Is this daycare situation ethically okay?

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Posted 3/16/2013 by NewNewYorker in NSBR Board
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NewNewYorker
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Posted: 3/16/2013 5:31:51 PM
Long time lurker here, but I knew the Peas might have an opinion on this.

Two siblings, age 4.5 and five months, have been with the same awesome daycare since their mom finished maternity leave. The kids thrive at daycare and the woman who runs it has a great relationship with the whole family.

Another child at this same daycare (2yo) just got a baby sister. Their family wants the new baby to start daycare in a few weeks.

The daycare is currently full in legal terms.

Daycare owner just let the mom of 4.5yo and 5mo know that since this new baby would be more profitable in the long run, and the 4.5yo would age out this fall, that her two kids were getting the boot. Essentially taking the fall for the other family's decision to put their new baby in daycare.

Ethically, this seems so wrong to me! Has anyone faced this situation? Is this a more common practice than I think? I figured years of loyalty would count for something. And this woman is great--it's not like she's hurting to get business.
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batya
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Posted: 3/16/2013 5:36:24 PM
It's not an issue of loyalty. Did the family of the 4.5 y/o and 5 mo old sign a contract? Or are they counting on this provider to be ethical and hold their space for as long as they want and need it without any formal agreement?

If it's the former, she should not be able to do what she is doing. If it's the latter, I'd make sure by word of mouth that people know she is not trustworthy and dollars mean more to her than the relationships with the families and ethics as a businessperson. Honestly, I don't know that I'd want to stay any longer with someone who is untrustworthy. To come right out and tell someone, in a few weeks you lose your spot for your kids? Am I understanding correctly?


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_Betsy_
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Posted: 3/16/2013 5:36:48 PM
It stinks, but it happens. Probably a lot more than you'd think.

In the long run, a 2 year old and a newborn from a great family is more profitable and long-term than a 4.5 year old and a baby from a different great family. A choice had to be made, and the provider chose the solution she felt most profitable and stable for the long term growth of her business.

Even if she loves both families, she HAS to follow the laws regarding ratios or risk losing her license.

Batya, what else is the provider supposed to do? NOT give the family any notice?

Mallie
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Posted: 3/16/2013 5:37:53 PM
I hope her customers show her as much loyalty as she's showing to them.

SDeven
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Posted: 3/16/2013 5:38:11 PM
It's a business decision.






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Posted: 3/16/2013 5:38:17 PM
As usual, Batya said it best. Totally agree with her.





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Posted: 3/16/2013 5:45:22 PM
I have been on both sides. My first provider got rid of a 2 year old she had since he was an infant to take my infant because she could keep him longer and she actually preferred infants. She moved away when he was 18 months old so we found another provider.

Then we had a new baby. The new baby went to the day care provider where my older son was going, and they really didn't want to take my infant. That provider liked toddlers better. I ended up moving both of them a few months later.

Sometimes it is a gift to have your provider give you the boot. Every provider is not good with every age. This is her business, so just find another provider. At least she didn't tell them that she would only keep them until age 3 or 4 or they would have been gone already.


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Posted: 3/16/2013 5:45:34 PM
To give working families 3 weeks notice to find alternative care? How about letting the new family know a new spot will open in the fall but all spots are full? And not to bite that hand that has been feeding you all this time.

Do these people have contracts or fly by the seat of their pants? And if there was no contract, that goes even farther to show how much TRUST these people placed in this provider. Mistakenly.

I expect someone running a business to have the proper ratios, of course. And to treat their existing clients well. If someone is already there, you don't kick them out to take in someone new. If there is no room, you let them know that. Surely the new family had an idea they'd be growing their family and inquired about space availability. I am quite aware of ratios and legalities b/c I oversaw the OCFS certification for our local Nursery School. I am also mindful of how you treat your clients. Bad word of mouth can really hurt your business. Why risk that for a dollar when you will lose more $$$ in the long run?

Meantime, the new family would have to find a stop gap measure for the new baby until Fall, become first on the wait-list for the spot they know is opening and come in through proper channels. Good word of mouth, a proper policy in place, 2 happy families and 2 longtime satisfied clients.


