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Childcare issues

(30 Posts)
Mumof2childrenx Sat 23-Mar-19 22:13:01

Long story but here we go .
So I recently finished university and completed my degree during the last term my funding was completely taken away from me leaving me in serious financially difficulties .At this point I called SF and ask why I never recieved the childcare grant amount expected ,they advise me that I was expected to recieve a payment but due to handing in my form late it had been stop .Anyways I continued with childcare arrangment as normal but told the childminder what had happened. Few weeks later I recieved letter which stated the amount where correct and unfortunately I will not recieve any funds. So , I explain this to my childminder and told her that I will have to work around the free funded hours ,although I was still expected to go to my classes .
I than was going to go back to university,but my first payment didn't seem right and would not of covered my childcare cost, so decided to defer my place so I didnt get into further debt but at the time told the childminder I will pay any debts owe as soon as a. My student money came through or b. If I can find out why it was stopped and I was refunded .if all fails as soon as I find a job I will start making regularly repayments .
So, since leaving my course I been looking for various job many of which I was not sucessful for a number of reasons however , I was behind on various debts such as rent etc and been on benefits atm so explained to the childminder again look I am in no position to make regular payments but I acknowledge I owe you money .Eventhough I was struggling I did pay her £350 ,which she never took of my outstanding balance. I asked her to send me the new invoice with what I paid deducted so I could show this evidence to step change . They advise me any payments should be made on priority debts and this wasn't classed as one but was happy to include them on a list of debt I would make regular payments to via through them.
Anyways, I recently just fount a job so I than contacted my same childminder and explained could I have a rough idea of cost of care etc etc and once in place I will start paying you plus any arrears owed ontop which I think is reasonable .
Her response is like she expect me to pay what I owe upfront first before I can get care . At no point did she ever mention this and since I have got a job it like she put a barrier in to make it impossible for me to earn money to than repay her what I owe and continue care with her ..
I am now left stuck without any care ,in a position where I finally getting on my feet again .To be told actually pay up what you owe first, otherwise you have no care and than therefore I will be unable to earn a living.
Is there any help out there to clear of the debt owed ,so I could get care ? Or shall I just find another childminder ? And pay off what I can each month.. Don't know what to do I feel like I tried to be honest, I could of changed my number been dishonest not paid a penny back not give no explanation like many other do . And it seems like it been thrown back in my face,I done everything to avoid taking risk deferred my place at university due to it . Whilst ,most students would of just continue running up debt without a care like many of my friends have .

OP’s posts: |
Lwmommy Sat 23-Mar-19 22:24:28

I think.its absolutely reasonable for the childminder to say she will not look after your child till you pay whats due. She will have bills and have been put in financial difficulty as a result of your money problems.

If you cannot pay that, then your only option will be to find another childminder.

You do need to pay off your bill and maintain contact with the childmider though or she will be well.within her rights to take you to small claims court to recoup her fees.

Mumof2childrenx Sat 23-Mar-19 22:40:38

Yes, but my point is at no point as she expressed this until recently since I got a job now I in a position to potentially pay her back all of a sudden it is an issue . But before this she was quite happy to wait and said she would be more than happy to sort out a repayment when I could.
But without earning or not being able to earn I would never be able to pay her back . I been with her 2 years and always paid anything else owed so it not like I never paid her . The the balance owed is very small, in comparasion to what been paid in the past.
Going with her again is a very sure sign ,that she could easily get her money back . But understand it also is her choice ,but based on that I arrange hours assuming that I would go back to her and best on that . So ,somehow either going have to change this with my new employer again or go and find a new childminder but than I cannot return to her as I cannot just leave my new childminder as it wouldn't really be fair to do that .

OP’s posts: |
Mumof2childrenx Sat 23-Mar-19 22:45:09

To also add my final balance actually is not right due to many occasion whereby she didnt do what agreed, such as collect my children etc and not once did I ever say look I going refused to pay you due to not carrying out what you agreed to . Such as my child went to an after school club I still paid her the full amount, eventhough she only done as hour for instance . Or when she went to an hospital appt which left me in a situation where I had to find alternative care .

OP’s posts: |
Looneytune253 Sun 24-Mar-19 08:19:42

If you see it from the childminders point of view though she has been left short and has had promises from you to pay but no payment. Childminders are usually advised not to take a child once there’s debt because a client may just get further into debt. Could you get a temporary loan to pay the childminder?

