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If you are running a home daycare, not every family will work out. So make sure you have a daycare termination policy in place beforehand and know how to write a daycare termination letter. Unfortunately, sometimes that is part of running a home daycare.
Someday, you may have a child that just will not adapt to your daycare environment or their behavior is so out of hand that you can’t help them enough despite what you do. I recently had this happen. For nearly two years I tried to work with this child’s behavior. And while he made a ton of progress, it wasn’t enough to make a good environment for any of us.
I love this child tremendously as I love all of my kids, but sometimes love isn’t enough. I will always love him, I just can’t keep him here. When he came, he was leaving marks on everyone, bite marks, scratches, and bruises. Over time he was hurting less, but the kids didn’t want to be around him because he always hurt them still. It wasn’t fair to them.
I kept him right with me, so if I had to leave the kids to use the bathroom or make lunch, he came with me. It was very stressful to have to worry about kids getting hurt every second of every day. But I loved him so tremendously that I kept at it.
In 27 years I have cared for 99 children in my home and I have never expelled a child before this. I tried to work with his parents but it didn’t help. I asked them for help over and over again. They just made excuses and blew it off. So when I tried to press them further for help, they got upset.
It’s been a couple of months and I am still so heartbroken that I have not replaced him and cannot even think about getting a new student. I really don’t know what to do, but I do know that in time, I will figure it out, so I’m going easy on myself for now and taking care of my own mental and physical health. That is what is best for everyone.
Daycare contracts and policies
The answer to every problem is not to terminate care for a child. And in this case, I put my whole heart into it. I did research and identified what I thought the problem was. I tried to stay in communication with the parents as much as I could. I was consistent with him. I took classes once I realized more of what he needed that I didn’t know how to give him. I bought specialty equipment that helped a lot, but none of it was enough. He was still hurting people.
I don’t like to give up on people and I probably would have never let him go, but when I pressed his parents for more than just excuses, they got really upset. And I was unable to continue care with them. The problem for daycare providers is that we are givers. And sometimes we give too much.
I was hoping to have them come in and we could come up with a good plan, but we were unable to get that far and it was really disappointing. I wish it would have turned out differently, but come to find out, they didn’t think my care for him was adequate and they blamed me and the other children for the problems. So there was nothing I could do. When they started blaming other kids, I had to terminate care.
I say all of this to say that there are steps you can take to help a family and termination should never be first. There were so many times I should have let this child go though, so when you know that the situation is not good for anyone involved, then it’s time to move on. I wish I would have done it sooner, but I thought more love and effort would fix it and it just didn’t.
They didn’t follow my contract at all. They dropped off late, picked up late, dropped off early without asking first, made excuses for everything, paid late every week, I had a family emergency and I had to wait 4 hours for them to pick up so I could get to my family, they sent their son in underwear and he pooped all over my floor and furniture when I said no to underwear. It was a constant struggle. But I thought I could help the child with consistency and enough love. There’s not enough love in the world for parents that don’t respect you.
Not only that but it wasn’t appreciated. The parents just thought I was stupid. And then two months later, I got a visit from DHS. They had filed a complaint and made up lies about me. Fortunately, I had all the notes I had given them and the correspondence with them to back up what I had done. So DHS ruled it as a false complaint, but it sure did take a toll on me.
So what can you do when faced with impossible odds? Here is what I recommend:
- Be open with communication. Text, call, talk at pick-up time, send a letter, whatever you can do to let the parents know there is a problem. Even if they make excuses every time, still keep them in the loop of what you are doing. They have a right to know how it’s going. Do the best you can, you are a person too and no one will handle stress like this perfectly.
- Keep records of the behaviors or whatever the problem is so you have a snapshot over time to show yourself how much it’s improved or how bad it really is. You may be like me and have so much passion for helping children that you don’t step back and look at the big picture. My biggest regret is not doing it sooner. My group would have been much better off and maybe he would have found a place that worked better for his family too, who knows? But you can also use those records to defend yourself should they turn you in as my family did me.
- If you feel like you’re at an impasse and there is just nothing you can do to make it work, then it’s time to start the termination process. Of course, you can let a child go any time you want to, but if you can make it easier on the family, then that is best. In my case, they really got upset and started blaming me, which is fine, but then they started blaming the other kids, I was unable to give them notice. I couldn’t allow that kind of hostility towards children to come back into the facility where they were. So I said he couldn’t come back. And of course, they didn’t pay me for the care I had already provided or the two-week’s notice. But I was more focused on protecting my group of children. I could take them to court, but it would only hurt them more. And I love them and care about them, I don’t want them to be hurt. They did sign a legally binding contract, so it is my right. And if you want to go that route in that situation, then do it.
Daycare policies and procedures
In your daycare policy, make sure you have parameters set for daycare termination.
What are some reasons that daycare should be terminated?
- Parents won’t comply with daycare rules
- Destructive or hurtful behavior by the child
- Late pick-ups
- Non-payment or paying late
- Disrespect towards the provider
- Bringing child sick
- Dishonesty by the parents to the provider
- The child makes the atmosphere negative for everyone else
Of course, there are more, but you get the idea. These are definite deal breakers.
Sample daycare termination letter to parents
People ask me often how to terminate care. What is the best thing to say in the letter, and how to give it?
Steps to terminating a child from daycare:
- Communication over time, make sure they know from the beginning there is a problem. In my case, I had communicated with the parents since the beginning, but they said I didn’t. So keep records.
- Document, document, document.
- Give warnings before you take action, so they have time to prepare and know what’s coming.
- Don’t explain too much, stick to the facts and be honest.
- Don’t accuse or blame, be objective.
- Don’t get defensive. It’s hard not to when someone criticizes what you pour your whole heart into, but remember, these people are upset and they may say things they don’t mean. In my case, I know this child and his parents know I love him. They said I don’t because they were lashing out.
- Make sure to reiterate that you care about their child, but you have to be concerned with the group as a whole.
- Remember that even if you give your all for nearly two years, they still may cause legal trouble for you anyway. And they waited nearly two months to do it, so I’m glad I kept everything. KEEP YOUR RECORDS!
Below you will find a sample daycare termination letter that you can edit and print out to use.
- Make sure you hand the letter directly to them so they can’t say they didn’t see it.
- Stay firm in your decision, don’t let them beg you to reconsider.
- Keep it short and to the facts.
- Contact your licensing agency to let them know there may be a problem.
And here is the word document that you can edit and use.
I hope it helps make your transition smoother. I’m rooting for you!
Check out what Tom Copeland has to say about protecting yourself from false accusations too.
For more home daycare policy help, check these out: