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Thoughts please on this difficult situation with our childcare

(28 Posts)
SuperDuperTrooper Thu 19-Sep-13 22:27:26

My 20 month DS has been going to his childminder since 9 months old. This week she had booked a holiday so put us in touch with her childminding friend who agreed to look after DS for the week. This friend had already had met our DS on a number of occasions as they have all been out on day trips together although DH and I hadn't met her before.

Anyway, on Wednesday I was off work and looked after DS myself. I noticed a big bruised lump coming up under his chin. I couldn't think of any time where this could have happened in my care. I was fairly confident in the fact that the new childminder would have let me know if he'd had an accident in her care. However, on Tuesday she had a school run to do. DS was asleep at school run time so she left him at her house in the care of her 2 grown up children (approx 18yrs and 22yrs). This wasn't agreed by us in advance and, although I felt slightly uncomfortable when she told me she had done that, I accepted it and made nothing of it. So it then occurs to me that perhaps DS hurt himself when left during the school run. So this evening my husband gently asks if there was any chance that DS hurt himself when she was out on that run. She said it couldnt have as he pnly woke up when she got back home. 3 hours later (9pm tonight) we get a text saying she is not willing to look after DS anymore after being accused of not caring for him properly etc. I called her straight away but she didn't pick up so I left an apologetic message stating we weren't accusing her of neglecting DS but just simply asking a question.

Now we are left without childcare tomorrow which is a problem. My biggest gripe though is how it feels as though I should not have asked what I felt was a simple question to try and fathom how my child got injured. I personally feel she has over reacted and made something out of nothing. Surely in 15 years of childminding we can't be the first parents to ask about an injury that may have occurred under her care?

So just wondering what others make of this and how we should proceed? She clearly doesn't want to discuss it so do I post her fees through her letterbox and let it go? What would you do?

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 21-Sep-13 23:43:55

If her children are registered as assistants then she has done nothing wrong.

ins Do you know the childminder? You seem very sure that her children aren't registered assistants.

Mandy It does matter who she left him with. If it's an Oftsed registered assistant, then she has done nothing wrong. If they're not registered it's a completely different issue.

Mandysname Sat 21-Sep-13 23:31:05

I agree, you have shown a lot of compassion to someone who was paid to csre for your child, but left him with someone else (no matter who it is). Breach of contract if nothing else. Add in the bruise...of course you have to challenge it....Not sue I would have been as calm as you. X

insancerre Sat 21-Sep-13 13:11:17

Legally, and morally, the CM is responsible for your child whilst in her care.
She should not abdicate that care to any other person.
I would actually be considerring reporting this cm if I were the op as she has acted illegally, and has breached serious safeguarding issues.
First, your child has an injury that is unexplained.
Secondly, your child has been left with complete strangers, who are probably not registered as cms or covered by insurance.
The cm needs to know that this is unacceptable and if that entails a surprise visit by OFSTED, then good.
Why should everyone have to abide by the law, except her?

SalsaP Sat 21-Sep-13 09:53:53

Thank you Savoycabbage. Thats reassuring smile

SavoyCabbage Sat 21-Sep-13 01:21:30

I think you have handled it really well.

SuperDuperTrooper Fri 20-Sep-13 20:34:18

I've been in contact with her today and have, once again, apologised for making her feel uncomfortable. I explained that it was just a query, no accusation implied, and that if was going to accuse her of something I would have come right out and said it - not just implied it. I thanked her for her time and thanked her for making my DS feel so welcome. I told her I would pop her pay in to her letterbox.

I'm not a confrontational person but will stand up for my son if that's what needs to be done. I was never blaming her for the injury or accusing her of neglecting him - its all been blown out of proportion from her over reaction. I don't want to rock the boat between my family and our usual childminder and am mindful of the fact she is a 15 year long friend of hers so there will be a lot of loyalty there. I'm going to leave it at that and put this all down to experience!

