31 answers

Daycare Provider Terminated Us

Our daycare provider gave us a termination notice effective August 15, 2012 for "parent/provider differences." On Saturday we received an invoice in the mail from her for service dates August 13 to August 29, 2012 totalling $510.00. I advised her on Wed., August 15th to not pick up my children from school on Thursday and Friday. I believe I owe her for August 13 to August 15 totalling $102.00. The concern I have is it is noted on the invoice "late fees and small claim case will be filed and filing fees will be added to the parent's outstanding balance." We have NEVER paid late and am also questioning this clause. Our contract reads "a twp week notice must be given by the parent or by the child care provider in writing." I also plan to contact State Licensing because of concerns I have with her and her daycare practices.
I need all the advice I can get, please!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

You owe her the final two weeks, as YOU elected to terminate the services "early"? I'm just guessing here. What was the language of the notice... if it is dated 8/15 but it is a "two week notice" letter, than she's letting you know that you have two weeks left and you have made the choice not to use her. If that's the case, you owe her the money. If she's "back dating" it, then you don't.

My guess is that this is going to cost you a FORTUNE in legal fees and hassle, so I would simply pay it and move on.

4 moms found this helpful

sounds like she's within her legal rights. you can fight, and MIGHT win, but you're looking at an awful lot of angst and clenched teeth and adrenaline and drama.
perhaps if you can approach her calmly and without rancor you can get her to meet you in the middle.
khairete
S.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I would have read the termination notice a little differently.
To me, they were giving you 2 weeks notice as of the 15th - meaning the end was officially the 29th.
Which means - you could have used (and still can use - the contract is a double edged sword) the service up to and including the 29th and then be finished.
So you are paying for that time - which gives you time to find a new daycare and them time to fill the vacancy.
Your deciding not to use them to the end of the 2 week end period is irrelevant as far as the contract goes - they are entitled to that pay whether you use them or not.
The late fee notice is basically letting you know she's not going to allow you to ditch out on paying for that remaining final 2 weeks - the longer you stall on paying it, the more it will cost you - it's standard contract stuff we're talking about here.
You have to read through contracts (before signing them) and understand what they mean.
Hopefully the next daycare place will be a better fit for you and your child.
ALWAYS read through the contract carefully!
If there is something you don't understand - ask what they mean and have them spell it out specifically so there is a meeting of the minds and a complete understanding.
Contacting State Licensing is just vindictive on your part and a waste of time and energy - and it makes you look bad.
Let it go and find a new place.

11 moms found this helpful

I've been a daycare provider for over 20 years. It sounds as if you owe for a 2-week notice which is typical but it's all going to depend upon your contract with her. The reasons for termination are irrelevant. The late fees most likely refer to if you do not pay the $510 by the due date. Many parents don't realize that you pay for a space in the daycare and that is regardless on whether or not the children attend. Again it will depend upon the contract you have with her. I would not contact licensing regarding your concerns and the reason I say that is because it will be looked at that you are a disgruntled parent because your provider terminated you and therefore you are seeking revenge. Also, if you had concerns 'bad enough' in order to contact licensing why on earth would you not pull your child yourself at the first sign of concern and make a report then? You left your child there until the provider terminated you so you must have been comfortable enough. I would pay the fee since you have a 2-week notice, find another care situation and make that a very good one with great communication from the beginning. Good luck and I hope this helps.

10 moms found this helpful

She gave you a final invoice. You changed the terms & cut her out on that 2 week notice. She stuck to her contract terms, you didn't. Therefore, she is entitled to pay for those 2 weeks.

& regardless of what complaints you want to take to the State Licensing Board, it is your very own behavior which has pushed her past her endurance limitations. 2 sides to everything....you have complaints & obviously she does, too. This is not said in judgment, but as an opinion from the back row. :)

Negotiate a settlement personally....& move on. You want to complain about her practices & she could just as easily blacklist you thru the grapevine!

& one more thought: if you truly have issues with her daycare practices, then why didn't you pull your kids before she gave you notice? That says to me that there truly were "parent/provider differences"!