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Posted: 3/16/2013 5:50:03 PM
Here, it sounds like the family presumed, for some reason, that they would have this space. What was the reason for that?

If they have no contract, then fine. This provider made a decision. End of story.

If they did sign a contract, I can't imagine it allows the provider to cut the client lose without cause, but maybe it does. I would think it runs the course of a school year, a calendar year or a fiscal year.

Hard to say if you don't know whether there is a contract OR if there is one, what provisions it makes.



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styxgirl
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Posted: 3/16/2013 5:56:30 PM
I don't think it's unethical, it's a business decision. But I don't think it's the right thing to do to a family. Especially if they have already been there for 4.5 years.

I have faith that my daycare lady would't have ever done that to us!


Nicole

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Posted: 3/16/2013 5:57:05 PM
Ethically, it stinks for you. Legally, you'd have to look at your contract.

I suspect family #2 has given her an extra $$ incentive,bonus, gift, etc. to take their infant.


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Posted: 3/16/2013 6:01:40 PM
It happened to us, and I was heartbroken. We had such a hard time finding a day care provider I trusted. It was my first time leaving my girls in the care of anyone other than family. After two years she said she couldn't take us any more because one of my girls was after school only, and she was approached by someone who had an infant who needed full time care.

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NewNewYorker
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Posted: 3/16/2013 6:02:59 PM
Thanks so much for your opinions. I wish I could clarify some points, but it's a friends' kids. I'm fairly certain there wasn't a contract, though.

I get that it's akin to at-will employment on both sides. If my friend were, for example, let go from her job, she'd probably take the kids out of daycare, and then the daycare would have less business.

It does seem to me like this type of situation should have a warning. Presumably the new family knew for nine months that they'd need a space!
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Posted: 3/16/2013 6:06:35 PM
See, that's why I would not want to enter into a 'relationship' with someone who doesn't run it like a real business but then wants to make 'business decisions.' I would want things in a binding writing. I don't trust people that much (sad) b/c once you have been yourself burned or have seen people burned, regardless of the setting or situation, you don't want to set yourself up for that again.

If it's business, then run your business like a business.


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OntarioScrapper
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Posted: 3/16/2013 6:12:58 PM
With no contract, there's nothing to do. Does suck though!


Angela

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Posted: 3/16/2013 6:14:32 PM
Yes, contracts are an absolute necessity!

IleneTell
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Posted: 3/16/2013 6:15:49 PM
I don't understand how the baby is more profitable? The woman with the 2 siblings has a 5 month old...that's pretty young...the daycare person will get plenty of "profit" out of that one in the long run.



_Betsy_
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Posted: 3/16/2013 6:19:55 PM
Because, legally, she can only watch so many kids, and only so many under 2. Laws vary by state.

If the 4.5 year old is going off to Kindergarten, she won't be there full time anymore. But the day care can have both kids from the other family there full time if she lets the almost-K family go now. If she asks the other family to send the new baby to a different provider until the fall, she risks losing both of those children, PLUS the almost-K kid in the fall.

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Posted: 3/16/2013 6:20:37 PM
Contracts in daycare are a TOTAL joke. Esp home based ones. Have you guys seen them? basically there is an out in there that says all decisions made by the daycare provider can done at any time. That your kid can be dropped anytime. etc.etc. There IS no contract projection with home based daycare providers. Trust me..I've seen it.






IleneTell
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Posted: 3/16/2013 6:23:15 PM

If the 4.5 year old is going off to Kindergarten, she won't be there full time anymore. But the day care can have both kids from the other family there full time if she lets the almost-K family go now. If she asks the other family to send the new baby to a different provider until the fall, she risks losing both of those children, PLUS the almost-K kid in the fall.


Oh, right...I forgot the other family had a 2 year old as well. Thanks.



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Posted: 3/16/2013 6:25:02 PM
That is not the only kind of contract out there, Cindy. And if that is what you encounter, a client can make modifications and if accepted and signed by the provider, they are valid. Not every provider in every region has the same contract.


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theshyone
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Posted: 3/16/2013 6:38:06 PM
As long as she gave appropriate notice per contract it is ethically fine.

