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CM threatened to take me to court! Any help?(128 Posts)
Hi, I am just after some help and advice on how to deal with this issue.
We used a local CM in Nov this year, who lived just across the road from us which we thought was really handy at the time.
3 weeks into the contract, one day my son (3 yrs old) returned home and after the dinner he complained about pain on his bottom. I later found out from him that he was smacked by the CM. There were red marks (similar to 4 fingers shape) on his bottom, I took photos and video of him as evidence. Spoke to the CM the next day and had a meeting with her at my place, but she denied everything happened to my son. I also reported to Ofsted on the same day as advised by my son's nursery.
Ofsted responded very rapidly and as a result the CM's registration was suspended for 3 weeks during the investigation. S/Service and Police were also involved but they said they couldn't not established any evidence and place any charge on her because they couldn't interview my son due to his age. Police said the child needed to be at least 4 before they could interview the child.
Becuase of the lack of evidence through the police and s/service, now Ofsted didn't do anything but sent us a letter notifying us of the outcome which was what we were expecting anyway.
The CM just dropped off a letter last evening blackmailing us to pay her money for her loss of income, stresss and all the problems caused by the allegation we made against her during the 3 weeks' investigation conducted by various officials. She demanded £5000 plus the 4 weeks notice and said in the letter if we don't pay her the amount, she would take us to court.
Can she claim that much against us esp. for her loss of income and stress etc? I thought as parents, it's our duty protect our child from being mistreated by CMs, and the proper way to resolve the matter is to report it to Ofsted. Whatever action or investigation they were susposed to do was completely out of our control and why should we be responsible for the 3 weeks taken by Ofsted to complete the investigation?
The other thing about the contract is that it's a NCMA standard contract, on page 4 usually there is a notice period. But we couldn't recall we have agreed on the 4 weeks notice, all we agreed was the 4 weeks holiday notice. Also, later we noticed we were not given page 4 so we couldn't check what's written on it. After the incident we asked her to give us back the page 4 of the contract but she didn't. Instead, she exchanged the carbon copy (all 4 pages) with our 3 original pages. We carefully examined the carbon copy and notice there was nothing written on the notice period, it's blank.
Any advice would be highly appreciated!
If your contract doesn't say anything then she can't stick to the 4 weeks surely? That's why it must be in the contract or she has nothing to prove this.
did ofsted give her an action re the smacking or didn't they do anything?! I would be tempted to say go ahead and take me to court With the evidence you've got as you were perfectly within your rights to go to ofsted etc.
Ask her to put it in writing from a solicitor, call her bluff as to claim that amount it would have to go to a full court hearing at huge expence and presumably have the backing of ncma.
Ofsted said they couldn't find any breaches of the guideline or legislation simply because the police and social service couldn't establish she did anything wrong as they couldn't interview my son due to his age.
I deeply believe my son wouldn't simply lie about the incident as he mentioned 3 times within the same hour with a mention of the CM's name and what happened to him, even showed us how he was smacked.
Ofsted now resumed her registration and I think that's why she is now try to take the advance of being cleared by Ofsted and make some money off us!
I believe she must have insurance cover with NCMA and solicitor's fee paid by the cover.
I got the feeling the police and s/service may be on her side as the CM cleverly got some reference from other parents to support her and showed them to the police and s/services.
I think you should get some legal advice but my (non legal) view is to tell her to take you to court. You acted in good faith and not maliciously and you truly believed (and still do!) that she hit your son. I think that to win a case against you, doesn't she have to prove that what you did you did knowing it was false?
I am not a lawyer.
write to her thanking her for the letter and tell her its been forwarded to your legal rep and that from now on any contacts should be made to them.
btw she is bluffing you she cant ask for ££ for lost of earnings from you
Tell her to take you to court. I'd rather eat coal than give some harridan who hit my child a single penny. If she calls your bluff you'll end up in small claims court where I cannot imagine a judge would rule in her favour otherwise he would send the message that as parents you should be cautious about reporting abuse in case the police can't build a case (which sadly happens a lot).
Definitely get legal advice, as she may be suggesting that you made a malicious complaint, resulting in her loss of earnings!
thank you for everybody's support. I am definitely going to seek legal advice this coming week.
i totally agreed with springboksaplenty and will not fall out a single penny.
if she tries to prove my complaint is malicious, i a not gaining anything from it. i wasn't even trying to use this to break the contract early, as i already paid for the 4 weeks in Nov and only used her service for 3 weeks. I had also arranged the childcare voucher to start from Jan 2012 as soon as we signed the contract.
i just felt she is being greedy!
I am stunned that a cm was cleared of smacking a child simply because e was too young to interview. You have photo and video. What evidence could they possibly find at her home? This is terrifying. What about babies in her care who can't report back?
We use a Cm and love her, so I'm not cm bashing at all, just shocked at what they can get away with for under 4s!! How would they ever be able prove abuse? I am horrified.
Hmm... just because there is evidence of a smack, doesn't mean the CM did it though, as far as the police are concerned.
She sounds like an absolute loon. I imagine any innocent person would just be relived she was exonerated.
I think if it went to court it would cost you a fair bit in solicitors fees, but less than she is demanding, and she would be highly unlikely to get a penny out of you.