8 moms found this helpful

Was the notice effective 8/15 or was the termination effective 8/15? The difference being that she gave you termination notice on 8/15 and if it was the two week notice, then you technically owe her for the next two weeks (til 8/29). If it was effective 8/15 that they weren't allowing your child back, it would seem you would only owe her through 8/15 (but then why would you have to tell her not to pick up your child on Thursday & Friday??? That statement makes me think she gave two week notice and you wanted to pull your child immediately and, based solely on what you have just shared, if that is the case you would owe her and they are reminding you what happens if you don't pay.

You definately need to read the contract you have and the termination notice as well to be sure you have a firm understanding of the situation regarding payment.

**added** the home daycare we used to take my daughter to did take people who didn't pay to court for non-payment when they quit with no notice AND owed her for the prior week (it was not us but I know of at least one mom she did take to court). There were also older late fees that she never even charged them and they still did her this way. She went to court w/ the contract and won. She even got her wages attached! It can and does happen and when it does, you are even responsible for the court costs.

6 moms found this helpful

Sounds to me like the "effective date" of August 15, is the date the two week notice is counted from. So, two weeks after 8/15 would be 8/29. Which would be the date they would no longer provide daycare for your child(ren). The invoice covers that period of time.
The fact that you advised not to pick up your children for 2 of those days (last Thursday/Friday) doesn't void your contract, which appears to remain in effect thru the end of the two week notice period (until 8/29).
But that is based just on what you posted here.

You didn't post WHY you have issues with her daycare practices. If there are safety violations or whatever. Or what your specific contract says...

5 moms found this helpful

If you have a contract with her that allows for two weeks notice for termination (either by the provider or parent) that means you still have to pay for those two weeks whether you choose to continue sending your child or not.

The late fees and threats to file a small claims case means that she will charge you the fees and take you to court if you do not pay the $510.00 by the due date on the invoice.

If you don't want to get sued, either send your kids for the two weeks and get the services you paid for, or lose out.

This is why you have to be fine with what a contracts spells out before you agree to it and sign it.

5 moms found this helpful

How can we possibly advise you, we can't see the contract.

Tell me exactly what the contract says about notice given for changes and termination and we can help you otherwise read it yourself. If what they have done is within the language of the contract then you owe the money.

After reading what you added that isn't the contract that is the termination letter. If you fail to pay what they have demanded, if it is within the wording of the contract, then you are late therefore the late fees. It is common practice in small claims court that the looser pay court costs.

Again if it is within the wording of the contract that you must give two weeks and what they did was gave you two weeks then you owe the money and everything they are threatening you with is legal. You will have to pay it and the only thing fighting it will get you is late fees and court costs. Contracts are binding.

So far as contacting state licensing, be aware that she can go after you for more if it is proven that you did so in order to avoid paying what you legally owe her. Courts do not like games.

What is ambiguous about a two week notice? They gave you one, you CHOSE to pull them, you owe the money since YOU did not give them a two week notice.

5 moms found this helpful

I would pay her and move along.

5 moms found this helpful

Were you not current in paying your day care provider on a regular basis?

Did you sign a contract?

California is an at will state.

Need more details in order to give accurate/better advice.

5 moms found this helpful

You really need to give more information here. It sounds like there were major problems here for her to "terminate" you. Why did you not want her to pick up on Thursday and Friday? Do you have a contract with her? If so, what does your contract say specifically? Is a 2-week notice required if you decide to discontinue services with her? If so, then you probably owe her the money. However, it sounds like she discontinued services with you with no notice. It seems like she would have to give you 2 weeks notice so that you could find alterate care. In that case, has she left you in a bind with no advanced notice?

Frankly, if she left me in a real bind and there was no contract in place, I would be hard pressed to pay her for 2 weeks that she did not care for my children.

ETA: So if the contract says that she has to give two weeks notice as well, is the termination date really August 15th? Not that you would necessarily allow this, but is she willing to take the kids for those last two weeks or is she refusing to take them back? If it is the latter, then she is not fulfilling her end of the bargain.

As far as late payments,if you have been paying by check, then it is quite easy to prove that you are not late. If it was cash and you don't have a receipt, then it is definitely a he-said, she-said.

4 moms found this helpful

I think you need to call the provider and talk to her.