Do you expect her to keep the 4.5 yo and lose the family and him in half a year. She would only have one kid then?


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Posted: 3/16/2013 7:26:33 PM

To give working families 3 weeks notice to find alternative care?


Well, if she takes all four kids and the state finds out, and they close the center down because of it, then there will be no notice at all.

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Posted: 3/16/2013 10:17:55 PM
My point is that she should not be taking all four. She and at least the other family knew at least 6-9 months prior that there would be another baby and there were no other spaces. SO she could either have given the family more notice (but it sounds like she didn't want to lose them AND the money for that length of time if they found a spot elsewhere--she was being greedy) OR she could have told the new family a spot would be opening in the fall for the new baby.


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Posted: 3/16/2013 10:54:01 PM
May not be legally wrong but it feels ethically or morally wrong to me. The other family was there first. I wouldn't run my business that way and I wouldn't want to be that person. She would probably loose the 2nd family but she has 6 months before the older child goes to kindergarten. Plenty of time to find another child.


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Posted: 3/16/2013 10:55:32 PM
Batya, what I have found, from having my girls in daycares around here is that YES, they do all use the basic same contract. They must get it an inservices or cont ed classes.






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Posted: 3/16/2013 11:08:23 PM
I don't think that would fly here.


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voltagain
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Posted: 3/16/2013 11:16:57 PM
we don't know what either family has said to the provider.
It could be the family with the soon to be 5 year old has indicated that when the oldest child starts K they will be looking for someone who is willing/able to do after school care and will be moving both kids so it is easier at pick up time. They may not have meant to say that but they still could have communicated that inadvertently.

The other family has to find a place for their newborn and they don't want two kids in two different daycares dealing with two different drop off/ pick up routines so they pull their toddler out and suddenly the day care provider has no kids and no income.

I don't consider it greedy for a home based business to look out for their bottom line financially.

If mom doesn't like finding new day care she can stay home with her kids and suffer the financial loss. But of course we aren't going to call a working mom "greedy" for wanting to keep HER paycheck coming in are we?


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Posted: 3/16/2013 11:23:23 PM
I think it was greedy of the daycare to not give the parents more notice when she was going to be filling spots. It has nothing to do with not wanting to find a new daycare. It has to do with how it was handled. I think this was handled poorly.


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Posted: 3/16/2013 11:25:42 PM
She has been given 3 weeks. IMO that is enough time to be ethical and not be castigated for looking out for her financial interest like the other families are.

eta: We don't know that it was handled poorly. Inconvenient for the one family, yes. But she essentially gave them the traditional "two weeks notice" when leaving a job.. they got 3 weeks.


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Posted: 3/16/2013 11:26:52 PM
It's wrong but not illegal and since the daycare isn't bound by those types of things they can go as they please.

I feel bad for the family that was there first


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Posted: 3/17/2013 7:03:00 AM
if circumstances changed and the parent wanted to pull their own child out of the daycare would you be slamming the parent? only parents are allowed to decide not to send their child to a certain daycare? the daycare provider has no choice?

circumstances and situations change and when it comes to someone's livelihood they sometimes have to make a tough decisions. the chances this mom would take her kids to two different daycares is pretty slim and she's going to lose at least one of the other kids shortly anyway so she is trying to retain 2 children instead of losing 3. It's not necessarily a decision I would have made but I'm not going to slam the provider-it's a BUSINESS-something people seem to forget


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Posted: 3/17/2013 8:09:03 AM
I have never known hat happen to anyone in my circle. My oldest two went to the same childcare provider from around 9-12 months until they went to senior school (after school care obvioulsy when they got older!) she always had people asking her if she had space but she stuck with the families she started with, and all the kids keep in touch with her as she was so wonderful.

If she is so great, I am sure another child would have been looking for a place around the time the older one went to kindergarten. It just seems precipitous to me, because nice families are always looking for a great childcare provider.