Legal advice is the way to go.
Lynnette that's exactly my point. There could never be enough evidence to convict cm of smacking an under 4, then. this cm is dangerous, if he's actually done it.
I am planning to obtain all information on file from the police, ofsted and social services, through freedom of information act like the other parent did, so I can at least see the cm said during her interview with them.
I knew she could have counter blame us the parent for doing it, to the police and social services.
Like HavePatient said cases like children under 4'S are likely to be dismissed? If they can't be interviewed.
Definitely seek legal advice and take it from there.
I found it totally unreasonable for her to claim loss and damages due to this complaint and subsequent investigation by ofsted.
Was the letter from CM or her solicitor?
bloody hell how stressful
DioneTheDiabolist, the letter was from the cm, unprofessionally written.
Bluffing me and said it will be costly for me to go to court she gave me the option to pay her £5k to settle the case.
Also not sure if she did it deliberately or not, she put down her house number as 56 instead of 84, and letter was unsigned and hand delivered by her sister.
In theory yes she can - it would be the small claims court. It will cost her about £100 to file the paperwork.
You then get a chance to defend - you just say that your child suffered physical abuse whilst in her care. You can then put in a counter claim for damages for your child, emotional distress during the investigation, having to find alternative childcare etc.
If you cannot come to agreement she can then take you to court - it is very informal and the onus is on her to prove the loss. Youy turn up with your photographs, a letter from the police stating why they could not interview your child.
But that is not likley to happen.
She will probably follow this with a second letter / call and at that point you can involve the police, because two contacts count as harassement. She is harassing you for reporting a crime.
I would be so bloody angry I would be quite prepared for it to go through the courts whatever the cost.
Do you think though she even knows about the letter, as it was delivered by her sister, unsigned, with the wrong house number? Could her sister have taken it upon herself to do this? Just a thought.
Definitely get legal advice.
You do hear of cases where the Police don't prosecute but the case is taken up by the victim instead and they then win (?due to different levels of evidence required?) Ask about that - to scare her off if nothing else.
let her take you to court and she will end up paying for the court costs if she even dares and make sure any communication between the two of you, you keep and any indimidation take her stupid arse to the police , i had the same problem with my CM she sort legal advice i think she was told she had no case and she backed off,
LynetteScavo, I am not sure if her sister might have done it on behalf of her, but just couldn't figure why they used a different address.
We are getting very angry with person as she was trying to make ridiculous demand after each phase of the complaint, thinking she is now cleared by ofsted and police etc and she can bluff people off.
I am yet to find out from Social Service what their inspection outcome was, as I still haven't heard from them since they came.
She isn't just claiming what she thinks YOU owe, but damages for other loss of earnings, so she can't take it to small claims. Not sure what her cause of action would be. Definitely get legal advice, and don't do anything else until you have. Check your own house contents insurance for legal cover too. CAB might be of use to you too - check online and the helpline number if it's operational in your area (not sure it's national yet?).
Have the Police/Ofsted seen her letter stating that you should pay her £5000? I agree with what someone else said, if she was innocent and this was all just a mistake then she would be happy just to be cleared. She sounds like a money-grabbing piece of work. Don't let her bully you. Tell her to go ahead and take you to court and see how quickly she drops it. You haven't done anything wrong. She on the other hand most probably has.
Rollergirl1, police and ofsted have seen the letter yet as her sister only dropped off the letter last Friday, but thanks for reminding me and I think I should forward the letter to them for their records.
I don't agree.
If I was guilty, I would let it all quietly die down.
If I was innocent and had been unjustly accused, I would want compensation for my loss of earnings and the tarnishing of my reputation. How long has she been a childminder, OP? How many other children does she look after? Three weeks earning could be substantial.
Okay....now she has a duty of care towards your son, therefore you have a claim over her under law of tort google it - its complicated. There is also a contract issue and in no looking after your son correctly she, i assume, has also breeched her contract in not looking after your son correctly.
The level of evidence/proof needed in a civil court is far lower than in a higher court (which is where your case would be likely to be held). If you have photographic evidence as well that is likely to strenghten your case.
I'd write back saying that their is no notice period in your contract, if she does want to take the matter to court you will issue a counterclaim as your son was assalted in her care. Be careful only write the facts as you don't want to be accused of blackmail.
We ended up in a civil court last september as someone rear ended me and then claimed I'd backed into them. Although the build up was a bit stressful, the actual court appearance was fine, their story didn't add up and we won plus costs (which was my nannies fee for the day and DH's cost of his day off work).
If the CM smacked your child, it's a repudiatory breach of contract - this means something that is so fundamental that it brings an end to the contract with immediate effect. The notice period - whether or not you have this in writing - is no longer in point, so you don't owe her a penny.
I would fight this to the nth degree if I were you, I'd be absolutely bloody furious, not just with the CM but with the police and SS too.
Call her bluff, and ignore her. Then if she sends a letter from the solicitor respond by sending a letter from your own solicitor stating you will not only defend yoursdelf against her claims, but will also counterclaim. remember if it goes to court it could be reported in the local media that she was accused of assaulting a child, suspended for three weeks and is now suing the parents. As it involves a child, I do not think you could be named as that could identify him.