I'm in agreement with those who say that the onus is on you to continue to allow your children to go to care until the end of that two week period on Aug 29. Two week notices are designed to protect both the parent-- who doesn't deserve to be left in a lurch due to a provider instantly dropping them-- and the provider, who can be all too easily left in a financial lurch by parents who change their minds about care and 'dump' them. I had a two week notice stipulation in my contracts with parents for preschool care.

Had you terminated the arrangement first, then she would have been on the hook to provide care for the remaining two weeks. I mention this because I wonder if you decided to stop care because this was an uncomfortable situation, which is common. Because of the disagreements it sounds like you had with the provider, it would have been equally uncomfortable for her if you had quit care and brought the kids for the remaining two weeks, but she still would have been on the hook for it too.

If you feel she is running an unsafe program, then do report this. And from what I understand, most courts will agree that if a program is unsafe, you have every right to pull your child out, but that you are also bound by the contract you agreed to initially. So, it might be best to call the provider and see if you can suss this out instead of not communicating at all.

4 moms found this helpful

sounds like she's within her legal rights. you can fight, and MIGHT win, but you're looking at an awful lot of angst and clenched teeth and adrenaline and drama.
perhaps if you can approach her calmly and without rancor you can get her to meet you in the middle.
khairete
S.

4 moms found this helpful

If your contract states that both parent and provider must give two weeks notice, then she cannot give notice on 8/15 and not provide care for two weeks after that. Likewise, she cannot charge you for those days.

However, if she gave notice 8/15 but planned to keep the kids through 8/29 and you decided not to send them anymore after 8/15, I believe you are responsible for paying the money.

If she says you paid late but you don't believe it, ask for written proof. Do you have all of your checks? Can you prove when you gave them to her and/or when they were cashed?

Do not contact State Licensing until after you have sorted out all of the finances and your children are no longer in her care.

4 moms found this helpful

It's hard to give advice when the events leading up this letter have not been mentioned. Therefore, I'm not sure how anyone can give any intelligent advice on this.

I mean, did she just screw you over & make all this up because she's crazy? She plans to sue you in small claims court, so obviously there's a long back story here.

4 moms found this helpful

The State will not get involved with the money issues, and they will know that any complaints you are making regarding care are because of the money issue.

I am wondering if the "late fee" stated is for times that you were late in picking up your child. You don't mention what the "parent/provider differences" are, if you know what they are.

I would try to get a little clarification, use her services until the 29th and give yourself a little time to find other care.

M

4 moms found this helpful

You owe her the final two weeks, as YOU elected to terminate the services "early"? I'm just guessing here. What was the language of the notice... if it is dated 8/15 but it is a "two week notice" letter, than she's letting you know that you have two weeks left and you have made the choice not to use her. If that's the case, you owe her the money. If she's "back dating" it, then you don't.

My guess is that this is going to cost you a FORTUNE in legal fees and hassle, so I would simply pay it and move on.

4 moms found this helpful

Look at your signed contract. The judge will rule by what the contract says.
You will have to prove you called her and cancelled service on such and such date. But if the contract says you were to give 2 weeks notice, you WILL be responsible for the 2 wks after you told her you no longer wanted to pick your child up.... plain and simple.

3 moms found this helpful

When she gave you the termination notice was she giving you a two week notice? that's what "usually" happens. If she is, then you need to pay for the two weeks. If it was immediate...the 15th...then you need to pay her for the 13,14, and 15th.
I am so so so curious as to what happened?! You don't hear about a lot of daycare providers terminating their kids...usually it's the parents breaking up with the daycare.
Either way...take a look at the contract you signed with her to find out if it says that you need to pay two weeks at termination.
Laura

3 moms found this helpful

What is the due date on the bill? The late fee clause is probably just a notice that she will take it to small claims court if you do not pay by the due date.

As far as the dates you have to pay for, I agree with the others that you need to look at the contract you signed initially. She may be within her rights to charge you.

As far as contacting the state...what was the issue that you feel is bad enough to report her? What is her side of the story which prompted the termination?