Thanks for all your thoughts. It has helped me to understand how this all went belly up!

mamamaisie Fri 20-Sep-13 16:09:05

It might just be a case of the query not being worded well. It can be a bit of a pain to take on a child for just one week and she may only have done it as a favour to her friend. Now a bruise has appeared on a day when she didn't even look after your ds and your first reaction was to ask if it happened in her children's care. She was probably just a bit upset and as you are not a long term client she has no real vested interest in keeping you happy. Her reaction may well have been completely different had you been one of her regular parents.

If you have no interest in salvaging the relationship I would keep hold of the fees until she actually asks for them. She may very well just write them off if she is scared that you will make a complaint. On the other hand, if you would like her to be a backup cover in the future, you could post the fees through her letter box with a nicely worded apology. Also, keep in mind that anything you say to your normal childminder will almost certainly be repeated to her.

Karoleann Fri 20-Sep-13 14:43:10

I'm sure its very easy to find out if they are registered assistants or not.

Having had 2 20 month old boys myself, I think its quite easy for them to hurt themselves without you knowing and I think if you noticed a lump actually coming up under his chin, its more likely to be a very recent injury. My DD who is way less bosterious than the boys has a red mark on her face today and I've no idea where it came from.

Nevertheless, she should not have told you at 9pm that she couldn't look after your son and should certainly not have left him with unregistered assistants (if they were unregistered).

You had a verbal contract between yourselves and she has breached that contract. You would be well within your rights to deduct a percentage from the amount you owe her for the extra expense of the emergency childcare and or your loss of earnings.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 20-Sep-13 14:06:19

'I agree that its unlikely her children are registered assistants as you'd expect that to have been stated in her defence.'

Does she know she needs a defence? She told you she'd left him with them and you 'accepted it and made nothing of it'! If you'd have queried it she may have defended herself by producing their registration.

She could have just not told you if what she was doing was against regulations. Your DS was asleep, he'd never have known and probably couldn't tell you anyway as he's too young.

SuperDuperTrooper Fri 20-Sep-13 13:58:17

Thanks all for you thoughts.

I trusted that the CM would have told me if something had happened to DS whist she was with him. That's why I began to wonder if something had happened when she wasn't there. I don't know her and i certainly don't know her children so felt the need just to ask the question. It was never meant as an accusation but that's how it has been received and I guess I can see why. I have asked our regular CM similar questions before and have never been reacted to in this way.

Nevertheless, accusatory or not, I find it very unprofessional in the way it has been dealt with. She has overreacted in my opinion and that has made me suspicious than I ever was. I agree that its unlikely her children are registered assistants as you'd expect that to have been stated in her defence. I don't really want to start rocking the boat here by asking her though as she has been friends with our regular childminder for 15 years now and would hate for this to affect the relationship we have with our CM.

I am self employed so I can take time off but at great expense and without letting an awful lot of people down. My husband has exhausted his annual leave for all the times he has stayed home to look after DS when poorly ( which has been a lot this year!) + a 1 week family holiday. We have financial commitments to meet and taking unpaid time off to cover CMs holidays is really difficult for us. Having a back up CM that has a 15 year connection with our usual CM seemed ideal and DS knows her and enjoys being with her. It's a shame this has happened.

PeterParkerSays Fri 20-Sep-13 13:24:15

I would text her again, explaining that your son obtained a large bruise in her care, for which you would have expected to receive an accident form. As you haven't received one, you're trying to find out what happened to him. You'd be asking the same questions if he had been with a grandparent etc.

But I think she's on the defensive with this, which suggests to me there's something wrong with what happened.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 20-Sep-13 13:20:49

Maybe she thought the other childminder had told her that? She's cover for one week, I doubt they had the same discussions you would with a permanent carer.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 20-Sep-13 13:13:59

if her children were/are registered then surely the cm would have said to op, my children are reg so sometimes if dc are asleep/its raining hard etc i leave them with them when i do the school run, rather then wake up etc

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 20-Sep-13 13:07:19

Her children may well be registered. A lot of assumptions here.

I think specifying the school run when asking her was your problem. If you'd have said at drop off 'have you any idea how DS got this bump?' it probably would have been taken better than 'did DS hurt himself in the short time he was with your children?'.