I would call her bluff. I can't imagine there would be any way that the small claims court would award her any money for stress and loss of earnings. Why doesn't she sue social services or the police...........because she knows she hasn't a leg to stand on.
In the mean time I would report this latest development to ofsted and the ncma.
malovitt, mrsthomsontobe I absolutely agreed with you two.
however, the reason she could go free, as I have mentioned before, was due to the fact that the Police & Social Service were unable to interview my son due to his age. Although they had seen the photos and a video I took of my son, they couldn't use those as evidence.
Once again, I would like to emphasis this was not a malicious complaint against the CM, it's genuine and I have nothing to gain from the complaint. All fee was paid up the day after we signed the contract.
There was no reason for us not to believe what our son said, as he repeated said 3 time that he was smacked by the CM and even showed us how she did it to him.
Next morning after he woke up and he said he was sad and didn't want to go to her place again. How much lie can a 3 years old make up??
This CM has only been business since 2009 and all the current children in her care are much younger than my son. 1 x infant under 1, 2 x 2 yr old and 1 x 2.5, then my son, another boy 5, but the CM only does his school run and he doesn't stay at her place.
I found she is somehow dodgy because when she was home, she asked her sister (who is not Ofsted registered) to look at the children for a short while like 0.5-1hr.
I have seeked legal advice today and they agreed with what I did. Purely for the safegaurding of my child and as a duty of parent.
I have also asked for all information on file from S/Service, Ofsted via Freedom of Information Act, will be requesting the Police for more information soon.
I got the feeling that Ofsted did relay very much on other agencies' findings to make their own judgement, if the Social Service and Police cleared her, then there wouldnt be any more for Ofsted to look for.
I just found out S/Service has now closed the case without even notifying us by either phone or writing.
VivaLeBeaver - NCMA is absolutely useless as they didn't even want to speak to you about anything unless you are a member of them. They said they don't deal with any third party but their member, they don't regulate their member but to provide a service to them. Ofsted, somehow I find their investigation not that useful, not saying they are useless, as they said in their final reply letter: they only look into any breaches of regulation and won't approve or disapprove the complaint.
Anybody has ever consider her loss of income was a direct result of Ofsted's legnth investigation? Cuz if they could have finished the investigation a bit quicker like within a week, wouldn't the CM be able to know if her registration could be unsuspended sooner?
Regarding your child having been with the CM for 3 weeks only, OP: as far as I can recall there is a section on the front page of the contract allowing for a settling in period during which no notice is required if either party wished to cancel the contract. Have a look at it. The fine print on the back states something to the effect that a settling in period without notice should be given.
I reckon you should take legal advice, but call her bluff and tell her to go for it. "See you in court!" as they say.
Good luck. Let us know how you get on.
Alliwantisaroomsomewhere, thanks for your support.
I checked the contract and there was a section on page two about the settling in period, it was crossed out and I think we both agreed not to have one, as my son had a few days with an hour or so as settling in days. So we were happy with her service initially.
But the termination notice field was definitely blank and nothing had been dicussed or agreed during the meeting when we signed the contract. I think that's already good enough, I had this checked by a solicitor and she said that's fine and we don't have to give the CM the 4 week notice.
I'd just ignore it.
If and when you get a more official letter from a solicitor etc, then think about acting. But she can't do anything by herself and going to court takes ages and costs money. She might well not bother.
She is having a laugh!
Essentially she is blackmailing you. "Damages" above and beyond the losses associated with the alleged breach of contract cannot be recovered in the small claims court, she is essentially saying pay up this additional sum or I will take you to court, not pay up what you owe.
Do you have a reasonable relationship with the police that were involved in the investigation? If you do I would make an appointment to see them and show them the letter saying you feel harassed by her behaviour. Ordinarily police (rightly) won't get involved in civil matters but she has crossed the line and her behaviour could be interpreted as a criminal offence.
If you haven't signed an agreed notice period, there is nothing she can do regarding asking payment for this. But as I said, three weeks loss of earnings for her may be substantial and, if she didn't do anything, is probably extremely angry that a child whom she has minded for just three weeks has turned her life upside down. I'm not calling your son a liar, you know him best, but I'm trying to see it from her point of view if she did nothing. The demands for payment do not sound as if they come from a person who knows that she has done wrong - far from it from my point of view.
So, OP, what time did your son leave then cms and what time did he say to you his bottom hurt? Did he say she smacked him through his clothes/nappy? It must have been with some force to leave a red mark hours later? How many other children were on the premises at the time?
What grading was her Ofsted report? And the other bit you said about her being dodgy - that she left minded children alone with her non-registered sister? When did you find out about this - when you were still using her?
Sorry for all the questions - i just find it unbelievable that a cm would hit a child like that. Perhaps I just know really kind and gentle ones who wouldn't dream of doing anything like that. I look after 3 year olds myself and they sometimes come out with all sorts, blaming others who weren't present for breakages etc...
malovit plenty of people hit children, like that. I find it unbelievable that you can't even consider that there might just be a bad childminder out there who would.
I see you trying to see the other side, mallovit, but it really sounds like you think the op is lying. I'm really shocked that people in charge of children can get away with abusing them because you can't interview someone under 5! I am not saying many do but it's that 1 in a million - 1 child is too many.
