooks, etc., but it isn't exactly realistic to expect people to remember every detail of the registration materials they read/filled out months, or even years, earlier.

    And your story is exactly *why* programs have that policy, because child care directors are spread in a million different directions all day long and it is easy to forget something that someone mentioned to you in passing a month ago if you didn't make a point to write it down right away. But she should have reminded you of the policy at the time you mentioned it to her initially. And if she isn't operating at capacity right now, she really shouldn't be burning bridges with a parent who might possibly be interested in using her services in the future, or might recommend her program to friends/co-workers sometime down the road. You never know.

    Just my unsolicited 2 cents!