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Posted: 3/17/2013 8:24:18 AM
Funnily enough this situation caused us to move child care provider (several years ago) and recently has happened to people we know. It is far more common than you think! Here it's 4 weeks notice, but same scenario, new baby would push the provider over their ratio and so we got ditched (one of our dds was after school care only, the other was a half day). I was incredibly unhappy but there was nothing we could do about it. It's one of those moral decisions that I couldn't have made but as far as the provider was concerned business is business. We opted for a larger organisation for the new provider rather than home based - once bitten twice shy!

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Posted: 3/17/2013 8:33:46 AM
the new family should pay close attention to what's going on, because if the daycare provider will do it to someone else, they'll do it to them.


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Posted: 3/17/2013 9:50:57 AM

Presumably the new family knew for nine months that they'd need a space!


The family had to know that one of the other moms with her kid there was pregnant. This should not be coming as a surprise. Family could have asked day care provider months ago if she was going to take the other family's baby. This is a small day care home - you know they all know each other, or see each other sometimes.

Three weeks is plenty of notice; I mean the more notice the better, but sometimes finding out too early doesn't allow you to find someone because they are not going to hold a slot for you. I think it is sad for the family getting the boot, but just because the day care provider has a 'great relationship with the whole family' obviously doesn't trump that this is a business for her. When does the other child turn 3? At that point she could have both infants since that would be 2 under age 2.

I always had a back up provider and that person would be my go to until I find something full time.


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Posted: 3/17/2013 10:01:25 AM
Three weeks is VERY short notice to find daycare for an infant where I live. People start looking for infant daycare before they tell the world they are pregnant. Home daycares here can only have one child under the age of 12 months--it can be a nightmare for parents to find someone good to look after their baby.


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Posted: 3/17/2013 10:15:35 AM


Three weeks is plenty of notice
Really? It's plenty of time to find GOOD day care? Around here, the good day cares have a 6 month wait list, minimum. If I'd been given only 3 weeks notice, I'd have had to quit my job.

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Posted: 3/17/2013 10:21:00 AM

new family should pay close attention to what's going on, because if the daycare provider will do it to someone else, they'll do it to them.


Hey. No big. It's just business.


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Posted: 3/17/2013 10:22:32 AM
What you're forgetting is if there's a contract and a parent decides to pull out early, they may have to pay the remainder of a month or whatever to make good on their promise regardless of whether their child is physically there b/c they took a spot another child could have had. That's business.


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Posted: 3/17/2013 10:28:02 AM
As an in home provider, it's not something I would have done, though I understand the business thought behind it.

I have been an in home provider for 12 years now and this is the first time in the entire 12 years I've had openings...a bit of a financial struggle...because three of my kids aged out.

I had many calls for new babies during that time and my answer was always 'I'm sorry. I'm full' Because I was...but now I'm not and I passed up the opportunity to remedy that.

But unlike what Cindy said earlier about just being in it for the money...I made that decision based on my love for the children. I typically have kids from the time they're newborn until they go on to school full time and I build a bond with them that is hard to walk away from, so I like to keep them as long as I'm able.

I do have a contract, which specifies that either party can terminate with a two week notice. I have never utilized that particular clause.

I have, however, saved spots for parents who have agreed to bring their child to me, only to have them change that decision at the last minute. And parents who have left without any type of notice at all. Whatever their reasoning was for changing their mind, it was a business hardship for me.

In fact, I held a spot for a person during their entire pregnancy and maternity leave, only to have them leave their baby with me for two weeks before they told me they wouldn't be coming anymore because they were moving due to a job transfer that they'd known about the entire time. She hadn't disclosed that information to me because she was afraid I wouldn't bond with the baby if I'd known. What she didn't consider was the loss of income I suffered, not just by counting on her, but by turning away other business opportunities because of her.

I conduct my business as fairly and as lovingly as possible...so I would not have made the same choice as the provider in the OP, but I will say running a business with love is not always the same as running a good business. If that makes sense.


~Kristen~

batya
Making the WWW better, one post at a time.

PeaNut 59,094
December 2002
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Posted: 3/17/2013 10:31:14 AM
Kristen, I'm glad you posted. I was waiting to see if you would b/c I know this is very personal to you and I also know how you run your business and that you don't just see the children as $$$.



OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.




