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Parent-Provider Contract & Week in Review

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Dear Debi,
I have a job interview for two children, but I donít want to go into this without something in writing. Please help me come up with at least a brief generic contract I can print out and have them sign.
Jennifer, Eureka, CA
Debi's Tips
Debi Gutierrez
Debi Gutierrez
Host
5 of the most important points no contract should be without:
  • Fees If youíre just starting out, call your local resource and referral agency to find out what the going rates are for your community. This section should also specify the different rates for part time care, your payment policy as well as additional fees
  • Hours of Operation List exactly what days and hours child care is available. In this section you should also include rules affecting when the parents may drop off or pick up children. This sets up boundaries since parents can be lax about picking up their children.
  • Absence & Child Illness Policy Most family child care providers require parents to pay the fee when the child stays home sick or when the child is on family vacation. Itís important to make this point very clear in your contract because often parents think they donít have to pay if their child stays home sick. Also, this is a good place to let parents know that part of your responsibility to the children in your care is to protect them from illness whenever possible.
  • Termination of The Agreement There are many situations in which parents or the provider may wish to cancel a contract altogether for a certain child. This section spells out to the parent how much notice is expected from both parties.
  • Guidelines for Releasing Children Use this portion of your contract to make sure that parents understand that their child will only be released to them or a person specifically authorized by them in writing to pick up their children.
WEEK IN REVIEW
And don't forget about the great things that we learned this week:
Expert Advice
Melissa Lawton
Melissa Lawton
Attorney, Child Care Law Project
A contract is an agreement in which the provider agrees to care for the child and the parent agrees to pay for the services and both agree to fulfill these promises according to the terms of the contract. Family child care is a unique business situation and a written contractual agreement is evidence of what is expected of both the provider and the parents. And a written contract demonstrates to parents that you take your work seriously and that you command respect for it.

Most disputes between parents and providers arise not over whether a contract was formed, but over differing interpretations or understandings of particular terms of the contract, which can arise long after the agreement was made. During these disputes, you and the parent will remember the agreement in a different way typically the way most favorable to yourselves. Should the argument escalate to the point that you end up in court, a written contract is clearer evidence of your original agreement with the parents than is your recollection of your verbal agreement.

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Resources
National Network for Child Care Ė Parent-Provider Contracts and Policies
California Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Divison
California Resource and Referral Network
Building Child Care
Public Counsel
LAUSD/Early Childhood Educational Division
First 5 California
Downloads (Get Reader)
Parent-Provider Contracts in Family Child Care Part 1 pdf
Parent-Provider Contracts in Family Child Care Part 2 pdf
 
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