Monday, August 27, 2012


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Friday, August 24, 2012

How to Talk to Parents About Raising Your Rates

How to Talk to Parents About Raising Your Rates

TalkingMoneyTaking about raising your rates is one of the most difficult conversations family child care providers can have with their day care parents.
During economic hard times it becomes more difficult to bring this up.
But even in good times most child care providers don't raise their rates on a regular basis. Many never raise their rates.
As a general rule, I believe your rates should reflect the quality of care you offer. If you are among the top 20% of quality caregivers (homes and centers) in your area, your rates should be in the top 20% as well.
I am not recommending that all child care providers raise their rates. Some prefer to keep their rates stable to serve low-income families. This is admirable.
If you do want to raise your rates, here are some suggestions for how to talk to parents about it:
* Notify parents at least one-two months in advance. It shouldn't be a surprise.
* Don't raise your rates in April (when tax bills are due) or December (when holiday expenses can be a burden).
* September is generally a good time to raise rates, because this is often when children begin school and you may need to fill an opening.
* You can raise your rates for new families only and keep rates steady for current families. This is not illegal discrimination.
* You may not want to raise everyone's rates at the same time. If you do, you run the risk of losing more than one parent at the same time. Stagger rate increases so only one family at a time is affected. You can pick the parents' anniversary date. Other child care providers regularly rates for everyone in January or September. There is no right or wrong about this issue.
* Don't try to overjustify your rate increase. No matter what you say, some parent may not agree with your reasoning. Just announce your new rates in writing. If parents ask for an explanation, consider telling them:
        "My costs have gone up (such as utilties, property tax, food)."
        "It is a cost-of-living raise."
        "I have another year of experience in providing care, and I've applied this knowledge to help your child learn more."
        "I have introduced a new benefit into my program (such as a computer, extra field trips, new curriculum)."
        "I will be providing better care for your child this coming year because ____________ (fill in your explanation)."
* Don't argue with parents who say your rates are too high. They may be too high for the particular parent you are talking to.
* Your best way of communicating about your rates is to talk about the value of your service rather than the price. The cost of providing quality child care is expensive. Parents can always find cheaper care somewhere else. Point out how your program benefits their child and mention that your rate takes these benefits into account. Parents will pay more if they can see the value of your benefits and the quality of your service.
* Instead of raising rates, charge annual fees for business liability insurance, attendance at family child care conferences, NAFCC accreditation fees, or other special expenses.
Although you may be reluctant to talk to parents about raising your rates, remember that parents stay enrolled in your program because they believe you are doing a good job helping their children. Also, parents are not going to say to you, "Isn't it about time you raised your rates?"
How have you handled it when you did raise your rates?
Portions of this article were taken from the new, second edition of my book Family Child Care Marketing Guide. Publised with the permision of Tom Copeland.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Child Care, children with disabilities, Can I reject them?

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Child Care

Clipart_reading_circle-315x254The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.
All family child care providers, including those who are exempt from their state regulations must comply with the ADA.
A disability is a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities: hearing seeing, learning, speaking, and walking.
Such disabilities include, but are not limited to cancer, cerebral palsy, deafness, diabetes, emotional or mental illness, epilepsy, HIV and AIDS, learning disabilities, and mental retardation.
Does this mean that you must care for every child who has a disability and wants to enroll in your program?
It means you must make "reasonable accommodations" to include children with disabilities. What is reasonable will depend on the individual assessment of the child’s needs and your ability to accommodate those needs.
You cannot deny care to a child with a disability for these reasons:
* Child has a severe disability
* You don’t feel you have the skills to deliver care
* Your policies say you don’t care for children with disabilities
* You don’t feel comfortable dealing with certain disabilities, such as AIDS
You must care for children with disabilities unless:
*Offering your services to the child would impose an “undue burden” (meaning "significant difficulty or expense")
* The child’s condition poses a “direct threat” to herself or others
Let's look at two situations:
Child in Wheelchair
A child shows up to your program in a wheelchair and you have 6 front steps. You would have to care for this child if you could accommodate her by: lifting her into your home, using a side entrance, or spending $100 on a temporary wooden ramp.
You would not have to care for this child if none of the above solutions would work and the only solution was to build a ramp costing $5,000 ("significant expense").
Child with a Severe Learning Disability
A parent wants to enroll her child in your program and the child has a severe learning disability. Your job is to find out what it would take to accommodate this child and properly care for the other children in your program. Ask the parent, the child's doctor/nurse for help in understanding what this child needs.
If you are able to provide appropriate care after obtaining a little training then you must provide the care. If it's not possible for one person to provide care for everyone, then you need to explore what it would take to bring in another adult to help. If you can find a volunteer, you must provide the care. If the only solution is paying a helper and the helper would cost you $400 a week, this would be considered a "significant expense."
You could then tell the parent that you can't afford to provide care. If the parent volunteers to pay the extra $400 a week, you would have to care for the child. You cannot ask a parent of a child with a disability to pay extra.
Family child care providers have cared for children with disabilities without much difficulty in the vast majority of situations. Having experience in care for children with special needs is a plus as you promote your program to prospective parents.
For additional help in understanding the ADA, talk with your local Child Care Resource & Referral agency or visit