Looneytune253 Sun 24-Mar-19 08:20:48

Also you do need to pay the cm still when your child has an after school club etc as that would be what you are contracted for

itsabongthing Sun 24-Mar-19 08:25:10

It would be common sense for any service provider to not continue to provide a service until arrears are paid. She may not have spelled that out to you but I don’t think you could have expected anything else. You have told her the money is coming before then not much has been forthcoming. She may not be able to pay her own priority bills because of families owing her money.
I think you will either have to find the money somehow to clear the debt or find another childminder. Or you could try asking her to give you a month and agree if you don’t pay her off within the month then she will stop providing the service.

user1483387154 Sun 24-Mar-19 08:25:43

She is being completely reasonable and has been more than understanding and patient with your situation.

itsaboojum Sun 24-Mar-19 08:44:52

There is no requirement for the childminder to warn you what would happen. With a few notable exceptions (eg. mortgage companies or essential utilities provided by big companies which can afford it) service providers have no obligation to continue serving you once you fall behind with payments. This is the default position, and you had no reason to assume your CM would have to spell it out to you.

Most childcare providers (childminders, nurseries, etc.) expect payment in advance, on time, every time, as well as holding a month’s fee as a safeguard against non-payments. Falling behind with payments sometimes means the service is suspended immediately, although there is usually a short grace period if it’s just a question of a few days' delay before payment will be made. You were lucky she didn’t stop as soon as you ceased to pay the full amount.

It is perfectly reasonable and normal for a self-employed person to take time for a medical appointment, though she should give as much notice as possible. All forms of childcare are subject to short notice closure, and it is a given that parents must always have a back-up plan in place.

As mentioned by a PP, charging during after school club is normal, because the CM effectively sells you a 'time slot' and it’s not her problem if you choose to use her service for only part of that time.

You may struggle to find childcare at all now. Providers in some areas share information on bad payers, as this is often the only way to stop a small minority of parents moving from one setting to another, leaving a trail of bad debts in their wake.

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Sun 24-Mar-19 08:49:35

I can’t believe you’re surprised she’s not happy to continue to work without payment.

itsaboojum Sun 24-Mar-19 08:52:25

It’s very disappointing to note that a 'charity' like Step Change, which pays its management in the region of £50k, considers it not a priority to pay a childminder. Typical average childminder's earning are around £10k.

It’s as if they’re trying to drag even more people into debt.

MouseRatFan Sun 24-Mar-19 08:57:10

CM here. I think you are being very very unreasonable.

She still has to pay all her bills regardless if you pay her or not! This includes her mortgage, insurance, car payments etc. All essential for her to provide her services to ALL THE CHILDREN she cares for, not just yours.
Also it is very unlikely you would recieve an amended invoice due to changes of times in a booked session. The childminder can't sell these hours to anyone else.

I would be passing the outstanding balance over to my insurance company who would most likely pursue it through a debt collection agency.

I am sorry that you have had a very stressful time with student finance while you have been studying.

Apple40 Sun 24-Mar-19 20:10:55

Really sorry but yes she is well in her rights to advise you to only pay in advance of care. I only accept payment in advance and would have terminated your care within a month of non payment, why should she have to wait to be paid for service she has done ! If you are not prepared to pay in advance you will need to look for alternative childcare and prepare yourself for the debt collection letters form her legal team or she could take you to the small claims court of which you will be liable for all court fees as well.

FlibbertyGiblets Sun 24-Mar-19 20:32:10

How much is outstanding?

itsaboojum Mon 25-Mar-19 09:04:20

You need to make every effort to agree a payment plan that is acceptable to both parties, then stick to it. The alternative is likely mean being taken to court.

A court settlement would probably not demand immediate full repayment: it would most likely be a monthly repayment plan. But it may be less favourable than an out of court agreement, and grant the CM to employ debt recovery agents if you didn’t stick to it. It would also affect your credit rating for some years to come.

Don’t kid yourself that she won’t pursue legal means: it doesn’t cost he4 a penny, since it is included in CM insurance packages.

Make sure you always use a method of payment that provides evidence (never cash). Your CM should be issuing receipts for all transactions. Press her to acknowledge the earlier £350 payment if she has not done so yet.

It would help if you took a more balanced attitude. If this goes to court, you’ll do yourself no favours by displaying the rather entitled 'tude in your previous posts.

You are responsible for paying her what you owe. You cannot expect her to continue providing the service while you pass your financial problems onto her. You are not doing her a favour simply because you haven’t changed your number, walked away, and run up further debts as you seem to stereotype other students as doing.