3 moms found this helpful

Was the termination served on 8/15 or was it effective on 8/15? If you were served 8/15 and your contract has a 2 week notice, you may end up owing because she was still available and willing to watch your kids as per your contract. If you were served two weeks prior to 8/15, making 8/15 your last available day of care, I cant see where you'd be legally bound to pay for more than the 3 days... it sounds like the first scenario is what you're describing, but its hard to tell... write a check for the 3 days, write "full and final payment" in the memo, and send with a letter detailing, in very unemotional language, that you are rendering payment for the services provided. See where that gets you, shes prob trying to "scare" you into paying. Additionally, it would appear that you are reporting her out of anger/vengeance/frustration, if you had true concerns, you would have pulled your kids without her terminating you, and you would have immediately reported these "concerns" that are suddenly important because she wronged you. Don't bog down the system with petty issues or set yourself up for legal problems if they're not true (maybe even more trouble if they are true and you allowed your kid and others into a situation you're gonna claim to know about) .

3 moms found this helpful

There are 2 sides to every story. We are getting a portion of your story and none of hers.

Your provider seems driven and determined. What provoked this action and what is the concern you have to report her to the state. There must be some underlying issues here between you both.

Read the contract carefully.. Like some others have said, most of the time, these issues are the parent pulling the child from the daycare vs the daycare releasing the child from the contract.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

Without knowing the circumstances, and what your contract says...we can't help you much.

3 moms found this helpful

Here's the thing. She may turn this over to a collection agency but chances are she'll never take it to court. She terminated you, she broke the contract therefore you do not owe her anything beyond the days she watched your child.

I would ignore it or simply tell the collection agency when they call that she broke the contract and you have the letter to prove it. Would they like to see it? Then tell them to not contact you anymore the debt is a false claim. If she does spend the money to take you to court you will just need to present the letter and explain that services were terminated by the facility therefore she broke the contract and you do not owe any money.

If she did carry this far enough to put this debt on your credit report, which can have an explanation tagged on it to dismiss it totally, I would simply let it go still. People have stuff on their credit report all the time that is wrong. A simple note attached to the claim is all that is needed for anyone looking to dismiss it.

I can tell you from 13 years experience in child care that she would be stupid to take you to court. Most "contracts" in child care are not worth the paper they are written on. They are not legally binding contracts. The provider will tell you they are but my attorney advised me that unless they are notarized and filed properly they are not legal documents. They are merely an agreement between two people that lists out what the other one wants the other one to do. That's it.

I stopped even writing one up. I did have my parents sign a paper that said they had read the parent handbook and agreed to the terms of it. That they understood about the late fees and that they must be paid before their child can come back. That payments were due on Monday mornings and that if they did not pay it their child could not stay until they did. I did make exceptions of course for parents who were good parents that usually paid on time and didn't make unreasonable demands.

If you think talking to this person is something that can be worked out then by all means go ahead and try but do NOT get sucked in and think she has any real intentions of taking you to court. I would not even pay this any attention at all. In fact I would file it away and ignore it.

If I did get a call from a debt collector I would explain it was a false claim and they needed to take it up with her. Then I would contact my attorney and ask them to write her a letter stating that if she did not cease from contacting his client and passing false information to debt collectors, and basically committing slander against you that he would file XXX papers against her immediately.

Follow through with the call to licensing. Have you looked at their online inspection reports? Do they have many they didn't pass 100%? I always had something, the door was not locked the way they wanted, the toilet seat was not down on the toilet in the school kids bathroom, the band aids in the first aid kit were getting low. stuff that is important but not life threatening.

I would tell them everything that I noticed. I am adding some links that will have some licensing information so that perhaps you can brush up on the things you have observed she is not doing or does not enforce.

Please note that she may have sent the bill before terminating your services or by a billing person. This is unlikely but still. She broke the contract by terminating your services without the 2 weeks notice she is asking you to pay for.

http://ccld.ca.gov/PG411.htm

A variety of different links within the CA child care licensing area. I would click on it then decide which ones to research.
http://ccld.ca.gov/serp.html?q=child+care+licensing&c...

2 moms found this helpful

i agree with others. if her notice was 2 weeks, she followed the contract and you have to pay. if not you're in violoation since you did not give 2 weeks.
read the contract it may state if one party gives notice the other has a right to terminate. that's your only chance

2 moms found this helpful

What does the fine print of your initial contract with her say? It may have a stipulation that regardless of termination date, you owe her a full months pay for services rendered.