If a cm is working alone and only ever hits a child in her home with all under 4s present, how is anyone to know? It seems even with marks and photos, s/he can't be caught because there isn't any 'evidence' (?wtf?)
I can see it protects the cm from parents and children lying maliciously but what about the one cm who is harming children?
Please tell me what evidence would be good enough for a police officer/social services/ofsted when a cm has actually smacked a child under 5 as in this case and left a mark - in her own home with no one else over 4 to witness it? What would that be?
Easy to cover up.
Sorry, but it is.
I'd like the op to answer my questions first.
I don't think she is lying HavePatience. She took the correct course of action by reporting the alleged incident to Ofsted.
I'm sure there was a red mark on her child's backside, she took photos of it. But I'd be interested to know how she questioned her child - "Did CM do it?' or "Who did that?" and letting him answer himself.
I'm sure that there must be cm's out there who lose their temper and lash out. But something here doesn't sit right with me somehow.
In my opinion, the way the CM is asking for compensation for loss of earnings would indicate to me the actions of someone unjustly accused. I feel, as I have said earlier, that someone who was guilty would just let it lie.
malovit she is not just asking for compensation for loss of earnings she is threatening the OP that if she doesn't pay an additional sum of money (that would not be recoverable through the small claims court) then she will take her to court. She is blackmailing the OP. which is a criminal offence and fairly indicative in my view of someone morally bankrupt.
If she hasn't signed the letter then she hasn't actually made a demand then.
I'd send a copy to the police, but she can deny in court ever making the demand (as it wasn't signed).
Do not reply to her, call her bluff and even if she makes a 'real' demand then send it to your solicitors and get them to send her a notice that all future corresndence is to come via them.
Did your DS say why she smacked him? I hope your DS is feeling happier.
I don't know where you get the idea that because she hasn't signed the letter it isn't a demand. A fairly strong inference can be drawn that it is from her
Add message | Report | Message poster SaraBellumHertz Sun 08-Jan-12 13:57:28
I don't know where you get the idea that because she hasn't signed the letter it isn't a demand. A fairly strong inference can be drawn that it is from her
Because DP got a letter of demand awhile ago and when we got legal advice (in Australia) we were told that as the letter wasn't signed it wasn't considered to be legit. (BTW the demand on DP was baseless)
Yes it COULD be inferred it was from her, but it could equally be inferred it was written on her behalf or it could also be mischievous from her sister.
It is a technicality but it IS an unsigned demand. Granted there are different laws in different countries, but I'd expect that this one point would be the same for both countries (which is why I only made this one point)
No I think anyone, guilty or not would try to make their name good again or at least take course of action to make it look like they are innocent (acting as a wrongly accused would have).
Anyway. I want to know how we prevent a cm (not necessarily this one) from doing something like this as it seems they just won't get caught if they are careful enough
I can tell you as an English barrister that such a letter could be used in court as evidence of a demand it perhaps wouldn't be given as much weight as if it was signed from her but since it is presumably worded as a request to pay her it is a fairly probative in evidential terms.
My son came home around 2pm and we notice he was in pain around 8.30pm, before that he had a nap, tea, play and dinner.
That day he was wearing a thick fleece trousers (not on nappy anymore), not sure if he was wearing it or not when he got smacked, but he described who (the CM) did it and showed us how (we filmed him). He said it was done upstairs (probably in the toilet). He repeated it three times within the same hours.
He always feels cheerful going to the CM's place before, but not after that night. Next morning we asked him if he wanted to go, he said "no" and "sad".
We even asked why shs smacked her, my son's reply was that the CM told him he was "being a naughty boy".
Yes must be quite a lot of force. CM claimed it could be radiator mark at our house? how dare she, to leave such mark when the child was wearing a thick trousers, the radiator must be boiling hot. she's just trying to find excuse.
We were told there were another two boys in the house both 2 y.o (as twins) and then my son.
Haven't looked at her Ofsted grading as she was recommended by a friend of mine initially.
dogdy things about her? well my son was only in her care for 3 weeks, we probably notice her dodgy things during the second week.
The CM dropped of another letter last Thurs, this time it was an amendment of the first one, she apologised for the mistake she made, about the wrong address & unsigned. In a way, she confirmed the first letter was from her. But still asking us to reply to her letters.
Small children don't always tell the truth but 3 finger shaped marks on his bottom several hours after the event? Clearly someone made them! I don't think it would have been one of the other children. As for children under 5 being too young to interview, I think that depends on the child.
don't give this woman a penny, she's bluffing
I don't know what to advise but do you have to reply if it's not from her solicitor? Anyone know if op can just ignore it as it's BS anyway?
Ok since I've out myself as a lawyer (ans should make clear i'm a criminal practitioner hence advice on harassment - also posted in old name QOD) I am making it clear that I am not providing specific professional advice however if I was in the OP's position I would write a very short letter stating that
I) in the absence of a specified notice period, no such notice was contractually required and therefore no breach
II) notwithstanding the above the cm's mistreatment of your son would negate any requirement to provid notice.
Additionally demands for payment above and beyond the alleged amount in respect of the notice period have no basis in law and any further requests for the same will be deemed harassment and reported to the police.
