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We've been asked to offer free care to a family 'in need' who, INVHO, aren't.

(36 Posts)
Bubble99 Thu 10-Jul-08 21:02:45

Mr Bubble and I own and work in two nurseries.

We set them up with the (genuine) intention of offering fantastic care for a reasonable price, having been crippled by fees for very average nurseries when DS1 and 2 were little.

We have offered free care to three families since we opened three years ago.

Two were families where one mum and one dad were made redundant and, after a few months, couldn't afford to pay but still needed the care to allow the child-free time for interviews etc.

The other was a fee-free 6 week holiday break for a single working mother whose mum died and who wanted to go and stay with her dad with her daughter.

We currently have twins with S/N who are receiving funding for two mornings a week with us plus funding for a portage worker.

We received an email today from Early Years at the LA asking if we could provide extra sessions each week (for free) until the twins receive their nursery grant in September.

What wound me up was..

"As neither parent works, they obviously can't afford to pay for this."

I've met both parents. Both seem physically and mentally fit and the twins' S/N are mild. I can understand one parent not working, but both? If this was a single parent family I would not be posting, BTW

In addition. Since the twins started, a month ago, the parents have been fifteen and twenty minutes late to pick up. Our manager let them off the first time but asked for a late fee the second time. The response was "I'm on the dole. I don't have any money."

OK. That's off my chest....almost.

BTW, we do offer regular free places. To our staff who work hard and deserve the help.

Bbbee Thu 10-Jul-08 21:04:40

is the loacl authoirty going to pay you back when the grant comes through?

If not an LA asking for charity is a bit much - they need to evaluate thier services adn response time if they have to resort to this.

Go with gut feeling.

misdee Thu 10-Jul-08 21:06:46

how does that work?

CarGirl Thu 10-Jul-08 21:08:57

It's your nursery, your choice - difficult call. You could offer to have them at seperate times therefore allowing the parents to have 2 to 1 time with the other twin grin.

Of course the parents could be disabled in some way and that is why neither work. There again I know a family like that where the bloke said during reception year - I may have to get a job over the holidays it will be too much like hard work over the summer with him off for 6 weeks shock.

If you don't want to don't give it, just decline politely saying that you can't or offer reduced fees?

ingles2 Thu 10-Jul-08 21:12:34

IMO whether the parents can afford the fee and are working is ofno consequence.
Why are Early Years asking you for charity?
I take it you are not a charitable organisation or state funded? But a privately owned profit making (hopefully) business!?
Bizarre...... I would ask why they couldn't fund the places, to have the benefits outlined to you in providing free childcare, and the benefits to the dc's to justify you doing this....

Bubble99 Thu 10-Jul-08 21:29:57

No. The local authority is not going to pay us back.

The person (civil servant ie. We're paying for him) who sent this email spends so much time having unnecessary 'meetings' when an email or 5 minute phone call would suffice - I was tempted to ask if he would be prepared to provide the funding from his bloated civil service salary.

The response to the the question of the outstanding £20 late fee was that he would "talk to the parents and explain the importance of collecting on time."

I can do that, thankyou. £20 please.

Flum Thu 10-Jul-08 21:34:43

I am confused, if they are unemployed why do their children need to be in a nursery?

divastrop Thu 10-Jul-08 21:37:57

i dont understand this atall.where i live sure start used to fund nursery places for families in need,they still do but have been taken over by NCH or understanding was that they paid the fees to the nursery.

anyway,thats beside the say both parents seem mentally and physically fit,but how can you tell this is so?

divastrop Thu 10-Jul-08 21:38:39

Flum-for respite,i would imagine.

Bubble99 Thu 10-Jul-08 21:40:36

Flum. They've been 'prescribed' the nursery places because they have S/N.

And yes, they are thriving.

thisisyesterday Thu 10-Jul-08 21:43:14

well I would question why they need extra sessions? if neither parent works then why do they need extra sessions?

and I would also say that if they are persistently late in picking them up then you will not be providing any care for them at all. they can go somewhere else

Heated Thu 10-Jul-08 21:49:50

You are not a charity, you won't be paid, you suspect the parents of taking the p*ss - say no.

lulumama Thu 10-Jul-08 21:51:56

nope, they can wait until they get their nursery grant through. go with your gut on this one, sounds like the local authority are abusing your good nature.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 10-Jul-08 21:53:03

Our preschool provides free places at the request of the LA. But we are a charity.

Flum Thu 10-Jul-08 21:54:47

Respite? What are the special needs of what 2 year olds? do they both.

if there are two parents on the scene do they need more than 2 mornings off? Just seems odd to me.

emskaboo Thu 10-Jul-08 22:00:00

Sorry but say no, this is not your responsibility and if the family's sw really feel they need this then there is discretion under the Children Act and the Local Government Act for them to fund it. You sound like yo try very hard to have a compassionate policy with charging but this needs to be your choice.

Rant over!

charliecat Thu 10-Jul-08 22:00:01

They I imagine will cost you money in keeping staff on when they are late. No. Just NO.

divastrop Thu 10-Jul-08 22:03:14

i'm having problems taking things in tongihtblush

no,i cant see why they would need more than 2 mornings off a week either.

Bubble99 Thu 10-Jul-08 22:15:46

The email from the LA said "As there isn't much money in the pot, we are asking you if you would be prepared to fund the twins."

<rant alert>

Mr Bubble and I have received endless 'monitoring' forms from the LA. On several occasions we have returned them,incomplete - with "don't you think the money wasted with this meaningless paperwork would be better spent providing extra funding for children/parents? Scrawled across the bottom.

diva, these parents are taking the P. And, you know what? I don't blame them.

As we have such an arse about face system, who wouldn't?

Just as long as I'm not asked to pay twice for it, through my taxes and my business.

charliecat Thu 10-Jul-08 22:22:17

Just email back saying Ask Someone Else.

divastrop Thu 10-Jul-08 22:26:11

the parents and the LA are taking the p**s by the sounds of it.

dilemma456 Fri 11-Jul-08 14:14:05

Message withdrawn

gingerninja Fri 11-Jul-08 14:23:16

Is it me or is any one else wondering if social services are missing something. Are these parents capable of parenting? I don't mean that in an accusatory way just that if neither of them work and they need that much respite, what is being done to support them in the home because a failing to cope won't go away.

And bubble, I think you are acting well within the boundaries of acceptability.

leeloo1 Tue 15-Jul-08 15:21:10

WOW! You are very generous giving any free places. What right do social services have to presume that you'll give a free place to anyone who asks?!?

Dh and I both work full time, but we don't have 'much money in the pot' either, and yet in a few months I'll be paying £1100 per month for LO to be in full time daycare - anyone fancy giving me a free nursery place??? No? Didn't think so... well maybe if we both quit our jobs and get some benefits then it'd be a different story?! angry

elkiedee Sat 19-Jul-08 23:51:00

I think it's up to the local authority to decide how to sort out its budget for any kind of special needs nursery care. What they're asking of you seems ridiculous. I also think that you should make it clear to social services that you will be sending them a bill for costs incurred over and above those of the provision you already give, eg late fees. If they don't feel about to pick up that tab, you may have to withdraw your service. Whatever their need, this couple are receiving something which sounds like a bit of a privilege.

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