While this stinks and is unfair for sure, you may have signed something long ago agreeing to this. You need to find out. If there is nothing that guarantees her pay as she's demanding, then you can call her on it. If she decides to get nasty, find a good arbitrator or prepare for a small claims case.

I say read the fine print of the original agreement you have with her and take it from there. If there's no agreement signed, just a verbal one, she has no real just cause to demand that money. It's a she said/she said sort of thing and a situation that will probably only be resolved in court.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm confused. You say the termination was effective August 15. Do you mean that the provider indicated that he/she would no longer provide care after 8/15, or was the letter dated 8/15 and intended to serve as notice that he/she would stop providing care on 8/29?

If the former is the case, then no, you would not owe for any services after 8/15. Your provider terminated the contract effective that day, they can't charge you for care they refuse to provide.

If the latter is the case, then yes, you owe for the month up to the 29th, so you may as well use the daycare you are paying for.

1 mom found this helpful

It is likely not in your favor that you are calling state licensing after you were termed. One would wonder why the problem didn't bother you before you were terminated.

I called licensing on a daycare center and they said they had to catch them in the act. They were understaffed and failed to feed my daughter as a baby. The girl said I cornered her and made her say it and that it was not true.

1 mom found this helpful

I would pay only for 8/13 - 8/15 and give her that with a cover letter disputing any further fees/charges. Also, note in your letter that she did not follow policy by giving you two weeks notice. (It doesn't sound like she did.) Then wait to see what she does.

If she files a Small Claims, just go in with a copy of your contract, a copy of your check, a copy of the notice she gave you and a copy of your cover letter.

If she picked the kids up on 8/16 and 8/17, did you or someone go to get them IMMEDIATELY which would evidence the fact that you did not need her to get the kids. If the kids were left in her care, then she can reasonably argue that you had no one else to pick them up and she did it rather than to leave them unsupervised. IMO, a lot of whether or not you owe her is going to depend on when you picked them up from her on Thursday and Friday.

ETA: I guess I misunderstood. If her notice on the 15th gave a termination date of 8/29, you do have to pay for that time period whether you use her services or not. She will prevail if you push it to court so you should go ahead and pay it before it increases because of the legal costs.

1 mom found this helpful

I would read over your contract, if it says that you will still owe the two weeks even if she terminates with proper notice and you signed it then you owe for the two weeks, and she could make a big deal of it if you are leaving on bad terms with her. If she is not terminating you because you have confronted her on conerns that you have with her daycare, then I would think twice before reporting her, if you feel you were wronged on the money side of it then pray about it and it will work itself out on her. but if she is terminating you because of your concerns and you are in disagreement with her actual daycare practices and not the money then report her butt! But whatever the contract says does go...Good luck and i really pray that this is not too much of a headache or finacial problem for you and your family and I hope you can work things out with the provider if you talk to her. Sometimes they do this with the anticipation that you will not pay anything so talk to her...

What I'm guessing happened is the daycare provide terminated you on 8/15, but per the 2-week notice clause has to watch your children until 8/29. You felt uncomfortable and didn't want your children watched until 8/29 so you told her not to pick them up.

I don't think the daycare provide will take you to small claims court because it would cost her more in time and fees than it's worth. She's just bullying you with words to get you to pay. She'd have to lose an entire day of work just to GO to small claims court. Plus she'd have to pay a lawyer in order to get the case filed. Not worth it for $300.

If I were you, I'd call her and civilly discuss a compromise. Let her know you understand that she terminated the agreement and you both need to continue the contract until Aug 29 because of the original contract. However, you felt uncomfortable sending your kids to a place where you, the parent, and she, the provide had differences. I would offer to meet in the middle and pay for one week. She will probably take the offer in order to avoid a big legal headache. Get receipts and get everything in writing.

Good luck!

I am guessing the 13-29th is the 2 week notice, assuming she was planning to keep them through the end of August. I don't see how she can charge you for time that she isn't caring for them, unless YOU are the one who terminated without notice. If a 2-week notice was in the contract, you will likely be responsible for paying it. She is also responsible for watching them during that time.

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