You do not intend to enter into any further correspondence regarding this matter and any further letters will be passed onto your legal advisor.
Then ignore ignore ignore.
Not partic well worded - BF baby and on phone - amend as you see fit
Sara I just read 'Sara' before and now I've noticed your full name - that is a GREAT name
havepatience Thank you <<<twirls>>>
I have been dying for someone to notice it. I even had to hijack someone else's new name thread
SaraBellumHertz, thank you for the advice.
Am I being reasonable to put in the letter that she or relatives should not step foot on my property to hand deliver any future letters? as each time her sister sneakily drop off a letter through our letter box.
Now we got the second letter, (or even the third one in the future) from her, will this constitute a harassment?
No problem :-)
I think you would be entitled to say something along the lines of "I do not intend to enter into any further correspondence regarding this matter. Please refrain from paying any further visits to my home address"
In terms of the offence of harassment it is made out where a person pursues a course of conduct which amounts to harassment, and is aware or ought to be aware that it does. Harassment has a wide definitiona and can include alarming or distressing a person.
Sending threatening letters to a person, visiting their home when being asked not to etc could all be interpreted as harassment.
If you have genuine concers about this woman's behaviour speak to the police about her.
I think you should write a letter using SaraBellum's words but change 'you' to 'I'.
What world is she living in that she thinks she will get paid by a family who sought help for suspected smacking of a child by trusted cm? Even if SS and police and ofsted cleared her ( which I still believe is stupid and I think even less of ofsted ratings now - and I'm a teacher at an ofsted outstanding school saying that), the op still had reasonable suspicion ( and evidence with photo and video) that cm hit her child.
Does the cm honestly think that the op will be charged for looking out for the welfare of her child (and others in cm's care?)
SaraBellumHertz, thanks again for the advice.
I had amentioned to the Police during their visit to my place to take our statment, even before I received her letter as I gathered she could be this type of person. They advised me advised to seek legal advice she tried to make a claim against us and contact the police if she became harassive to us.
HavePatience, definitely, I will use Sara's words.
Behonest, we couldn't think of a reason why those red marks (clearly 4 fingers marks with the second being longest - possibly the middle finger) appeared on my son's bottom and my son repeatedly said it was her who did it. My son also mentioned her giving him Thomas the Tank Engine toy to comfort him after the incident. All these just added up and I don't think my son would have such telant at his age to make up a story which made so much sense to adults!!
I am also pursuing with S/S as they still haven't given me a single letter or report to give us their investigation result but they had already closed the case!
Contacted Ofsted and tried to clarify with them about their role in this complaint, their reply was they only there to check with the complaince. They didn't investigate this particular incident to prove or disprove if the CM had mistreated my son. They said it was the S/S & Police jobs to investigate.
Yet, these two bodies couldn't establish anything becuase of "insufficient" evidence as no interviews could be conducted.
When I asked when would Ofsted consider striking off a registered person, they siad depended on his/his suitability. As there was no evidence to show this CM was unsuitable to stay on the register, they couldn't remove her from it.
The most rediculous thing was, when the Police told us they couldn't interview my son due to his age, but they said Ofsted could do more as Ofsted would not be restricted by the same legislation! Yet, Ofsted said they would not involve body else other than the registered person. Aren't they just passing the can? And S/S was trying to avoid getting back to us.
Have you sent her a reply kbjin? <nosey>
havepatience, I am drafting one at the moment. Planning to send it to her end of this week.
A bit of update for everybody, today I got a court letter and the CM was trying to claim £5000 off us for the same reasons she stated in her letter.
Keep your video and photos and follow Sarabellum's advice when she returns with it.
I can't believe it! I'd probably seek advice in the Legal section too! keep us posted.
Is it Small Claims? She doesn't need a lawyer or even advice for that. You can represent yourself.
She must be desperate for money! Said on the claim I destroyed part of her and I was very "decitful" (her word) and she's claiming loss of earnings, stress / "defination" (again her own word) of character.
Also claiming her loss of income for 3 weeks in her letter but not put down 4 weeks in the court claim form.
She hasn't a leg to stand on re her emotional stress. As for lost earnings, shouldn't she have had insurance for that?
Second that you should ask in the legal sectiion.
Havepatient, its small claim, from the wording she put down on the claim form, doesn't look like she's got a laywer helping her at that stage.
My legal advisor said she may have chosen small claim court because she does have to pay for costs if she loses.
Other than loss of incomes and stress she also put down defamation of character, can't see what she can claim for damages to her reputations? Nobody has made it public about her wrong doing and ruined her reputations unless she chose to tell those parents whose kids were in her care.
I though her insurance would have cover her loss of earning too?!
Agree it sounds as if she hasn't taken any sort of legal advice. She can only sue for actual financial loss eg had you agreed a notice period and not observed it, she could claim that (but, without rereading the whole thread, I seem to recall that no notice period was mentioned in her contract with you). Loss of earnings while suspended should be covered by her insurance, and as for £5k for hurt feelings, the court will laugh at her.
She's obviously upset, but there is no financial compensation payable for that.