You cannot make excuses that the CM has no right to be paid because she had to attend hospital, or any of the other feeble mumsnetty excuses we keep seeing raked up for non-payment. You can’t even blame student finance when you submit the forms after the published deadline.

MummytoCSJH Mon 25-Mar-19 09:18:19

I'm afraid to say that student finance won't pay you, so that ones a red herring. I am a student and a parent receiving the grant, it's very clear that you have 6 weeks to get the form back to them and it only takes 5 mins to fill out. Even if your childminder delayed it by not filling it out for a few days you would have had at least a few weeks to send it back. There are multiple other parents on my course and we are all aware of this, so no, other students in your position would not 'run up debt'.

Your childminder is completely fair to say she can't accept your child until the arrears are paid, she has bills to pay and may need another child in that place to make up for you not paying her. She should have knocked the £350 off your bill (do you have proof you paid it?), but she also could have charged a late payment fee, have you clarified this with her at all?

The only option really is to get a new childminder. Bare in mind that doesn't mean you don't pay the other one back as well.

I hope you work something out.

jannier Mon 25-Mar-19 13:09:48

If she takes you to court she has a duty to mitigate her loss so this means not having your child as potentially you could not pay her.
If you were owed money by someone who said they would repay the debt and it kept on not being paid how long would you continue to believe you were ever going to get the money. At best she has been waiting 3 months all ready and possibly longer.
If you send your child to after school club you still pay childcare or you give the correct notice that that day will not be needed anymore and she chooses either to say okay Ill continue to work the other days or no pay it all or leave. I would charge you a full session fee even if I had your child for 10 minutes as you cant go back and get another school child later.
You made the error now take the consequences ask at the job centre if there is a back to work loan available for childcare.

Tanith Tue 26-Mar-19 14:55:21

You don't have childcare issues, you have debt issues.

Your childminder is not at fault; she has been very patient waiting for you to pay her.
I am amazed that you expect her to wait even longer for her money, let alone risk taking on a client with a history of poor payment.
Especially one that makes an implied threat not to pay her at all if she doesn't take the child back angry.

happydays00 Tue 26-Mar-19 15:01:16

Absolutely gobsmacked that you expect her to continue to care for you child whilst you have not paid her. I think she has been more than patient and I suspect she does not want to risk being in a similar position with you again.

If we have not paid our nursery bill before the 1st of the next month, they will not take our child. Fair enough!! Our personal, financial difficulties are of no concern to them at all, we all have bills to pay!

adulthumanwolf Tue 26-Mar-19 15:15:15

Regarding after school club, you have to pay your contracted hours, regardless of whether she does not look after your child an hour here or there. If she is contracted for your child then she cannot take on another child.

You need to get a credit card or take out a loan i'm afraid, and pay her back in full. She has bills to pay, and your debt isn't her problem. It is perfectly reasonable to refuse to provide any further services to a customer that is in arrears with you. This goes for all business, not just childminding.

If a plumber had done some work for you that you had not paid for, they would not do any other work for you until you had paid.

If you were going to a yoga class and had failed to pay for previous sessions they would not allow you to attend any further unless you paid what you owed.

It's pretty standard across the board.

adulthumanwolf Tue 26-Mar-19 15:15:34

And what is the full amount that you owe her?

ThatFalseEquivalenceTho Tue 26-Mar-19 15:28:43

OP - have you contacted SF official complaints department? I’ve had hell on with their Childcare Grant department despite sending everything in on time. As in I started University in October and didn’t get a CCG payment till January confused The complaints team had it sorted and in my account within 72 hours and apologised. Contact them.

But your childminder is right. You cannot expect her to take your child when you owe money.

dottietwiglet Tue 26-Mar-19 16:01:27

@itsaboojum I think you're getting confused about 'priority debts'. SC use the phrasing to talk about which debts they recommend you pay FIRST out of all the debts had, based on the consequences of not paying them.

Eg. You'd lose your home if you didn't pay your mortage. So = a 'priority debt'.

It's not that they won't have seen the debt to childminder as a priority or not important, but rather there may be other debts in the person's list that need to be paid off first.

Also not sure what the wages of anyone working at the charity has to do with the advice they give either.

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Tue 26-Mar-19 17:55:29

The OP won’t be back. She doesn’t think she’s in the wrong.

Purpleartichoke Tue 26-Mar-19 18:06:59

My experience is that group child care is always paid in advance of service. If you haven’t paid, you can’t drop your child off.

Individual care, aka a nanny, would be paid as a wage and thus is after services rendered.

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