Q&A About the Americans with Disabilities Act

Ada-compliant250The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law (passed in 1990) that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. All family child care providers, including those who are exempt from state regulations, must comply with the ADA.
Child care providers must make reasonable accommodations to include children with disabilities into their program.
Here are some questions and answers about the ADA:
1) Can I refuse to provide care to a child with epilepsy if I don't believe I am capable of providing adequate care for this child?
Read answer
2) Do I have to build a permanent ramp to my front door so a child in a wheelchair can enroll in my program?
Read answer
3) A parent with an autistic child wants to enroll her child in my program. I can't possibly provide one-on-one care for this child and care for the other children in my program. What should I tell her?
Read answer
The Disabled Access Credit is available for making your home more accessible to children with disabilities.  The credit can be used to help offset the cost of items such as grab bars, bathroom remodel, or wider doorways. Fill out Form 8826 Disabled Access Credit, then Form 3800 General Business Credit and claim the credit on Form 1040, line 53. You can also claim a disabled access deduction of up to $15,000 for certain expenses on Schedule C, line 27, instead of depreciating them. Examples of such expenses include: converting a van, remodeling, or building a ramp.
Image credit:
Legal & InsuranceFor more information about the ADA, see my book Family Child Care Legal and Insurance Guide.

NIÑOS CON DESABILIDADES, Americans with Disabilities Act y el Cuidado Infantil Familiar

El Americans with Disabilities Act y el Cuidado Infantil Familiar
El Acta de Cuidadanos con Desabilidades y el Cuidado Infantil Familiar

Clipart_reading_circle-315x254The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) es una ley federal de derechos civiles que prohíbe la discriminación contra las personas con discapacidad.
Todos los proveedores de cuidado infantil, incluyendo aquellos que están exentos de las regulaciones de su estado, deben cumplir con la ADA.
Una discapacidad es un impedimento físico o mental que limita una o más actividades importantes de la vida: escuchar ver, aprender, hablar y caminar.
Estas discapacidades incluyen, pero no se  limitan a, cáncer, parálisis cerebral, sordera, diabetes, enfermedad emocional o mental, epilepsia, VIH y SIDA, problemas de aprendizaje y retraso mental.
¿Esto significa que usted debe cuidar de cada niño que tiene una discapacidad y desea inscribirse en su programa?

Esto significa que usted tiene que hacer "ajustes razonables" para incluir a los niños con discapacidades. Lo que es razonable dependerá de la evaluación individual de las necesidades del niño y su capacidad para adaptarse a esas necesidades.

No se puede negar la atención a un niño con una discapacidad por estas razones:
* El niño tiene una discapacidad severa
* Usted siente que no tiene las aptitudes mínimas para darle el cuidado necesario.
* Su contrato dice que usted no cuida niños con discapacidades.
* Usted no se siente cómodo tratando con ciertas discapacidades, como el SIDA.

Tiene que cuidar a los niños con discapacidades a menos que:
* Ofrecer sus servicios al niño sería imponerse una "carga excesiva" (que significa "dificultad o gasto significativo").

* La condición del niño representa una "amenaza directa" a sí mismo o a otros.

Echemos un vistazo a dos situaciones:

Niño en silla de ruedas
Un niño aparece por su programa en una silla de ruedas, y la entrada de su casa tiene 6 escalones. Usted tendría que cuidar a este niño si pudiera instalar a la entrada una rampa fija, un elevador, utilizar una entrada lateral, o gastar $ 100 en una rampa de madera temporal.

Usted no tiene que cuidar a este niño si ninguna de las soluciones anteriores funciona y la única solución es construir una rampa que cuesta $ 5.000 ("gasto importante").

Niño con una grave discapacidad de aprendizaje
Un padre quiere inscribir su niño en su programa y el niño tiene una severa discapacidad de aprendizaje. Su trabajo consiste en descubrir qué podría hacer para dar cabida a este niño y cuidar adecuadamente a los otros niños en su programa. Pregunte a los padres, el médico o enfermera del niño para saber qué es lo que el niño necesita.

Si usted es capaz de proporcionar la atención adecuada después de realizar un mínimo entrenamiento, entonces debe proporcionar el cuidado. Si no es posible para una sola persona atender todos los niños, entonces usted calcular qué se necesitaría para traer a otro adulto que le ayude. Si usted puede encontrar un voluntario, usted debe proporcionar el cuidado. Si la única solución es pagar a un ayudante y el ayudante le costaría $ 400 a la semana, esto se considera un "gasto importante".

A continuación, podría decirle al padre que no puede darse el lujo de proporcionar la atención. Si los padres se ofrecen para pagar el extra de $ 400 a la semana, usted tendría que cuidar al niño. No se puede obligar ni pedir a un padre de un niño con una discapacidad que pague extra.
Los proveedores de cuidado infantil cuidan de niños con discapacidad sin mucha dificultad en la gran mayoría de los casos. Tener experiencia en el cuidado de niños con necesidades especiales es una ventaja y se puede ofrecer en su programa para los futuros clientes.

Para obtener más ayuda en la comprensión de la ADA, hable con su agencia local de Recursos de Cuidado Infantil o visite

Para obtener más información sobre la ADA, véase el libro de Tom Copeland
Family Child Care Legal and Insurance Guide.