Hello OP. The Childminder is innocent until someone proves she is guilty. Police and SS could not prove she is guilty so I can see why she is suing for emotional stress and if she probably was not allowed to work while investigation was taking place she is also right ask for loss of earnings. Are you aware that she has the duty to let all her current and future clients know that once an allegation was made against her and she was cleared as innocent...even though you and other agencies can't prove she is guilty she still have to let all her future POTENTIAL clients know. Her reputation is damaged forever. Even though police says she is innocent - and just in case she is innocent - this won't look pretty in her profile. TBH I find it really hard to believe that a smack done before 2:30 would still hurt and leave marks at 8:30....and 3 years old children lie a lot you know, you better get used to that. And tbh I also find you to be a dodge parent, you signed a contract you didn't even realize there was one page missing, you didn't make sure you had a notice period and you didn't check the CM's ofsted report because she was recommended. Yet you knew she was living the children with her sister and dint do anything about it. I think the marks on your child are from somebody/something else (why not in the nursery), he is lying and you overreacted.
Are you the cm sassyminder?
Wow. I would hope that no parent would EVER lie about something like this. Incredible.
Now Imagine that there are parents out there who come up with allegations against childcare just to cover up their wrong doings or to take petty revenge. It is a scary business. I as a CM see so many parents being so careless to their children and let them hurt themselves or put themselves in dangerous situations that could easily be avoided, those will be the same if their children has a minor scratch on the knee while with CM's or nurseries, will be calling police, ofsted and so on...
Hello and big wave to the cm/cm mum/cm sister/cm best friend
Hope you counter claim op
I've wandered in here by accident, but thought I'd add my opinion.
Surely, if a professional in ANY sector is prevented from trading, and loses income due the actions of a regulatory body who are conducting a genuine investigation, then it is considered a business risk which can be insured against?
This situation is the same as if someone complained about my service/food (I'm a caterer), and as a result, the Environmental Health Dept stopped me trading while they investigate. Once the investigation is complete, they may well let me trade again.
Unless I can prove that the complaint against me was malicious, with the intent of damaging my reputation/business, there is nothing I can do. I can't seek compensation from the person who complained - they genuinely believed that it was my service that was the problem, even though it turned out not to be the case. This is a business risk I take. I can take out insurance against that risk - and the insurance will pay out if they are happy I did not do anything wrong (and can prove it, hence the need for copious records!).
Talking of insurance <and this was my main point, really> - Have you got household insurance, OP? Most policies include legal cover for situations like this - I'd leave it in their hands and let them thrash it out with the Childminder, tbh.
Oh yes. If her insurance is up to date, so she should not be asking for money and is a business risk if a dodge parent make a malicious complaint about them...(in fact anybody can make a complaint and any anounimous allegation against a CM will be investigated by Ofsted)
It just scares me tbh how risky this business is for the provider....and obviously for families and parents if you are unlucky enough to choose a dodge CM.
Sorry OP for implyinh your child lied, I did not want to say you are dodge, but there are bad CMs and also bad parents out there...and bad people...so it just scares me that a parent or anyone can make an false malicious allegation against me and even if I am not guilty, it will damage my reputation forever...
sassyminder - in your defence - that was the point I tried to make earlier. Even if OP knows she is right, CM might also know she is right (or pretend she is right) and be very upset about the business she has lost as a result of the complaint. She has lost income and goodwill and future business. She may well have deserved this, but none-the-less it has happened.
I have no idea over the legalities of what she is claiming, but OP has taken legal advice which should help.
I really cannot see a court awarding damages because a parent reported a suspected assault to the police. This would open up a can of worms, and unless she showed evidence that you only made the report to cause her trouble, rather than being genuinly concerned I would be shocked if a court awarded her a penny. Especially as you did not make the knowledge public.
I would be very surprised if she was awarded anything,.
sassyminder, i found it shocking you described us as dodgy parents simply because we didnt notice the page 4 was missing, didn't check her Ofsted record etc and said my son lied (according to your understanding). May be you are a CM, so you are on their side??
Let me tell you he didn't lie, we were sure he didn't becuase we asked him questions from different directions. Give you an example, our first language is not English, when we asked my son's why did he get smacked, he said the CM said "being naughty boy" in English. These three words would not have come from our mouth.
Two weeks later, when the police came to our place and my son saw the picture of his bottom, he said "smack smack!" and then followed by the CM's name. He thought it was funny to be smacked. How hurt was it for a parent to see your kid saying that.
My 3 y.o. loved to go to the CM since he started but reluctant to go to nursery, in comparison. After that incident, he said he didn't want to go to the CM's place the next morning because he said it was sad!
There was nothing for us to gain and get off by reporting her to the Ofsted, but this was an advice given by my son's nursery manager. I had set up child care voucher through my work place on the same day the contract was signed.
Our contract started on 14 Nov 2011, and the incident happened on 23 Nov 2011, being busy parents with a new born baby, there wasn't enough time to make sure everything was in place.
Over-reacting? I trust all responsible parents would do the same thing and take the child out from the CM's care if they found marks on the child's body. I dont think any parents would risk this! If anybody would take this risk, please post and let's know why.
Kelly2000, I completely agreed with you, esp I dind't make anything public, Ofsted didn't even publish the incident as they didn't have to take any action.