Take a days leave and talk to your childminder about it when she gets back.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Fri 20-Sep-13 13:07:00

Many people would not be in the position to take three months unpaid leave; OP might NOT have been able to get the days off.

So what?

It's ridiculous to suggest it's unreasonable parenting to trust another registered childminder to cover for your regular one.

WHat happened to the OPs DS could have happened with another carer, paid or otherwise. I agree her response was inadequate but going into the situation there didn't seem to be an immediate reason to distrust her.

minderjinx Fri 20-Sep-13 12:41:15

Many childminders I know have their children registered as assistants, either because they help out regularly or for the odd occasion when it might be useful (such as to avoid waking a small child to do the school run). I think it would be rare for a registered childminder to leave a child with someone unregistered - in the same situation I'd be sorry to have to wake him, but would do it rather than risk the consequences of breaking the rules. I am assuming you did not discuss this before agreeing to use her service for the week, but I wouldn't think your own CM would recommend her if she thought she would not have high standards of care.

... and are you really being fair in suspecting that your child has come to harm around school run time on Tuesday (say 3pm?) when you noticed no mark or bruise until some time on Wednesday? Surely he could have bumped himself at any time, even in the night, and that is a more likely explanation.

I'm trying to envisage why she may have reacted as she has - maybe she has done something wrong, but it's just as likely that she is insulted by what she sees as an unfair accusation (especially if she feels she is doing a bit of a favour).

BettyBottersBetterButter Thu 19-Sep-13 23:38:11

If her children aren't registered as her assistants then I would report her too.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 19-Sep-13 23:11:43

Sounds very dodgy and I would report her for leaving your dc with an unregistered adult to ofsted

I would also tell your cm what happened as hopefully she will also think its wrong

If you can't take time off work then try a emergency nanny (that's what I am)

Good luck and hope dc is ok

namechangeforareasonablereason Thu 19-Sep-13 22:54:47

Id have reported her for leaving my child with her children and never left him with her again.

Inclusionist Thu 19-Sep-13 22:49:28

TBH I wouldn't leave my DS with a replacement CM. You didn't choose her and haven't been through all the get to know you/ settling in stuff that is necessary. I think this is particularly important when a child is to young to be able to tell you about how they are cared for.

My CM took maternity leave when DS was your son's age and I took unpaid leave for 3 months rather than unsettly him with a temporary arrangement. I am a senior teacher so hardly easily dispensible.

I find it hard to believe you couldn't arrange emergency leave just for a couple of days.

PowerPants Thu 19-Sep-13 22:49:02

Agree with hettienne - attack is her form of defence. I would be upset she had left a child in the care of others.

SuperDuperTrooper Thu 19-Sep-13 22:47:26

That's what I thought SavoyCabbage but surely she understands that because we don't know her and her family we feel the need to have things clarified. Surely no one plonks their child in a new house with new people, leaves them to it, and doesn't ask questions - especially if the child has possibly been hurt. It's a real shame as DS clearly enjoyed being there and we honestly weren't accusing her and her family of neglecting him. Just wanted to try to find out how/when DS got injured.

hettienne I thought that too. The thing is she has now created a situation that makes me tempted to report her (not that I ever would) as she has left us in the lurch and seemingly over reacted to what was only ever a simple query.

hettienne Thu 19-Sep-13 22:44:03

Sounds like she knew she shouldn't have left your DS in the care of unregistered people and is panicking now that he got hurt when she wasn't even in the building - that's a breach of her registration so she is probably worrying you might make a complaint to Ofsted!

reddaisy Thu 19-Sep-13 22:39:40

You did the right thing. Your child was her care and she was accountable to you. She has also not acted very responsibly by not giving you much notice. It is a pain to be without childcare but I wouldn't trust her now anyway.

SavoyCabbage Thu 19-Sep-13 22:37:59

I spoke she feels like she is doing the other childminder a favour and therefore you a favour. And is therefore annoyed.

If you had a closer relationship with her then it probably wouldn't have happened as you would have just been wondering if that could have happened but because she doesn't know you she has seen it as an accusation.

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