KikiNichole

PeaNut 69,597
February 2003
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Posted: 3/17/2013 10:31:15 AM

Really? It's plenty of time to find GOOD day care? Around here, the good day cares have a 6 month wait list, minimum. If I'd been given only 3 weeks notice, I'd have had to quit my job.


Would you, then, as the parent, give a six month notice if you were going to terminate care?

And Batya, I totally agree with what you're saying...and I do have a contract, but contracts are only carry as much force as you're willing to put forth. And parents know that most providers are not going to take them to court to enforce a contract (though I have seriously considered it from time to time )


~Kristen~

batya
Making the WWW better, one post at a time.

PeaNut 59,094
December 2002
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Loc: up on my high horse

Posted: 3/17/2013 10:33:51 AM
I agree with you, too. But b/c of the amount of trust that has been given, I think there should have been a different outcome here. And you know how heavy handed I am with business decisions from both sides. But I just don't think this was good business b/c it can result in bad word of mouth for the provider as well. Like free bird said, the new family can one day be on the chopping block if a family with four kids comes in. Bad policy. Bad precedent.


OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.




*~*amanda*~*
...

PeaNut 393,905
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Posted: 3/17/2013 10:35:10 AM
Ethically I'd say no, its not ok.

But the world doesn't always work in an ethical manner.



KikiNichole

PeaNut 69,597
February 2003
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Posted: 3/17/2013 10:35:28 AM
And I just wanted to add...as hard as it would be to find good care in two weeks, it's as hard to find new business in two weeks.

But I would never expect anything more than that...all families have to do what is right for their family. Parents and providers alike.


~Kristen~

KikiNichole

PeaNut 69,597
February 2003
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Loc: Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Posted: 3/17/2013 10:40:42 AM
I absolutely agree with you, Batya.

Word of mouth is crucial in this business. I rely on it and conduct my business as such. And I've been burned a couple of times because of it. I wish it went both ways more often than it does, though.

So, even though I get the thought process behind what this provider did, it's not something I would ever have done. But then, I don't number myself to capacity either. I know, for me, I couldn't provide quality care if I had as many children as the state would allow.


~Kristen~

beanbuddymom
PeaFixture

PeaNut 370,521
April 2008
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Posted: 3/17/2013 10:56:30 AM
Is there any reason why she - the daycare - can't keep the 5 month old still? She would have the 2 year old and newborn, and then the 5 month old. Why kicking both kids out? The 4.5 year old could realistically go somewhere else to a preschool at that age.



Maryland
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 87,597
May 2003
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Posted: 3/17/2013 11:00:18 AM
The 4.5 yr. old would start kindergarten in the fall, and many schools have after care. So could she keep the baby in the daycare and find another place for the 4.5 yr. old? I don't it's not the best situation, but if she can't find a better place for the baby. When does the older child get kicked out? In the fall? I may have missed something about the dates.

I have never had kids in daycare, so I don't know much about how they run.

agb4bb
PeaWee

PeaNut 583,271
March 2013
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Posted: 3/17/2013 11:22:40 AM
I am the mom in this situation and I so appreciate my friend posting this so I could see everyone's reaction. A little background-my 4 yo is old in the class and has another year before K. We were planning to move her to a preschool program in the fall only because the only other child in the home daycare is going to k this year leaving her with a three yo, 3 twos, and 2 under two. The decision to move our oldest had been excruciating and we involved our provider in the desision and gave her about five months notice. We had no plans to move our 5 month old and would have chosen to keep our oldest in the home daycare if we had known that moving her would jeopardize our baby's spot. Our provider applied for an exception to her license to allow for three babies and was denied. During that process I volunteered to write her a letter of support as the parent of one of the infants. I also offered to move our oldest earlier if lowering the overall number of children would help her obtain the exception. The family with the new baby has been attending this daycare for less than a year. We have been there since my oldest was six weeks old. We have been offered a spot at the premiere preschool in town three times and have turned it down each time out of loyalty. I have been this provider's biggest cheerleader making countless referrals and generating all the positive word of mouth than I can. I don't blame her for making a business decision, but I am hurt beyond words. I don't know what to tell my daughter. I'm terrified at the thought of someone else caring for my baby. Thanks again for all of the input.
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