HSMM, you are dead right about the buisness risk. I am a chartered surveyor and it is compulsory to take out professional indenmity insurance & public liability insurance to cover both the business and third parties, if I am running my own firm.
I can see the CM's has put down her insurance policy no. on the signed contract, should that be enough to cover her own business for loss of income and other bits?
Aprt from the insurance business. Isn't true that every child lies at any age if they think what they are doing is funny and try to fool the adults? Therefore, as parents we should simply take it easy and ignore whatever the child said and whatever marks we may find on their bodie? How crazy it this? Shouldn't have kids in the first place for those who has this kind thinking.
children do often lie, but when I did my child protection training, they told us that when children make a disclosure adults must believe them, so it is a very tricky area.
I hope this is all resolved somehow and the child is ok.
If she is insured by NCMA, their policy shows the following (amongst other more irrelevent points):
The cover under the policy can be summarised as follows:
Legal liability for or arising out of:
Accidental injury (including death) of any person in the care of the Insured Childcarer (including costs and expenses incurred in defending any matter forming such claim).
Accidental loss or damage caused to a third party or the property of the third party in the course of their childcare activities.
Extensions to the policy
Legal cost of defending civil actions arising out of the above.
Key exclusions to the public liability insurance policy arising out of:
Abuse or physical punishment carried out by the insured member.
No mention of loss of earnings ...
HSMM, thank you for the information. Key question, why should I be made responsible for her loss of earning because of ofsted's own policy and length of their investigation which I have completely no control over and reason for making the complaint was becuase of my concern about my child's safety.
There was a similar casge posted here, confined child abuse but ofsted didn't suspend the cm's registration while investigating the complaint. That's from user "naughtyCM".
Would any of the cms on here do something like this - send a small claims letter asking for £5k of lost earnings?
I understand she is upset, of course...
Wasn't it just a few weeks anyway? She earns £5k in just a few weeks?
Extensions to policy, is that optional for the cm to take? To defend civil action... Or to take civil action against someone? I am sure there is a different between these two?
The Cm said in her court claim for that she wrote to me.but didn't get response. Not sure what she was expecting from me really, sending her a letter back and say yes she ca have £5from me. I belive regardless of what she would make the claim through the court as she was so determine to get that much.
Bloody hell. For a child to be smacked before 2 in the afternoon and still bear actual finger marks at 8.30, it must have been terribly hard.
What do you have to do with a letter from small claims? I have no idea how you have to respond. I am shocked that she even thinks she is going to get it
She must think she can scare you into paying her £5k.
I didn't reply to her first letter but acknowledge the court notice so I get 28 days to sort out my defence paperwork.
I have no idea of the legalities. If she is guilty she has a real cheek trying to claim and is lucky she's still working. If she's innocent I don't know how she will recoup her lost earnings and damaged reputation. Please do let us know how the case develops.
I would just ignore it to be honest or send her a brief but sharp letter from your lawyer. Last year I got very stressed out because someone left a note on the windscreen of my parked car accusing me of having rear-ended theirs, that they took a photo of my license plate and I was to call them on the mobile number provided to talk about damages. I was certain that no such thing had occurred. After a couple of days of handwringing, I called my insurance company and they said it was likely a scam. And sure enough, the note had been left on a number of cars parked on the street around the area.
The childminder may consider you to be an easy target if your first language isn't English.
I can't believe a court would do anything except throw out her claim. It is essential that allegations of abuse by children are heard and reported, so suggesting that parents are liable if no further action can be taken would be ridiculous.
Good point, breatheslowly. Imagine a world where we had to be frightened about financial loss if we report alleged child abuse and the authorities don't have enough evidence or don't think it happened!
I'd suggest going to citizens advice/free legal clinic with help drafting defence if you're not familiar with the system. Or check if it's covered under your household insurance. It's easy to get things wrong and if she has legal assistance through her insurance you may be caught on some procedural matter.
Tiggersreturn, thanks. I am meeting my lawyer tomorrow to discuss the defence.
Will you be able to recover any costs from her or are you going to have to fund your legal fees yourselves?
Don't think the cost is recoverable in small claim, that's what my lawyer said and probably why the cm put it through small claim otherwise she has to pay for my cost if she loses.
in the news today there is a case where a teacher was able to sexually abuse young girls even though there were thirty reports of his behaviour made to the headteacher. because no-one acted children probably got sexually abused. I woudl point this out to a judge and say it cannot be right or legal that parents are prevented from reporting to ofsted and the police when their child says they have been abused, it enables a culture of turning a blind eye.
Thanks Kelly2000, very valid point!
Not sure how long will it take to get a court date, can't wait to get this case put of my way causing so much unnecessary stress to the whole family esp when the youngest is only 4months old.
Fingers crossed for you! xx
How did this go, in the end?m
No problem HavePatience.
Just sent off the defence paperwork last week and also included a counterclaim for the days off during Dec due to childcare, not much money involved but I felt I should include a counterclaim.
Got the Court Questionaire back to complete and probably that will give a hearing day.
Will update again when things progress
What exactly is the counter claim?
And good for you getting the paperwork in and moving forward, not backing down.
Be patient. We started our small claim court action in September. Our court date is March 26th. We were given the option of mediation in October which we were happy to do but defendent never got in touch.
The counterclaim was for the few days I had days off in Dec 2011 for childcare reason and a couple weeks unused payment made to the cm. Was going to leave it but my solicitor suggested to make a cc.
In my case not sure the cm would want to take the mediation option and could be a waste of time due to her greedinese.
The counterclaim was for the few days I had days off in Dec 2011 for childcare reason and a couple weeks unused payment made to the cm. Was going to leave it but my solicitor suggested to make a cc.
In my case not sure the cm would want to take the mediation option and could be a waste of time due to her greedinese.
Fivegomadindorset, what is your claim? Are you the parent or cm?
No ours is to do with a dodgy car, but as far as I can make out this the norm, you are given so many days/months to respond.
I see. Yes the response time is alway a multiple of 14 days and the case management questionaire always give the other side to state the unavailable time,, so this makes it even longer.
I'd like to mediate but looks like even I choose this option, it won't make much difference.
hello all, just getting back to the case as it still on going, the court proceeding has been very slow, over a year now, I still haven't had a trial date. I had the hearing the other week and this nasty CM turned round and said I set her up because I was afraid to be found out as she said she 'knew' the smacking happened as my place.
Really need a solicitor now to speak to, any one can recommend one please?
can't believe this is still going on. her response makes no sense, if you hit your own child just don't show anyone no need to blame someone else for it.
hope thisis all resolved soon for you must be so stressful
I would try also posting in Legal for recommendations of a solicitor.
Hope this is resolved soon - What a saga.
What you have to take into account is that you have denied the Childminder her living for three weeks over an allegation that appears to have no substance, put her through extraordinary stress and involved just about every agency you could think of. If someone did the same to you I expect you too would be looking for compensation from your accuser.
Sorry what? ManMinder the OP did exactly what she should have done. If my three year old told me her CM hit her, and left a mark still visible later that day, I would damn well call the police, SS, Ofsted and anyone else I could think of.
OP, do you have legal insurance with your home insurance? It would cover the costs for a solicitor.
Manminder have you read the OP? "no substance?" she has photo evidence of a handprint. If she did it herself why would she be creating all this fuss?
Manminder, you might have your point, but please read the threads before posting, I didn't involve every agency, I only contact Ofsted as I was advised by the a nursery manager. Ofsted took their own actions and involved other agencies.
The CM was claiming a loss of earning, stress and defamation, all in a sudden she didn't claim all these but keeping the claim of loss of earning and invented new claims that she thinks I should pay on top of her loss of earning, her expenses include, Council Tax, Rent, Food, Gas and Eelctricity Bills, to a totla sum of 5K.
She is clearly a bit deluded. She certainly wouldn't need you to pay her expenses in addition to her lost earnings, as earnings are what pay expenses in the first place. Claiming £5k for 3 weeks suggests that she earns £86k per year which seems unlikely.
Civil courts work on the balance of probability rather than beyond reasonable doubt, so the level of evidence that the police look for is higher than you need in a civil court.
Any idea when this will go to court?
To be honest though, could a smack with a hand leave a mark for that long? I've smacked my own son quite hard on his bare bottom and it never stays red for more than 30 seconds. Are you sure it was not a belt? You might want to get those photos analysed by someone who would be able to tell as part of their professional capacity. Unfortunately, I could definitely see some parents falsely blaming it on their child minder if they thought they could get compensation somehow but this does not appear to be the case here - the OP merely reported her to authorities.
breatheslowly, she was claiming about 3K for her loss of earnings, and the rest would be her other 'excuses' to claim, now because she has run out of excuses because her previous excuses (stress & defamation) would required expert witness and evidences. Court ordered her 2-3 times to provide a full breakdown and evidences, each time she only provided a sheet full of figures of which she thought they would be treated as evidence as she believed those to be true.
We had the hearing and now waiting for a trial day, not sure when.
Mimishimi, we are not sure the hand mark would stay that long, only thing we noticed was the change of attitude in my son after the incident, he kept saying he didn't want to go back to the CM.
Nevertheless, this CM always comes up with new ideas of what I should be paying her that much.
Fyi the mark might have lasted if he bruises easily. I bruise like nothing on earth so your Ds might be similar
Hello everyone, I have got a bit of update for everybody. Out of everyone's surprise as chasing the CM for proof of her loss of income etc and waited and waited...I got a letter from her saying she didn't want to pursue with the case!
Felt relief but also felt this nasty person had wasted a lot of our valuable family time where I could have spent quality time with my kids rather than stressed out in dealing with her non-sense claim.
Phew! Am sure you will sleep well tonight.
Glad finaly sorted after nearly 2.5yrs
Sounds to me she reliesed that the court wouldn't pay out and dropped her claim
But what a stressful time it must have been for you
Is cm still registered and looking after children?
Yes, it's been a long time for us.
I did asked her for her tax account for the past year to show she's earning that much, may be she wasn't declaring!
She is still registered and looking after children. I start to think what kind of cm she is and the type of of parent that would use her service. I have to admit it was my biggest mistake using her in the first place.
Get some advice from http://www.nspcc.org.uk/, you have done the right thing, good luck
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